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West Africa

Boko Haram on the Back Foot?

Africa Briefing N°120, 4 May 2016

A photo shows a campaign signboad displayed by the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) at Ogijo, Nigeria, on 3 July 2015. AFP/Pius Utomi Ekpei

Boko Haram is losing ground, resources and fighters. But defeating the group and preventing a future insurgency needs more than military success. The 14 May summit in Abuja is an opportunity for Nigeria and its Lake Chad basin neighbours to prepare and implement what's been long overdue: a holistic response to the extremist group.

Recent Reports

Boko Haram on the Back Foot?, Africa Briefing N°120, 4 May 2016

Boko Haram is losing ground, resources and fighters. But defeating the group and preventing a future insurgency needs more than military success. The 14 May summit in Abuja is an opportunity for Nigeria and its Lake Chad basin neighbours to prepare and implement what's been long overdue: a holistic response to the extremist group.

Implementing Peace and Security Architecture (III): West Africa, Africa Report N°234, 14 Apr 2016

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has a formidable record in its efforts to promote peace in a particularly turbulent region. Still, reform is essential to give the organisation new impetus, and is ever more urgent as insecurity worsens throughout the Sahel and Lake Chad regions.

Burkina Faso: Transition, Act II, Africa Briefing N°116, 7 Jan 2016

Burkina Faso’s democratically elected new government faces great challenges to deliver on justice, socio-economic needs and regional security. To succeed, authorities must resist the temptation to establish a new one-party hegemony. Instead, they should engage in social dialogue and political reconciliation, military reform, and friendly relations with neighbouring Côte d’Ivoire.

Mali: Peace from Below?, Africa Briefing N°115, 14 Dec 2015

Hesitant steps toward peace in Mali have been helped by the recent pacts signed in Anefis by pro-government armed groups and by rebel representatives. While not sufficient or without risks, they are rooted in local initiatives and tackle issues left out of June’s Bamako accord. This offers a serious opportunity to put the peace process back on track.

The Politics behind the Ebola Crisis, Africa Report N°232, 28 Oct 2015

West Africa is still paying the price for its poor response to the Ebola epidemic. Where an early response could have prevented the worst, failures on all levels allowed Ebola to spread, exposing a deep rift between the population and political class of the countries affected. Unless all actors learn from the crisis, a similar disaster may be just a matter of time.

Curbing Violence in Nigeria (III): Revisiting the Niger Delta, Africa Report N°231, 29 Sep 2015

The Niger Delta is rich in resources, but poverty, unemployment and pollution could reignite a rebellion that ended in 2009. Despite the Boko Haram insurgency in the North East, Nigeria must fulfil its promises of support for the southern delta’s economic development, social justice, and environmental regeneration.

The Central Sahel: A Perfect Sandstorm, Africa Report N°227, 25 Jun 2015

The Sahel’s trajectory is worrying; poverty and population growth, combined with growing jihadi extremism, contraband and human trafficking constitute the perfect storm of actual and potential instability. Without holistic, sustained efforts against entrenched criminal networks, misrule and underdevelopment, radicalisation and migration are likely to spread and exacerbate.

Burkina Faso: Meeting the October Target, Africa Briefing N°112, 24 Jun 2015

Burkina Faso’s faltering transition faces elections in less than four months amid political tensions and social agitation. A controversial electoral code could inject the poison of exclusion into a country that is attached to multiparty politics. It is time for political and civil society actors to begin a formal dialogue to reduce the risks.

Mali: An Imposed Peace?, Africa Report N°226, 22 May 2015

Fighting recently resumed in Mali, while a peace accord remains a façade. Both sides, with help from international mediators, need to re-open negotiations. They must go beyond prioritising security to include all belligerents and improve access to basic social services, jobs and justice.

Security Sector Reform in Guinea-Bissau: An Opportunity Not to Be Missed, Africa Briefing N°109, 19 Mar 2015

A legitimate civilian government, economic improvement and an army that has lost credibility are an opportunity for Guinea-Bissau. Regional and international partners meeting in Brussels on 25 March should commit to finance security sector reform to help the small state move beyond its history of military coups.

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