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Actualités (406)

By Amadou Tidiane Cissé

On the eve of the Africa-US Summit, Timbuktu Institute publishes this article by Lt. Colonel Amadou Tidiane CISSE. This senior Senegalese customs official is since 2019 Head of the Office of Security and Coordination of the Fight against Fraud at the Directorate General of Customs of Senegal. He has held positions as Auditor and Head of Sections at the Port of Dakar as well as Inspector Editor at the Directorate of Studies and Legislation. He is a graduate of the National School of Administration of Senegal and holds a Master's degree in Sociology and a Master's degree in Oil and Gas. He is the author of "Terrorism beyond borders. New Challenges for Customs cooperation on Security in the Sahel” (2021) foreword by Dr. Bakary Sambe. and another essay entitled "Off-shore States and Petro-terrorism: Geopolitical Implications of Oil and Gas discoveries and Security Challenges in the Gulf of Guinea” (2022).


In one week's time, the U.S.-Africa Summit opens in Washington. The White House statement announcing the Summit referred to it as an opportunity for the United States of America and Africa to revitalise their partnerships: ‘The Summit will demonstrate the United States’ enduring commitment to Africa, and will underscore the importance of U.S.-Africa relations and increased cooperation on shared global priorities.

The 2014 Obama-era summit was the first on the U.S. diplomatic agenda, and it focused on the theme: ‘Investing in the Next Generation’. By inviting African heads of state to Washington nearly a decade later, President Biden intends to create a new dynamic in U.S. relations with the continent, this time with a stronger focus on trade and investment. It must be said that until more or less recently, American involvement on the African continent was limited to post-conflict humanitarian or health emergencies, notably including President G. W. Bush's initiative to mobilise 48 billion dollars to respond to the AIDS pandemic in Africa.

President Trump did not visit Africa once during his entire presidency. Africa was never a strategic priority for him. In fact, he made no secret of his lack of interest in the continent. His wife, Melania Trump, confined herself to visiting a few USAID projects in Ghana, Malawi, and Egypt in 2018, which were geared towards the promotion of children's health and well-being, before ending her visit to Africa in a Kenyan nature sanctuary, where she bottle-fed baby elephants.

However, the passing of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) by the U.S. Congress in 2000 already reflected a desire to develop trade with Africa by allowing more than 6,000 products to enter the U.S. market duty-free. Following the 2014 summit, Congress modernised the trade promotion programme, for which 40 African states are eligible, and extended it until 2025.

To boost economic growth in Africa, a bilateral development fund, the Millennium Challenge Corporation, has been set up, mobilising $8.8 billion in funding since 2004 for 25 African countries. The $500 million Prosper Africa initiative, which was launched in 2020, aims to support African companies seeking to penetrate the U.S. market, which boasts a population of 300 million and a purchasing power of $23 trillion. Prosper Africa provides African countries with a one-stop shop that delivers a range of trade and investment services. The U.S. Power Africa initiative aims to promote investment in Africa's power sector by injecting more than 30,000 megawatts of clean energy and providing electricity to more than 60 million African households and businesses.

These major economic initiatives (AGOA, MCA, Prosper Africa) undertaken by the U.S. administration in support of the African continent mark an important turning point in U.S.-Africa cooperation. President Biden is also counting on the continental free trade area to stimulate stronger economic growth in Africa.

In 2021, U.S. imports from Africa were estimated at $37 billion (vs. $23.7 billion in 2020). African trade goods exported to the U.S. totalled $26.7 billion that same year (vs. $21.9 billion in 2020). Although trade between the two continents has grown significantly over the past decade, it remains low overall compared to China's estimated $114 billion in exports to Africa in 2020 (a peak of $155 billion was recorded in 2015).

The future of the U.S.-Africa partnership is bright, especially with the numerous oil and gas discoveries on the continent and the need to diversify the United States' hydrocarbon supply sources and reduce U.S. allies' energy dependence on Russian gas, due to the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian armed conflict.

On the occasion of the recent publication of the United States’ National Security Strategy in October 2022, U.S. Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke in the following terms: ‘The [...] National Security Strategy lays out a vision for a free, open, secure, and prosperous world and a comprehensive plan to realize it. This is not just our vision, but one shared by many other countries that seek to live in a world that respects the foundational principles of self-determination, territorial integrity, and political independence; where countries are free to determine their own foreign policy choices; information is allowed to flow freely; universal human rights are upheld; and the global economy operates on a level playing field – providing opportunity for all. ’

The new National Security Strategy articulates the main thrust of U.S. cooperation in Africa, particularly in the area of security. It also addresses the imperative of overcoming the divide between U.S. domestic and foreign policy, because the two are so seamlessly intertwined in reality. That is why the Biden administration is working to build an ever more modern and powerful military to protect vital U.S. interests and prevent the outbreak of conflicts around the world that could impact them. For example, the Strategy supports the efforts of African countries and regions facing political conflicts, attacks by terrorist groups and humanitarian crises, such as Cameroon, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Somalia, and the Sahel.

