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.
On December 10, 2019, the southwestern region of Tillabéri, in Niger, was shocked by an act of armed violence against Nigerien military forces. Around 500 heavily-armed men stormed a military camp in In-Atès, about 180 km from the capital Niamey and 20 km from the border with Mali. More than 70 soldiers were killed, dozens injured and many weapons and pieces of equipment stolen.
Jihadist insurgency, geostrategic competition, smuggling, and migrant flows. More than anywhere in Africa – and perhaps the world – the Sahel is where these phenomena come together, fuelling social and economic crises. Keeping an eye on the Sahel in 2020 will be paramount.
On November 12, French president Emmanuel Macron and his Chadian counterpart, Idriss Déby, met in Paris, at the Peace Forum. Faced with the urgency of the situation in the Sahel, where the G5 military forces (Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger) have just suffered a major setback with the death of 50 Malian soldiers during a terrorist attack, France seems more than ever to rely on Chad and its army to restore security.
As the first-ever Russia-Africa summit made headlines around the world in the past few weeks, the comparison between the Russian and the Chinese approach to Africa was recurrent. It originated in the fact that both China and Russia are not Western countries, both have seemingly ‘returned’ to Africa in the 21st century for economic and political reasons, both advocate a non-interference approach in the internal affairs of other countries and both are perceived as great powers in international relations.