[continued from International Security Crisis and Development in Africa: The Allure of Globalism to Fund the Pursuit of Peace and Africa’s Wealth of Mineral Resources, Oil and Gas, and Prior Development Attempts, and Weapons Flows, Regional Conflicts, Gun Culture, and Failures of Disarmament]
The US recently increased defense spending by $87 billion to $716 billion for 2019. US Africa Command is currently witnessing its 10 year anniversary and supports about 1,000 personnel operating in the Sahel region alone supporting African-led and French assisted missions. This is a significant percentage of the total of number of uniformed personnel, Department of Defense civilians, and contractors that work on any given day at 7,200 men and women. US AFRICOM’s drone base is relocating from Niamey to the city of Agadez in Niger and is providing training and equipment to Nigerian Armed Forces under the Trans Sahara Counter Terrorism Partnership. While enemy combatants in Niger are largely forces belonging to Al-Qaeda and ISIS-Greater Sahara, Chad is composed of mainly Boko Haram and ISIS-West Africa. The US AFRICOM mission in Chad includes logistics, sustainment, and maintenance with the Chadian Special Anti-Terrorism Group (SATG). In addition, the US military is also helping with intelligence, border surveillance and counter-IED capabilities according to a recent testimony before Congress.
While conflict areas in Africa remain high priorities for global security, local civilian populations in these areas will continue to demand AID. However, the current state of AID remains the subject of wide criticism for corruption. In an effort to address internal corruption within many AID programs, Congress is in the process of possibly rolling up some organizations. In addition to this, the US government and international community addressing the security and humanitarian crisis should institute a multilevel program that begins in AID provided at the crisis phase and ends in development finance upon reaching increasing levels of stability. Results should be measured at milestones and benchmarks along the way in order for local governments to be provided the opportunity to qualify and meet expectations for future development that require outside countries and the businesses to take risks. These milestones showing incremental progress along targeted benchmarks in stability and growth will drive the risk of development down and increase interest for private investment. Currently AID programs do not require local governments to set goals that can reached to show investors and risk assessors progress which could drastically affect credit and financing and offer collateral.
Further, no coordination exists between local governments, public private partnerships, private companies, and NGOs working in the same geographic areas with each investing resources in its own agenda irrespective of opportunities to pool resources, divide costs, and promote shared or common interests. This lack of coordination increases the overhead of each organization and can even create imbalances or introduce new problems between multiple institutional efforts. This coordination should be taking place across the continent as well, because opposing visions for the security and development of Africa are currently contributing to the instability of the region which has reached a global scale.
This can be seen currently in mass migration movements. While terrorism is shaping the Horn of Africa and the Sahel and West Africa, the other more stable Sub Saharan countries are undergoing large scale development but in such a way as to contribute to the security and humanitarian problems on the continent. Large scale land purchases in Tanzania, Guinea, Gobon, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Cameroon, D.R. Congo, and Mozambique by foreign entities in Korea, China, India, Saudi Arabia, Europe, and others for industrial farming has contributed towards continental deforestation, desertification, other ecological problems, as well as mass migration. Land purchases in order to carve large industrial farms have been recorded as lows as US$0.80/hectare/year in Ethiopia and $0.50 – $7.10 per hectare/year in other countries. These land conversions to industrial farms is also sending the majority of the continent’s food supply for export while requiring increasing quantities of food from AID programs to import food or cash injections to buy it.
The distribution of food needs to be reorganized with public and private sector cooperation regionally and internationally, because relatively few infrastructure projects are being built in compensation for these low values of land, and the creation of industrial farms has driven many of the local populations including local farmers into migration. The quantity of land purchased for industrial farms measures almost the size of the United States. Migrants pushed out of these lands show a high probability of inflating numbers to conflict areas where rebels recruit a steady stream of fresh fighters among migrants. With unemployment being one of the big drivers of migration, the lack of education and job training are secondary problems of employment to the issue of employable men being former combatants from violent extremists networks. NGOs working in disarmament and reeducation of former al-Qaeda, Islamic State, Boko Haram, or al-Shabaab servants discuss the difficulties of having such a large percentage of the workforce in a country or region being former combatants whom nobody wants.
African migrants who are also former combatants will continue to be a problem for African countries and foreign interests much the same way that Idlib is in Syria, but on a much larger scale. Idlib currently houses some 30,000 terrorists of differing nationalities ranging from European to Middle Eastern and Asian in which their country of origin will not accept their reentry. Often disarmed former combatants are driven from their families and neighborhoods and employers do not want to hire former terrorists. Thus the placement of former al-Qaeda, IS, Boko Haram, al-Shabaab or other violent extremist group will continue to limit the size of the region’s desirable work force and hinder the progress of security, law enforcement, and border protection. Thus, the manner in which large land purchases are made and development projects commence should target local populations for work and attract peaceful migrants to new jobs instead of continuing to displace workers that could potentially fuel rebel militias.
Development and foreign investment also needs to fuel the local economy and the local government’s ability to finance further infrastructure and industry development. Stable countries that are undergoing economic transformation should serve as a model for countries currently engaged in conflict. African countries should leverage the competition between foreign interests to maximize their development capacity and negotiate reciprocal engagements within public private partnerships and close loopholes that fuel corruption on multiple sides. With critical infrastructure needed in the US, Europe especially UK, Russia, and China as well as throughout Africa, the resource development of mining minerals, oil, and gas in African countries should be organized with the cross-development of infrastructure in both Africa and outside countries.
This would create a new development model for the continent that could reduce risk to foreign investment and head off further instability caused by imbalanced state agreements, loans, or one-sided business deals. In other words, the development of oil, gas, and mining industries in African countries should fuel infrastructure development in both the African country and foreign country investing in security and AID. This way, the African country receives security, AID, infrastructure, and industry development, and the foreign country receives raw materials needed for infrastructure development in its country. Private companies get the domestic and international business to build the infrastructure and develop industries. The cross-development of infrastructure between Africa the outside country would lower the risk factor for investment. This approach serves the peace and stability of the region and the global community.