Until now, as Maya Kandel rightly pointed out, the dogma of U.S. strategy in Africa was based on the 'light footprint' concept, i.e., the absence of direct engagement by American troops, leadership from the sidelines, and intervention through intermediary partners.

Biden's announcement signals the end of an American foreign policy that has long relied on its historical ally, France, which has traditionally held greater influence in sub-Saharan Africa.

Faced with the current stability challenges, the U.S. administration is promoting security cooperation with a view to countering the terrorist threat that undermines the stability of African states and addressing the structural causes of terrorism. This new American approach is a boon for Africa, which is plagued by multifaceted crises including rebellions, transnational and local organised crime, and terrorism.

The Central African Republic has been embroiled in conflict since the Seleka armed opposition seized its capital, Bangui. Despite the presence of MINUSCA, it is still struggling to overcome the ravages of violence. Since the fall of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, Libya has been torn between the forces of the national unity government and those of Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar, who controls the east of the country. Sudan and South Sudan are fighting for control of oil-rich border areas. In North Kivu province, the March 23 Movement (M23) of 2012 has taken up arms anew against the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC), which accuses neighbouring Rwanda of supporting it. In the far north of Ethiopia, the loyalist army faces off against the rebels of the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF). Somalia was plagued for decades by tribal violence before succumbing in 2004 to an insurgency led by the Union of Islamic Courts. Al-Shabab jihadist fighters attack Mozambique and threaten the stability of this hydrocarbon-rich country. Boko Haram's terrorist activities in Nigeria's Borno State have spread to the surrounding countries of Cameroon, Niger, and Chad, putting the Lake Chad Basin region in the eye of the jihadist storm. Armed groups affiliated with the Islamic State and al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb have transformed the face of the Sahel to the point where Mali and Niger are now among the countries with the highest terrorism indexes in the world, according to data collected by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism at the University of Maryland. In its 2021 ranking, Burkina Faso stood fourth in the world behind Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia.

In light of the foregoing, it is self-evident that security imperatives must be addressed if the United States is to build a mutually beneficial economic partnership with Africa. To achieve this, the U.S. will rely on two key levers: AFRICOM and the African Standby Force (ASF).

The United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) is the most recent of the operational military command centres set up by the U.S. Department of Defense around the world. The limited geostrategic interests of the United States on the continent doubtless justified placing Africa under the aegis of the United States European Command based in Stuttgart, Germany. This was because African countries have maintained cooperative ties with the former French colonial power, leaving other foreign powers very little scope for military presence. Alain Fogue Tedom has written about the negative view that the United States takes of the former colonial powers' political and economic monopoly over Africa. More specifically, he feels that the geostrategic dimension of Washington's challenge to France's tutelage is unambiguous, especially since free political and economic competition in Africa and elsewhere in the world have been established since the end of the Cold War.

The stance taken by the United States was made even clearer when the historic alliance between France and the United States did not stop President Biden from scuttling a contract for the supply of twelve conventionally powered submarines worth €56 billion, signed between France and Australia in 2016, and negotiating a new deal with Australia for the delivery of nuclear-powered submarines developed using cutting-edge American and British technology.

The United States should take an even bolder and more consistent approach to its new African security strategy by locating AFRICOM in an African country like Senegal. A U.S. command post located closer to the theatres of operation would have the benefit of enhancing the sense of security of both Africans and Americans based in Africa, as well as warding off the threat of terrorism. The Trans-Sahara Counterterrorism Partnership provides a framework for security cooperation with the Maghreb and Sahel countries in the areas of border surveillance, countering the financing of terrorism, and strengthening the operational capacity of African armed forces.

American expertise in international mediation recently triumphed with the historic agreement between Lebanon and Israel on their maritime border dispute, resulting in the sharing of the Qana and Karish gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean. The pacification of the maritime borders shared by the two officially warring countries illustrates American expertise in resolving conflicts such as those in Africa. This diplomatic success coincides with the cessation of hostilities agreement reached in Pretoria between the Ethiopian government and the Tigrayan rebels, thanks to the mediation of the AU representative for the Horn of Africa.

These successes in the midst of a bleak global geopolitical landscape demonstrate that the United States and the AU can bring their weight to bear to end deadly conflicts, find compromises between warring states and set them on the path to lasting peace.

