Russia’s presence in Africa has returned to the fore. The first-ever Russia-Africa summit, held in Sochi on 23-24 October 2019, sparked international attention, raising questions about Russia’s new Africa strategy. Titles as diverse as “The new scramble for Africa” and “Russia-Africa summit a great opportunity for Africa” started to pop up in the international press, highlighting different dimensions and, above all, assessments of Moscow’s initiative.
Political leadership can be a crucial ingredient for the development of sub-Saharan Africa. The region has been going through important transformations, with both political landscapes and economic trajectories becoming increasingly diverse. The changes underway include the role of leadership and its broader impact. This volume argues that, on the whole, African leaders and the way they reach power generally do contribute to shaping their countries’ progresses and achievements.
For developing countries multilateralism with the UN at its centre, is considered a key pillar of the global system because it provides for an order, not determined by might but by a set of rules that apply to all – even if the powerful often have more latitude than smaller countries. Multilateralism’s current retreat necessitates a proactive strategy from developing countries to be co-shapers of a new system.
In the last two decades, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has dramatically expanded its outreach to Africa in terms of investments, aid and cultural diplomacy. Today, Beijing is Africa’s largest trading partner and investor as well as one of the main donor to the continent. At the same time, Africa has acquired growing importance for China’s quest to global influence and soft power.
Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993 after a thirty-year long independence struggle that forced about one million people to flee the country. After only five years of peace, Eritrea and Ethiopia fought a bitter border war that resulted in the death of up to 100,000 people, which also marked the end of all hopes for a sound development of the young State of Eritrea. The Algiers Peace Agreement of December 2000 ended the military conflict but did not solve the underlying problems between the ruling elites of Ethiopia and Eritrea.
China and Ethiopia diplomatic relationship was established in 1970 because it was mutually beneficial. China needed Ethiopia, and other African nations, at the UN and Ethiopia, which was ruled by Emperor Haile Selassie I, was a diplomatic leader towards African independence, and could no longer ignore the most populous third world nation involved in solidarity and material support in the anti-colonial struggle movements.
On Sunday, August 4, a series of airstrikes in Libya’s remote southwest desert town of Murzuq killed a gathering over 40 armed men and civilians, with a further 50 people injured. Khalifa Haftar’s self-styled Libyan National Army (LNA) claimed responsibility for the deadly attack, most likely carried out by foreign aircraft, claiming the targets were ‘Chadian opposition fighters’.
In recent years, the evolution of instability scenarios in Mali and the ongoing regionalization of the jihadist-armed groups’ threat gave impulse to activating security cooperation dynamics among Sahelian states. In February 2014, the governments of Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad – which are characterized by comparable levels of development, the presence of similar elements of structural fragility and a significant geographical, geopolitical and cultural coherence – announced the constitution of the G5 Sahel.
Western Sahel represents one of the most unstable areas in sub-Saharan Africa. Seven years after the outbreak of the conflict in Mali, violent extremism has spread across the region, together with community conflicts over the access to natural resources and inter-ethnic violence. Trans-border activities of non-state armed actors – insurgents, jihadist groups and ethnic-based militias – as well as illicit trafficking networks feed the regional insecurity.
Despite the presence of multiple military actors in West Africa’s Sahel region, a steady growth in jihadi activity seems to thrive in the presence of foreign military operations. With their focus on fighting cross-border terrorism and reconstructing ‘failed states’, while failing to adequately address local grievances, these military operations risk producing the danger they aim to abate.