On Ukraine, Africa Needs a Clearer U.S. Message

On Ukraine, Africa Needs a Clearer U.S. Message

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

By: Heather Ashby, Ph.D.;  Joseph Sany, Ph.D.

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.”

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global Policy

Countering Coups: In Africa, Use Investment to Build Rule of Law

Countering Coups: In Africa, Use Investment to Build Rule of Law

Wednesday, April 20, 2022

By: Joseph Sany, Ph.D.;  Thomas P. Sheehy

Policymakers are urgently seeking ways to reverse the erosion of democracy in fragile states exemplified by the past year’s surge in military coups in and around Africa’s Sahel region. To halt this decline, it’s vital to listen to African voices urging that international partners make the most of a powerful pro-democracy tool: increased foreign investment built upon the rule of law.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & GovernanceFragility & ResilienceGlobal Policy

A Sixth Coup in Africa? The West Needs to Up Its Game.

A Sixth Coup in Africa? The West Needs to Up Its Game.

Wednesday, February 2, 2022

By: Joseph Sany, Ph.D.

The government of Guinea-Bissau says it survived an attempted coup d’état yesterday, just days after Burkina Faso suffered the fifth coup in nine months around the greater Sahel. These upheavals cement this African region as the most pronounced center of a global crisis: Poor and authoritarian governance is breeding extremism and transnational criminality, igniting violence and undermining efforts to build democracies. Following last year’s military power grabs in Chad, Mali, Guinea and Sudan, the new crises highlight widening risks to security — for the 135 million people of the Sahel region, and ultimately for Europe and the United States. They also point to changes needed in U.S. and international policies.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Democracy & Governance

Countering Coups: How to Help Rebuild Democratic Rule

Countering Coups: How to Help Rebuild Democratic Rule

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

By: Joseph Sany, Ph.D.;  Aly Verjee;  USIP Staff

The past year’s surge in coups around Africa’s greater Sahel region highlights the need for the United States, other democracies and African governments to improve past practices that often have been ineffective in preventing armed seizures of power and in reversing them when they occur. Many Sahel countries have suffered repeated coups—a warning that we need to strengthen the ways that we shape our efforts at restoring democracy. USIP experts suggest that these transitions must become periods for broad, national dialogues to set agendas for change that can make strengthen democracy and interrupt cycles of failed governance.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global PolicyDemocracy & Governance

Despite High Stakes in Ethiopia, China Sits on the Sidelines of Peace Efforts

Despite High Stakes in Ethiopia, China Sits on the Sidelines of Peace Efforts

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

By: Joseph Sany, Ph.D.;  Thomas P. Sheehy

Since November of 2020, Ethiopia has been suffering from a deadly internal conflict that has claimed an estimated 50,000 lives and displaced over two million. The United States, the African Union and others in the region have attempted to secure a cease-fire between the federal government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) but have made little headway. In contrast, China has remained mainly on the sidelines of peacebuilding efforts even though Ethiopia — the second most populous country in Africa — is a centerpiece of its Africa policy. 

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Global PolicyPeace Processes

After Two Coups, Mali Needs Regional Support to Bolster Democracy

After Two Coups, Mali Needs Regional Support to Bolster Democracy

Thursday, December 9, 2021

By: Ena Dion;  Joseph Sany, Ph.D.

Amid a 15-year global democratic recession, the Biden administration is convening over a hundred nations this week to revitalize democracy. This comes at a critical juncture, as democracy’s defenders are reeling from the growing challenges posed by authoritarian foes. The West African country of Mali puts these challenges in stark relief, after the country experienced two coups in a year. Underlying the crisis of coups in Mali is a deeper crisis of state legitimacy, which has been exacerbated by Western security assistance overly focused on short-term counterterrorism gains.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Civilian-Military RelationsDemocracy & Governance

Guinea’s Lesson for Strengthening Democracy: Use ‘Peer Power’

Guinea’s Lesson for Strengthening Democracy: Use ‘Peer Power’

Thursday, December 9, 2021

By: Oge Onubogu ;  Joseph Sany, Ph.D.

As dozens of nations seek to strengthen democracy at this week’s White House summit, indicators for effective methods can be found in Guinea, one of five nations that this year suffered a coup by its military. An overarching lesson is for the United States and other more distant governments and institutions to recognize the greater efficacy of putting regional communities in the lead. For Guinea, this will mean supporting a stronger role by neighboring countries and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS)—a 15 nation grouping that has shown real promise as a promoter of democracy.

Civilian-Military RelationsDemocracy & Governance

Pathways to Peace in Mozambique

Pathways to Peace in Mozambique

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

By: Joseph Sany, Ph.D.

An Islamist insurgency in Mozambique’s northern Cabo Delgado province and the grave humanitarian crisis it has created is threatening the promise of development offered by the discovery of vast reserves of natural gas in the region. It is imperative that the Mozambican government, with the support of the international community, make a concerted effort to return peace to this strategically important part of southern Africa.

Type: Analysis and Commentary

Conflict Analysis & PreventionViolent Extremism