The African Standby Force (ASF) must be part of the new security strategy being developed on the other side of the Atlantic, entering into an operational phase twenty years after its launch and establishing a more appropriate and immediately operational military intervention framework to deal with the many security crises on the African continent, particularly in countries experiencing asymmetric conflicts.

In 2010, Shakira performed the official World Cup anthem 'This Time for Africa' with the Cameroonian band Golden Sounds and the South African band Freshly Ground, highlighting the power of football to unite diverse peoples around a shared interest.

President Obama understood that the new dynamics in Africa were bringing about changes that would shift the major geopolitical balances. Five years after Shakira, he spoke as follows from the rostrum of the African Union: 'I believe Africa’s rise is also important to the entire world. We will not be able to meet the challenges of our time—from ensuring a strong global economy to facing down violent extremism to combating climate change to ending hunger and extreme poverty—without the voices and contributions of one billion Africans. '

The Washington summit will have fulfilled its purpose if the United States comes out of it with a bold resolve to back up the new economic partnership it wants to promote over the next decade—which is shaping up to be a decisive one—with a security strategy that places the African continent and the asymmetrical conflicts that are shaking Libya, the Sahel, and the Lake Chad Basin and threatening the countries of the Gulf of Guinea and southern Africa, squarely in the forefront of its major strategic priorities.

May Allah bless the Africa-USA Summit!

*Amadou Tidiane Cissé

Senior Customs Inspector

DAKAR

Par Hervé BRIAND - Senior Sahel Analyst 

L’opération militaire française "Serval", réclamée par les autorités maliennes en janvier 2013 et jugée « salvatrice », a été un succès incontestable et incontesté, tant sur le plan sécuritaire que sociétal, porteuse alors d’un immense espoir auprès de la population malienne, mais décevant ensuite sur un plan politique.

Mais, l’opération militaire française "Barkhane" qui lui a succédé, si elle a sans doute trop duré sous sa forme actuelle, semble avoir été (injustement) perçue par une partie non négligeable de la population malienne comme une "armée d'occupation". L'erreur serait de ne pas avoir transformé structurellement, dès 2018, "Barkhane" en une nouvelle 3ème opération militaire française, beaucoup plus discrète et axée exclusivement sur un "appui stratégique, technique/logistique et de renseignement militaire" au service des forces armées maliennes.

Mais, il faut, cependant, reconnaître les succès incontestables de l’opération « Barkhane », dont la neutralisation du chef d’AQMI, et rendre hommage aux 59 militaires français morts au Sahel dans la lutte antiterroriste, ce, depuis les neuf ans de présence militaire française.

De nos jours, il est clair qu'à l'heure des réseaux sociaux, très largement relayés au sein des populations sahélo-sahariennes, surtout parmi la jeunesse ouest-africaine, la communication des États concernant leurs activités effectives sur place, notamment celles de la France, est devenue primordiale ! Or, il est souvent perçu par certains locaux que des conceptions occidentales parfois figées, mal adaptées aux réalités locales et souvent déjà trop complexifiées au sein de l'Europe et pour les Européens eux-mêmes, l'étaient bien évidemment encore davantage en terrain difficile qu'est la zone sahélo-saharienne et surtout auprès de ses populations et ses acteurs sécuritaires aux besoins plus immédiats et pragmatiques.

C’est pourquoi, beaucoup d’États africains diversifient aujourd’hui leurs interlocuteurs, leurs conseillers dans les divers domaines jugés sensibles et stratégiques, ainsi que leurs sources d’approvisionnement… S’il ne s'agit pas de se jeter par provocation ou opportunisme dans les bras de la Russie, de nouveaux acteurs apparaissent ou s’affirment désormais : Allemagne, Russie, Turquie, Canada, Chine, Italie, Australie, Belgique…

Dans la zone sahélo-saharienne, il me semble que seuls les trois "pays frères", que sont le Mali et le Niger (avec la problématique Boko Haram/ISWAP en plus), mais aussi le Burkina Faso voisin, ont réellement de nombreux points communs en termes de culture, de langues, d'ethnies et modes de vie, et font face à des conflits de même nature (JNIM/GSIM, EIGS). C'est donc, je pense, une approche sécuritaire, moins globale mais beaucoup plus pragmatique qu'il conviendrait de privilégier aujourd'hui, à savoir une réelle « alliance du Liptako-Gouma », une sorte de "G3 SAHEL", soutenu par un partenariat plus "discret", mieux admise et "intégrée" par les populations locales, sans doute moins coûteux, et finalement plus efficient de l'Occident : cela consisterait en un strict appui discret d'ordres stratégique, technique (formation, renseignement - drones - sources techniques et humaines...), logistique et financier, mais sans présence physique régulière au sol de troupes ou patrouilles militaires occidentales. Les forces armées locales de ce "G3 SAHEL" auraient alors pour vocation d'assurer elles-mêmes les opérations de terrain, en se dotant principalement "d'unités spéciales" très mobiles, composées à la fois de combattants militaires "nomades" locaux aguerris (dont Peulhs et Touaregs...) et de commandos militaires régionaux.

