From Chaos to Cohesion: A Regional Approach to Security, Stability, and Development in Sub-Saharan Africa
Authored by Diane E. Chido.
Prevention is the key to effective policies in Africa, whether the issue is equitable resource exploitation, ethnic conflict, infectious diseases, or famine. African Regional Economic Communities (RECs) have moved beyond their initial purpose of a loose confederation of trading partners to become increasingly effective supranational bodies promoting financial, political, and security stabilization in each of their regions. Looking at each of the RECs, their power centers, and areas of weakness, policymakers can gain a more comprehensive understanding of the sometimes symbiotic and often destructive dynamics within and among African states to seek more effective strategic and regional, not national, approaches. This monograph suggests USAFRICOM is uniquely positioned to help design a path to spearhead a pan-African strategy highly likely to have the net long-term effect of attaining considerable competitive advantage for the U.S. economically, militarily, and politically, with a corresponding increase in stability, security, and economic opportunity for the entire continent.
Conflicts and extremism are almost certain to continue to rise in Africa, especially with instability resulting from the cascade of unrest across North Africa and the Middle East, the burgeoning youth bulge in Sub-Saharan Africa, African mercenaries, rising Islamic extremism, myriad wild, ungoverned spaces, and increasing resource shortages resulting from human activities and climate change across the Continent. In order to protect our troops while ensuring stability in the region, we must develop the capacity of a Pan-African force to deal effectively with these and other likely problems as they arise.
Prevention is the key to effective policies in Africa, whether the issue is equitable resource exploitation, ethnic conflict, infectious diseases, or famine. Beginning now to develop well-trained, disciplined, and well-equipped military and police forces that can ensure stability in place of our own troops in future conflicts and emergencies is a long-range stabilizing method certain to pay for itself in the long-term. This monograph provides a path toward developing a viable African Union capable of serving as a supranational governing body to drive stability, security, and economic development by strengthening the capability of Regional Economic Communities (RECs) as the first step in a longer-term integration process.
Carefully implementing such a pan-continental strategy is highly likely to have the net effect over the next 20 years of attaining a considerable competitive advantage for the U.S. economically, militarily, and politically, with a corresponding increase in stability, security, and economic opportunity in that region.
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