Over the last year, Mozambique has seen a marked improvement in security conditions in its troubled Cabo Delgado region. The military intervention of Southern African Development Community (SADC) member states and Rwanda has disrupted an Islamist insurgency that emerged in 2017 and has since inflicted an enormous toll on the region. Security in key areas of Cabo Delgado and neighboring provinces has stabilized, giving the Mozambican government — and its international backers — an opportunity to foster reconciliation leading to an enduring peace. The Mozambican government should immediately take advantage of this exceptional regional commitment, which won’t last forever.
On May 15, Somali legislators selected former president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud to reprise the chief executive role he played from 2012-2017. The vote marks a critical transition for Somalia and in the Horn of Africa, particularly after the election was delayed by two years and marred by corruption and violence. President Hassan Sheikh will return to power in a country seemingly splitting at the seams, amid a devastating drought, a metastasizing terrorist threat and a fractious political scene. Meanwhile, President Biden has decided to redeploy U.S. troops to fight the terrorist group al-Shabab, reversing a move made by President Trump at the end of his term.
As democracies rally to defend an international rules-based system against Russia’s brutal attack on Ukrainians, the United States should forge an alliance with African partners by committing with them now to resolve the Ukraine crisis in a way that makes that system fairer and more inclusive. One early step is for U.S. and other policymakers to highlight the core of this conflict: The 44 million Ukrainians are fighting to govern themselves freely within their internationally recognized borders — a cause that is viscerally real to billions of people across Africa and the “global south.”
Tony Elumelu, one of Africa’s leading investors and philanthropists, recently brought his message to USIP: For Africa, a strong private sector, spurred by entrepreneurs, is critical to advancing peace, stability and development. While promoting business formation is no substitute for strengthening Africa’s weak infrastructure, governance and institutions, neither are challenging business conditions a reason to delay unleashing the entrepreneurial energies of African youth, Elumelu said.
From 2013 to 2018, Sudanese civil society actors carved out a variety of civic spaces that laid the foundation for Sudan’s 2018–2019 December Revolution. This report assesses the factors that gave rise to this remarkable mobilization—in particular how civil society development ultimately enabled the Sudanese opposition to sustain a decentralized, nationwide, and robust nonviolent campaign characterized by widespread mass participation, unity of leadership and purpose, and a commitment to nonviolent discipline—and what it will take to keep the country’s democratic transition on track.
This report examines the role of Darfur in Sudan’s domestic politics and international relations since the overthrow of Omar al-Bashir in 2019. It traces how Darfur’s importance has shifted with the growing aspirations and power of Mohamed Hamdan Daglo – more commonly known as Hemetti – and the Rapid Support Forces that he governs. It concludes by examining where Western actors may have leverage to push for both peace in Darfur and civilian rule.
The United States is setting a new priority on building peace in five West African nations threatened by domestic crises and by violence that is spreading from the neighboring Sahel region. The White House named those countries among others in which to launch a new U.S. strategy to prevent violent conflicts in unstable regions. This choice signaled that stability in coastal West Africa is a vital U.S. interest — and that these five countries, while in varied stages of building democracies, can strengthen democracy and stability with more focused, long-term U.S. support. A broad consultation of scholarly and policy experts on coastal West Africa is buttressing that idea.
Since 2017, an Islamist insurgency has terrorized Mozambique’s northern province of Cabo Delgado. Known locally as al-Shabaab, the group has committed heinous acts like beheadings, abducting children and destroying schools and hospitals, leading to a humanitarian disaster and over a million displaced Mozambicans. The violence has also threatened the development of natural gas fields that would strengthen the country’s suffering economy. Fortunately, the militants are now on their back foot after Mozambique’s neighbors sent troops in July 2021 to counter the ISIS-linked group. But the region’s problems are deep-seated and will require sustained engagement to stave off further violence and advance peace. Last Friday, the United States signaled it was prepared for such a commitment to Mozambique.
After 16 months, one of Africa’s deadliest wars has yielded an opportunity to build peace, as Ethiopia’s government and the Tigray Defense Forces have declared a truce to allow for the humanitarian aid needed to prevent mass starvation across the country’s northeast. Ethiopians and their supporters must seize this moment to consolidate a durable cease-fire and end blockages to humanitarian assistance. This effort should open a path to a broad national dialogue to set a shared vision for Ethiopia’s future, growth potential and long-term stability. But the essential first steps are complex and will need to be taken carefully and swiftly.
USIP’s Heather Ashby, Jude Mutah, Andrew Scobell and Mona Yacoubian examine how the invasion of Ukraine might have shifted Moscow’s decision-making in other regions — such as Syria, the Sahel and China.