Commandés par des cadres militaires nationaux exclusivement issus des pays du G3, et parfaitement "reconnus" et légitimés par les populations locales concernées, ces "unités nomades G3" pourraient également s'appuyer sur le "Renseignement Nomade" qu'il convient de développer encore davantage, notamment au sein des communautés Peuhles et Touarègues, mais aussi au travers des associations "femmes et enfants" en particulier...

Notons que dans la région de Tillabéri, dans le cadre de l'opération militaire "ALMAHOU", les postes aux frontières bénéficient déjà de cette nouvelle stratégie/approche militaire française et se trouvent ainsi désormais renforcés discrètement au sein de cette zone poreuse dite "des trois frontières" (Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso), avec une rapidité d'intervention sur zone aujourd'hui très largement accrue. Mais, à l’instar des Américains, il s’agirait de faire assurer la sécurité/sûreté sans le clamer haut et fort, mais avec humilité au service des populations et États concernés…

Toutefois aujourd’hui, avec l’officialisation de la « fin de l’opération Barkhane », c’est dorénavant davantage sur le volet du développement économique, social, alimentaire et culturel qu'il conviendrait d'axer prioritairement et avec acharnement la communication des autorités françaises vis à vis de l'ensemble de la zone d'Afrique de l'Ouest (des zones sahélo-sahariennes, des pays du golfe de Guinée jusqu'au Sénégal...).

Les Ambassades, les institutions et les organisations françaises au Sahel devraient se muer en véritable "INDUSTRIE DE LOBBING POUR LE DÉVELOPPEMENT ÉCONOMIQUE" décomplexée, en partenariats commerciaux, financiers, en faveur de projets de développements économiques, alimentaires, énergétiques et culturels en tous genres, entre les acteurs français et africains, et ce, avec une couverture médiatique appropriée : presse, télévision, radio et réseaux sociaux... !

Si on ne répond pas aux aspirations concrètes, immédiates et légitimes de la "rue africaine" (Niamey, Bamako, Ouagadougou...), mais aussi celles des diverses communautés sahélo-sahariennes (Touaregs, Peuhls, Toubous...) et également côtières (Sénégal, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinée...), en terme de développement économique et alimentaire, d'indépendance énergétique et sécuritaire, alors il est à craindre qu'un "TSUNAMI MIGRATOIRE" (qui n'a pas encore commencé...) balaiera l'Europe, et la France en particulier, dans les décennies futures...

Par Hervé Briand - Senior Sahel Analys

(IGPSA) - L’IGPSA vise à promouvoir les approches multilatérales sur les enjeux de paix, de sécurité et de développement sur le continent africain. Après une 1ère édition particulièrement réussie, l’IGPSA tiendra son 2ème webinaire le 29 novembre de 11h00 à 12h30 (UTC+1). Ouvert à tous, il permettra de mieux comprendre l’engagement du Japon en Afrique, ses réalisations et ses spécificités.

Organisé en partenariat avec le Timbuktu Institute, il sera ouvert par M. Osamu IZAWA, ambassadeur du Japon au Sénégal, et réunira trois personnalités dont les parcours et expertises promettent des échanges de haut-niveau :

  • Mme. Sayoko UESU, chercheuse associée au National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS) de Tokyo, spécialiste des questions africaines ;

  • M. Bakary SAMBE, Directeur du Timbuktu Institute-African Center for Peace Studies (Dakar, Niamey) ;

  • M. Giovanni FALEG, responsable de l'analyse et de la recherche sur l'Afrique subsaharienne à l'Institut d'études de sécurité de l'Union européenne (EUISS)

Les discussions seront animées par M. Oumarou BARRY. Journaliste résidant à Tokyo, il a notamment été rédacteur en chef de deux émissions de télévision panafricaines particulièrement suivies : Business Africa et Initiative Africa.

Après une présentation succincte de la politique africaine du Japon, les intervenants partageront leurs points de vue sur ses réalisations et ses singularités.

Leurs interventions reviendront en particulier sur l’action du Premier ministre Shinzo Abe (2012-2020). Son intérêt pour l’Afrique s’est illustré par la délocalisation pour la première fois de la TICAD (Tokyo International Conference on African Development) sur le continent africain, au Kenya en 2016. Ces dernières années, cette grande rencontre internationale annuelle a été marquée par l’implication croissante du secteur privé japonais.

