In the eyes of Western partners, the value of Chad’s political regime has decisively increased during the past decade, especially after France’s intervention in Mali in 2012. Having occupied the country’s highest position for nearly three decades, President Idriss Déby Itno is viewed by his international allies not only as a willing and reliable partner but also as an acute observer of the turbulent political landscape in the Sahel.
The Lake Chad region is caught in a conflict trap. Climate change and conflict dynamics create a feedback loop where climate impacts feed additional pressures while conflict undermines communities’ coping capacity. Whilst the region around the lake, bordering Cameroon, Chad, Niger and Nigeria, is a priority for stabilisation efforts for many international and regional military actors, to date these efforts have failed to de-escalate the violence. Indeed, in some cases, military responses are making the situation worse.
2017 and 2018 had confirmed the pre-eminence of Boko Haram’s splinter faction known as the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP), which broke away from Boko Haram’s historic leader Abubakar Shekau around mid-2016.
Since the beginning of 2020, of the three countries bordering Nigeria in the Lake Chad Basin, Cameroon has suffered the majority of civilian casualties caused by armed attacks by violent extremist groups (VEG), with over 50 deaths. Meanwhile, approximately 20 and 10 civilian deaths have been recorded in Niger and Chad respectively. Of these, Chad is the only country to have registered casualties amongst security and defense forces, nine so far this year. Attacks recorded during the first two months of 2020 represent continuity in trends from 2019.
The Lake Chad Basin shows a complex regional system defined by multiple instabilities. Non-state Salafi-jihadi actors – namely Boko Haram and the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) – confront state institutions and compete for power over local communities, fuelling regional political and economic insecurity. Furthermore, an increasingly harsh climate is having a serious impact on livelihood activities, feeding into social tensions – such as farmers-herders conflicts over access to natural resources – and prompting a severe humanitarian crisis.
The Southern Red Sea region has a key role in global energy security. The Strait of Bab el-Mandeb is one of the world’s most important chokepoints for trade flows, and occupies a central role in the Indian Ocean’s routes. Currently, China relies on oil imports from the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Aden, whose chokepoints are under the military protection of the US Navy.
Sub-Saharan Africa made its appearance on the oil and gas map quite recently when compared with other regions of the world and although it seems marginal on the global oil and gas markets (it represents less than 5% of global oil production, around 2% of global gas production, just above 3% of both global oil and gas reserves), it accounts for a quarter to a third of the activities of all the major international oil companies (and even half of Italian ENI’s global activities).
Cameroon will head to the polls on February 9 for legislative elections. Even though the current social and political situation in the country is usually presented through the lens of an anglo‑francophone cleavage, the absence of young people’s trust in the government also plays a crucial role. In the Central-African country, more than 60% of the population is younger than 25 years.
The EU-ACP Partnership Agreement, signed in Cotonou in 2000, is due to expire on 29 February 2020. Since the negotiations have ground to a halt, the parties have almost agreed to transitional measures to extend the application of the current agreement. Just before passing the torch to his successor, as the new European Commission took office December 1st, commissioner Neven Mimica briefed member states' representatives on the negotiations and its current standstill. Which appears to be very much inherent to the format itself.