AFISMA and the Mali Crisis Rethinking Security Intervention and Democratic Consolidation in Africa

BY OGBONNAYA, Ufiem Maurice

Introduction

For more than two and half decades, precisely between 1985 and 2011, Mali experienced rapid economic growth. For instance, between 1985 and 1994, Mali’s GDP grew at an average rate of 1.7 per cent; 5.8 per cent between 1995 and 2005 and at 4.9 per cent between 2007 and 2010, while annual GDP growth was 2.7 per cent in 2011.[ii] On the one hand, this economic growth was occasioned by a flourishing democracy and socio-political stability, which made the country “an acclaimed example of democratic process in the West African sub-region.”[iii] On the other hand, flourishing democracy, socio-political stability and the resultant economic growth in Mali were results of the successes in regional integration recorded within the West African sub-region by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Following decades of instability arising from a series of political upheavals, sporadic violent social conflicts and civil wars in West Africa, the emphasis in the sub-region shifted in the mid-1990s, from economic cooperation to peace-building and security cooperation. This was due to the realisation that there is a dialectical relationship among security, peace, political stability, and economic growth and that economic cooperation cannot be fostered on a conflict-ridden environment.[iv] However, the flourishing democracy, socio-political stability and economic growth experienced in Mali in particular and the success in regional integration recorded by ECOWAS within the sub-region in general, have come under threats by the resurgence of political conflicts and secessionist tendencies in Mali, military coup d’état in Burkina Faso and electoral violence in Gabon, among others.

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Hydropolitics and Geopolitics-Transforming Conflict and Reshaping Cooperation in Africa

Hydropolitics and Geopolitics-Transforming Conflict and Reshaping Cooperation in Africa

The purpose of this is paper is to contribute to the many endeavors to break the vicious circle of conflict, disease, poverty and the cycle of famine in Africa. It suggests that the continent make the best use of the very weakness of its state structures by re-conceptualizing a development whose sustainability is based on an integrated and collective management of river systems. To this end, one needs to rethink and reformulate issues that are creating conflict on the continent and redesign new forms of cooperation.

By Marcel Kitissou a Sahel Consortium

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The Economy of Forces-France in the Sahel and the Global Power Play

Sahel  Consortium - The Economy of Forces-France in the Sahel and the Global Power Play.jpg

Since the 1960s wave of African independence, whenever political arrangements fail to fulfill their intended purposes, the French response to deviant actors has resulted in over 100 French military interventions in Africa with stabilizing consequences in some cases and destabilizing outcomes in others. French logic for intervention has been two-fold: reactionary and preventive. The reactionary mode is to maintain the status quo with France as regional hegemon in sub-Saharan Africa and as major player in the global arena.

The preventive mode is to deter competitors and outside threats to its national interests in the region. It is a model of an economy of forces whereby soft and hard power are combined and deployed to achieve results with maximum efficiency and minimum resources. More than half a century after independence, Francophone sub-Saharan Africa virtually functions as an extension of France’s national territory. This illustrates the fact that actual boundaries of nations depend less on physical size than on influence and the capacity of force projection. France’s role in world affairs exemplifies this assertion.

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Conflicting Stories and Contending Images of Africa

Conflicting Stories and Contending Images of Africa

As Paul Watzlawick put it “…the belief that one’s own view of reality is the only reality is the most dangerous of all delusions. It becomes still more dangerous if it is coupled with a missionary zeal to enlighten the rest of the world, whether the rest of the world wishes to be enlightened or not. To refuse to embrace wholeheartedly a particular definition of reality (i.e., ideology), to dare to see the world differently, can become a ‘think crime’ in a truly Orwellian sense…” (How Real Is Real? Confusion, Disinformation, Communication, 1976).

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France and the United States in Western Sahel: Cooperation and Competition in an Interlocking Conflict

France and the United States in Western Sahel: Cooperation and Competition in an Interlocking Conflict

Compared to other regions in Africa, particularly southern Africa, the Sahel and West Africa are in a relative situation of instability. Economic and security crises are closely related and reinforce each other. Security is needed for successful development policies and development is needed to ensure peaceable societies. 

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Africa: From Military Coups to Constitutional Coups

The outcome of Rwanda’s constitutional referendum held on December 18 2015 was one of the boldest affirmations that Africa has become afflicted with a new virus - constitutional coup making.  Official results of the referendum showed that 98 per cent of Rwandans ‘wanted’ a constitutional change to permit Paul Kagame, 58, to run for a third term of seven years at the end of his current tenure in 2017.   The country’s newly amended constitution which reduced a term from seven years to five years will come into effect when Kagame’s third term tenure of seven years will come to an end, enabling him to run for another two terms of 5-years each under the amended constitution. Essentially the Rwandan strongman’s constitutional coup makes it possible for him to rule until 2034 – or longer if he is able to engineer another constitutional coup after that.

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Africa South of the Sahara 2008-2011: Hunger as a Factor in Political Instability

Between 2007 and 2008 spiking food prices sparked simultaneous riots in the Middle East, Latin America, Asia, the Caribbean and, to a greater extent, Africa, where more than a dozen countries experienced food related violence. In 2010-2011, inequalities in resource distribution, including access to food, led to riots in many African countries. This paper focuses on structural challenges to food security, presents competing views and weights differences in reaction to economic crisis in Africa south of the Sahara.

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France’s Projection of Military Force in West Africa and the Sahel

France’s Projection of Military Force in West Africa and the Sahel

The future development prospects of Saharo-Sahelian areas requires deeper economic and political co-operation between the region and North Africa, yet realization of this potential is premised on Saharo-Sahelian political stability and security. France has been an integral element in shaping the security architecture and relationship between the vast region spanning West and North Africa and the Saharo-Sahelian areas.

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