A cette occasion, les intervenants analyseront l’actualité récente de la coopération Japon- Afrique et reviendront sur la TICAD 8, tenue en août 2022 à Tunis, alors que le Sénégal assure la présidence tournante de l’Union Africaine. Le Premier ministre japonais, Fumio Kishida, y a tenu des propos forts, jugeant nécessaire de « remédier à une injustice historique » pour que l'Afrique obtienne un siège permanent au Conseil de sécurité de l'ONU. Le même responsable a ajouté que le Japon poussera dans cette direction quand il y sera un membre non permanent en 2023-2024.

S’agissant de la nouvelle coopération du Japon avec l'Afrique, elle s’organise dorénavant autour de trois grands axes qui sont une accélération de la croissance avec des investissements dans l'économie verte et les startups, une économie résiliente avec un soutien à la production de médicaments et vaccins et la sécurité alimentaire et enfin, la paix et la sécurité en soutenant les médiations et la prévention des conflits. Sa mise en œuvre sera soutenue par l’octroi de 30 milliards de dollars de fonds privés et publics à l'Afrique sur trois ans.

Les discussions se clôtureront par une session de questions réponses entre les intervenants et les participants. Ce webinaire est ouvert à tous. L’organisation invite les intéressés à s’inscrire en envoyant un mail avec pour objet « WEBINAIRE IGPSA Japon » à l’adresse Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots spammeurs. Vous devez activer le JavaScript pour la visualiser..

A propos de l’IGPSA

L’Initiative Globale pour la Paix et la Sécurité en Afrique (IGPSA) vise à promouvoir les approches multilatérales sur les enjeux de paix, de sécurité et de développement sur le continent africain. Se voulant être un trait d’union entre le continent européen et l’Afrique, l’IGPSA s’inscrit dans la dynamique née de l’édition 2021 du Forum international de Dakar sur la Paix et la Sécurité en Afrique et doit permettre de poursuivre et d’approfondir les riches échanges entamés à cette occasion, tant par les responsables politiques que par les experts au profit d’une meilleure compréhension mutuelle.

Tournée vers la jeunesse et les talents, cette Initiative se veut résolument ouverte, inclusive et participative. À travers des publications et des rencontres, l’IGPSA ambitionne d’aborder des sujets stratégiques aussi variés que les questions relatives à l’autonomisation stratégique des pays africains, la consolidation et la coordination des mécanismes de coopération, la promotion des bonnes pratiques en matière de gouvernance et de développement, la lutte contre les nouvelles menaces, notamment la cybercriminalité et la désinformation.

Le lancement de l’Initiative Globale pour la Paix et la Sécurité a été soutenu par l’Union européenne.

Source : Ecofin

 
 
 
The COVID-19 pandemic and its outbreak in Ghana highlighted the multiple roles religious actors can play in crisis management. The pandemic showed that beyond winning souls, shaping morals and preaching the word of God, religious organizations can contribute to policy-decision-making and sensitization to manage life-threatening situations. They exhibited this through collaboration with government and state institutions in planning, sensitizing, and implementing rules and protocols to manage the COVID-19 pandemic in Ghana. Concurrently, the pandemic has demonstrated that religious actors can challenge the authority of governments if their practices contravene established rules and protocols. This policy paper analyzes the specific case of Ghana by drawing future lessons for religious actors, what they can continue to do to further contribute to manage the health crisis, and policy recommendations for government’s action.
 
 
 
 

La scène politique sénégalaise est parfois marquée par des actes de violences qui finissent par poser la question de la liberté d’expression et des opinions, mais également la question du vivre-ensemble dans le cadre d’un engagement citoyen serein.  Ces violences entravent un débat public sain et productif au point de représenter une réelle menace pour le système démocratique. Une situation qui interpelle l’Etat, les acteurs politiques et la société civile sur la nécessité de travailler dans le sens d’une pacification de l’espace politique surtout depuis les émeutes violentes qu’a récemment connues le Sénégal. Des initiatives nationales allant dans ce sens ont été portées par le Cadre Unitaire de l’Islam au Sénégal, le clergé catholique mais aussi les légitimités religieuses et traditionnelles en amont des dernières élections locales. Après Mbour et Tambacounda, Timbuktu Institute en partenariat avec la Fondation Konrad Adenauer vient d’organiser de nouvelles sessions de dialogue dans la région de Sédhiou, au sud du Sénégal, ce 9 novembre 2022.

 

« Nécessité de pacifier l’espace politique sénégalais »

Pour le Timbuktu Institute, cette initiative répond à la nécessité de pacification de l’espace publique avec un programme d’actions à multiples composantes pour, à la fois, mener la réflexion stratégique permettant une anticipation sur les risques de violences politiques et l’identification des acteurs pertinents et de leviers, à même d’atteindre l’objectif de non-violence dans l’espace politique.

