Africa Program Policy Briefs
A series of short publications covering timely and salient subjects to Africa and Africa-related policy.
Issues in this Series
U.S. policy toward Africa has been on autopilot for much of the past four years, following a laundry list of good intentions that established priorities for Africa’s well-being and U.S. security interests. However, a truly sustainable and forward-looking U.S. policy toward Africa should refocus attention on Africa’s opportunity as an economic powerhouse of the future, a strategy that combines both domestic self-interest and an opportunity to help Africa move forward.
This paper is intended to promote discussion as to the role that trade can play in speeding development in Africa and the possible steps that can be taken to enable Africa to participate more fully in the global market. It does not cover all the barriers to expanding trade by African countries. Other important topics – notably infrastructure, especially ports and roads, and corruption – are discussed in other conference papers. It also does not include issues that are not directly related to trade and which can only be dealt with in the longer term, such as improved health and education, which were critical components of the success of the Asian “tigers”.
The advent of democracy in 1994 came with the promise of a society whose race, political, economic and social relations would be the antithesis of what they had been under apartheid. The post-apartheid order would deliver what the ANC calls “a better life for all.” What has happened since the ANC came to power can best be summarized in three ways: First, there has been some improvement in the political, social and economic conditions of the majority. Second, democratic, policy and delivery deficits have emerged.
The perception that Africa takes a backseat to Asia in President Barack Obama’s foreign policy view obscures a compelling strategic landscape the administration could construct were it ever to elevate the attention it apportions to Africa.
Unprecedented numbers of young people in weak and war-torn African nations, in short, tend to be characterized by the gap between what most youth need and what governments and international donors think they need, not to mention what they actually get.
The Search for Antiseptic War: The Prospects and Perils of Drones for the United States, the Sahel and Beyond
The U.S. Government has made clear that stabilization missions requiring deployment of large numbers of personnel—military and civilian—are not on the agenda for the foreseeable future. Not only budget constraints but also sobering experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan have produced a strategic shift.
"The problem of violent conflict and the instability it creates remains a major global preoccupation, owing to the recognition that development can hardly take root in such settings and that conflict-affected states could be breeding grounds for all kinds of international insecurity."
"The collapse of the Somali central government and the ensuing anarchy resulted in major insecurity that compelled the indigenous population to seek alternative means to safeguard its livelihood. This led to the proliferation of non-state security actors, the rise in their legitimacy, and the emergence of hybridized security sector governance. This paper argues for the use of hybridized security governance to consolidate peace and state building in contemporary Somalia and gives insight into how neighboring countries and the international community might support Somali efforts to preserve peace. It suggests that the Somalia Federal Government should decentralize security sector governance and integrate traditional justice remedies and local militias into the governance structure with well-articulated roles and a system of accountability."
"Since 2001, the Ethiopian government has been committed to building a “developmental state,” one with a strong state-led macro-economic plan, much like that of East Asian countries. After 2005, the developmental agenda took center stage in public discourse. This increasingly dominant discourse frames poverty as an existential threat to Ethiopia’s survival, necessitating its eradication by hastening development at all costs. In recent years, various independent international organizations have agreed that Ethiopia is among the fastest growing economies in the world."
"Sub-Saharan Africa’s tagline as “the next global investment hub” is becoming a cliché. Following a decade of sustained economic growth, averaging between 5 and 6% of annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth (Regional Economic Outlook, 2014) and backed by rich natural resources such as gold, timber, silver, coal and new discoveries of oil in many countries, all indicators are pointing towards a continent with formidable economic prospects. The latest ranking places Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) as the second fastest-growing continent after Asia, with seven of the world’s ten fastest-growing economies located in the region . In fact, SSA is brimming with unprecedented confidence about its future prospects as a global competitor and economic giant."
There is widespread agreement that equal access to power and decision-making for men and women is fundamental to representative and responsive governance. This has been highlighted in governance and development discourses against a background of women’s unequal and limited access to public office. Women’s substantive representation in political positions is crucial to closing the gender gap in decision-making structures. Within Africa, tremendous strides have been made towards improving women’s political inclusion in recent years.
Recent events in several sub-Saharan African countries raise concerns that religiously motivated violent conflict is on the rise. Perpetrated mainly by a number of extremist religious groups claiming Islamic or Christian identity, which has escalated during the last decade, this phenomenon is becoming one of the main challenges to peace and security on the African continent and requires renewed attention from policymakers at the national and international levels. The U.S. government (USG) should pay particular attention given the United States’ commitment to religious freedom, as exemplified in its adoption of the International Religious Freedom Act in 1998. Addressing the issue of religious violence in sub-Saharan Africa requires not only a multi-level policy approach, but also the development of a holistic framework that will enable analysts and scholars to address the complexity of its causality, since religious violence is never only about religion.