Ce partenariat a abouti à l’initiative « Engagement citoyen et prévention de la violence politique » qui comporte une recherche-action et des Sessions de dialogue multi acteurs impliquant les femmes et les jeunes des partis politiques, les acteurs de la société civile, les représentants des forces de sécurité et les leaders religieux de toutes confessions.

 

Une initiative chaleureusement accueillie par les acteurs locaux et les autorités

Les autorités étatiques de même que le Commissaire central de Sédhiou, religieuses dont le Curé et l’Imam de Sédhiou et coutumières de Sédhiou, le Conseil communal de la jeunesse de Sédhiou, les jeunes et les femmes des partis politiques, étaient représentés ; ce qui a valu des débats très interactifs et dans le respect des opinions de chacun.

Au sortir de cette journée de dialogue, tous les participants ont formulé des recommandations et se sont engagés à perpétuer de telles initiatives à travers « la Déclaration de Sédhiou ».  Par cette dernière, l’ensemble des acteurs et participants qui sont de véritables relais communautaires, se sont engagés à œuvrer dans le cadre d’initiatives concertées à la prévention et à la lutte contre la violence politique sous toutes ses formes.

Source : Le Soleil

03/11/2022

 

Avec le 31e Sommet de la Ligue des Etats arabes qui s'est tenu les 1er et 2 novembre à Alger, Dr Bakary Sambe, Directeur du Timbuktu Institute, expert des réseaux transnationaux et spécialiste et observateur averti des relations arabo-africaines, est revenu sur cette organisation. Pour lui, avec l'invitation du Président Macky Sall par la Ligue arabe, on est en train d'assister à un simple retour de l'histoire du Sénégal à sa place et à son leadership historique.

 

 

Alger a accueilli, les 1er et 2 novembre, le 31eSommet de la Ligue des États arabes. Le Chef de l'Etat Macky Sall, Président en exercice de l'Union africaine, a été invité à cette rencontre par son homologue algérien, Abdelmadjid Tebboune. Interrogé par “Le Soleil” sur la signification de cette invitation, Dr. Bakary Sambe, Directeur du Timbuktu Institute, expert des réseaux transnationaux et spécialiste et observateur averti des relations arabo-africaines, explique qu'avec la participation sénégalaise à cette rencontre, « on est en train d'assister à un simple retour de l'histoire et du Sénégal à sa place et à son leadership historique ».

 

Avec ce retour du Sénégal et de l'UA au sommet de la Ligue arabe, Bakary Sambe est d'avis que les choses reviennent à la normale parce qu'en plein cycle de sécheresse au Sahel, alors que les partenaires européens classiques étaient frappés par le choc pétrolier, les pays arabes avaient décidé, au cours du sixième sommet des Chefs d'Etats arabes tenu à Alger (26 au 28 novembre 1973), d'apporter une aide à l'Afrique subsaharienne. Il a mentionné aussi la création de la Badea, du Fonds arabe spécial d'aide à l'Afrique (Fasaa) sans oublier le fait que le conseil de la Ligue arabe de Tunis avait approuvé le principe de la création d'un Fonds arabe d'assistance technique à l'Afrique (Fataa).

 

Bakary Sambe qui a consacré sa thèse de doctorat et quelques ouvrages dont «Islam et diplomatie» (2011), « Contestations islamisées : Le Sénégal entre diplomatie d'influence et islam politique» (2018), aux relations diplomatiques entre le Sénégal et le monde arabe a soutenu que «ce sommet d'Alger a rendu au Sénégal la place qui, historiquement et symboliquement, lui revenait». Il y voit même un symbole parce que suite aux sommets d'Alger et de Tunis, pour la première fois, une conférence ministérielle conjointe arabo-africaine s'était tenue à Dakar du 15 au 22 avril 1976, en vue d'examiner le projet de coopération afro-arabe, son contenu, ses modalités et ses moyens d'action.

 

Retombées de la conférence afro-arabe de 1976 à Dakar

Dr Sambe précise que la tenue de cette conférence ministérielle afro-arabe de 1976 à Dakar fut, à l'époque, la résultante, de négociations entre le Sénégal et des pays arabes comme l'Égypte, l'Arabie Saoudite et le Koweït qui reçurent une visite historique du Président Senghor dans ce sillage. "Il ne faut pas oublier qu'à la suite de cette conférence de Dakar de 1976, il y aura le premier Sommet historique afro-arabe de mars 1977. À l'issue de ce sommet, d'importantes décisions furent prises pour augmenter l'aide publique arabe aux pays africains. Et des efforts ont été consentis par les pays arabes exportateurs de pétrole pour assister les pays africains », indique-t-il. Les surplus financiers ont contribué, à l'époque, à la réalisation de projets dans plusieurs pays africains et, notamment, au Sénégal avec la réalisation des barrages de Diama et de Manantali ainsi que le projet des industries chimiques du Sénégal (Ics).

 

Le Sénégal, « trait d'union entre l'Afrique et le monde arabe »

Quant au présent sommet, le spécialiste estime qu'il permettra aussi de booster la coopération entre l'Afrique et le monde arabe qui sont « anciennes ». « Les relations entre l'Afrique et le monde arabe sont historiquement et géographiquement ancrées. N'oublions pas qu'un arabe sur trois est africain et trois quarts de la superficie du monde arabe se trouve sur le continent africain. La réalité géopolitique avec les réseaux transnationaux et les enjeux sécuritaires et de migration continuent de nous rappeler que le Sahara n'a jamais été une barrière infranchissable, mais une véritable mer intérieure qui a toujours invité à passer d'un rivage à un autre », a expliqué Dr Sambe.

Le professeur Sambe renchérit qu'au moment où l'on annonce la zone de libre-échange continentale et qu'aussi bien l'Afrique que le monde arabe sont dans une dynamique inédite et irréversible de diversification de leurs partenariats, une nouvelle chance s'offre pour les deux ensembles géopolitiques complémentaires à tout point de vue.

"L'entrée en jeu d'un Sénégal présidant l'UA et en tant que trait d'union, continuum socio-historique et géographique entretenant les meilleures relations avec ses pairs africains et ses partenaires arabes, pourrait être un avantage considérable pour propulser ces rapports à leur meilleur niveau jamais atteint”, considère le Directeur du Timbuktu Institute.

Le sommet se tient autour de l'enjeu de la réunification du monde arabe et le Sénégal en tant que pays entretenant de bonnes relations avec toutes les parties peut avoir un rôle important à y jouer. « Le monde arabe, comme tous nos pays, est traversé par des contradictions et des différends qui opposent les membres de la Ligue arabe. Je fais partie de ceux qui croient que le Sénégal, entre autres leviers, premier pays ayant accueilli un sommet de l'Organisation de la conférence islamique (Oci) en Afrique sub-saharienne, pourrait avoir un rôle déterminant dans le raffermissement de ces relations. Notre pays est l'un des rares du monde musulman à pouvoir parler à tous les autres ; c'est d'ailleurs cette posture qui a facilité la présence du Sénégal unanimement acceptée à ce sommet », dit l'observateur du monde arabe.

 

Retour du non-alignement ?

Dr Bakary Sambe voit dans la redynamisation de la coopération entre l'Afrique et le monde arabe la relance du non-alignement dans un monde où la division est exacerbée par le conflit entre la Russie et l'Ukraine. « C'est comme si l'ancien concept de non-alignement était en train d'être revitalisé et correspond parfaitement à l'esprit du tiers-mondisme des années 1950, suite à la fameuse conférence de Bandoeng à l'époque des leaders charismatiques du monde arabe et de l'Afrique comme Nasser et Nkrumah.

Aujourd'hui, c'est une Afrique nouvelle qui rencontre un monde arabe qui s'interroge au moment où la présidence sénégalaise sous l'égide de Macky Sall est en train de réussir le positionnement de l'UA, comme une réalité géopolitique affirmée priorisant les intérêts stratégiques du continent et la diversification des partenariats comme réaffirmé lors du récent Forum de Dakar sur la paix et la sécurité », a souligné Dr Bakary Sambe.

 

 

Oumar KANDE

 

With the 31st summit of the League of Arab States held on November 1 and 2 in Algiers, Dr. Bakary Sambe, Director of the Timbuktu Institute, expert in transnational networks and a specialist and informed observer of Arab-African relations, returned to this organization. For him, with the invitation of President Macky Sall by the Arab League, we are witnessing a simple return of the history of Senegal to its place and its historical leadership.

 

Algiers hosted the 31st Summit of the League of Arab States on November 1 and 2. The Head of State Macky Sall, current Chairman of the African Union, was invited to this meeting by his Algerian counterpart, Abdelmadjid Tebboune. When asked by "Le Soleil" about the significance of this invitation, Dr. Bakary Sambe, Director of the Timbuktu Institute, an expert on transnational networks and an informed observer of Arab-African relations, explained that with Senegal's participation in this meeting, "we are witnessing a simple return of history and Senegal to its place and its historical leadership.

With the return of Senegal and the AU to the Arab League summit, Bakary Sambe believes that things are returning to normal because in the midst of the drought cycle in the Sahel, while the traditional European partners were hit by the oil crisis, the Arab countries had decided, during the sixth summit of Arab Heads of State held in Algiers (26 to 28 November 1973), to provide assistance to sub-Saharan Africa. He also mentioned the creation of Badea, the Special Arab Fund for Aid to Africa (Fasaa) without forgetting the fact that the Council of the Arab League in Tunis had approved the principle of creating an Arab Fund for Technical Assistance to Africa (Fataa).

 

Bakary Sambe, who devoted his doctoral thesis and several books including "Islam and diplomacy" (2011), "Contestations islamisées : Le Sénégal entre diplomatie d'influence et islam politique" (2018), to diplomatic relations between Senegal and the Arab world argued that "this Algiers summit has returned to Senegal the place that historically and symbolically belonged to him." He even sees a symbol because following the summits of Algiers and Tunis, for the first time, a joint Arab-African ministerial conference was held in Dakar from 15 to 22 April 1976, to examine the project of Afro-Arab cooperation, its content, its modalities and its means of action.

 

Impact of the 1976 Afro-Arab Conference in Dakar

Dr. Sambe explains that the holding of this 1976 Afro-Arab ministerial conference in Dakar was, at the time, the result of negotiations between Senegal and Arab countries such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, which received a historic visit from President Senghor in its wake. "We must not forget that following this Dakar conference of 1976, there will be the first historic Afro-Arab Summit of March 1977. At the end of this summit, important decisions were taken to increase Arab public aid to African countries. And efforts were made by Arab oil-exporting countries to assist African countries," he says. The financial surpluses contributed, at the time, to the realization of projects in several African countries and, in particular, in Senegal with the realization of the dams of Diama and Manantali as well as the project of chemical industries of Senegal (Ics).

 

Senegal, a “link between Africa and the Arab world”

As for this summit, the specialist believes that it will also boost cooperation between Africa and the Arab world which are "old". "The relations between Africa and the Arab world are historically and geographically rooted. Let us not forget that one in three Arabs is African and three quarters of the surface area of the Arab world is on the African continent. The geopolitical reality with transnational networks and security and migration issues continue to remind us that the Sahara has never been an impassable barrier, but a real inland sea that has always invited people to move from one shore to another," explained Dr. Sambe.

Professor Sambe added that at a time when the continental free trade area is announced and that both Africa and the Arab world are in an unprecedented and irreversible diversification of their partnerships, a new opportunity is available for the two geopolitical sets complementary in every respect.

"The entry into play of a Senegal presiding over the AU and as a hyphen, socio-historical and geographical continuum maintaining the best relations with its African peers and its Arab partners, could be a considerable advantage to propel these relations to their best level ever," considers the Director of the Timbuktu Institute.

The summit is being held around the issue of reunification of the Arab world and Senegal as a country with good relations with all parties can have an important role to play. "The Arab world, like all our countries, is riddled with contradictions and differences among the members of the Arab League. I am among those who believe that Senegal, among other levers, the first country to host a summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in sub-Saharan Africa, could have a decisive role in strengthening these relations. Our country is one of the few in the Muslim world to be able to talk to all the others; it is this position that facilitated the presence of Senegal unanimously accepted at this summit," says the observer of the Arab world.

 

Return of non-alignment?

Dr. Bakary Sambe sees in the revitalization of cooperation between Africa and the Arab world the revival of non-alignment in a world where division is exacerbated by the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. "It is as if the old concept of non-alignment is being revitalized and corresponds perfectly to the spirit of Third Worldism of the 1950s, following the famous Bandoeng conference at the time of charismatic leaders of the Arab world and Africa like Nasser and Nkrumah.

Today, it is a new Africa that meets an Arab world that is questioning itself at a time when the Senegalese presidency under the aegis of Macky Sall is succeeding in positioning the AU as a geopolitical reality that prioritizes the strategic interests of the continent and the diversification of partnerships as reaffirmed at the recent Dakar Forum on Peace and Security," said Dr. Bakary Sambe.

 

 

Oumar KANDE (Translated from French)

source : Le Soleil

The subject of religion and the behavior of religious actors in the COVID-19 crisis appear at first glance to establish either just marginal issues or factors which have a tendency to to be negative. On the other hand, there is far less public discussion on the strategic role played by religious communities as civil society partners of governments or the World Health Organization, as agencies providing charitable and pastoral assistance, and as a resource for hope and emergency management so as to successfully cope with the pandemic. This study analyzed the ambivalent role of actors in the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria within the framework of a theory-based empirical analysis, presents the most important developments, learning effects and problem areas yet to be addressed and finally, based on this, draws up policy recommendations for action.
 
 

By Bakary Sambe

Timbuktu Institute - November 2022

 

Since 2016, the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) has been conducting a propaganda offensive targeting Southeast Asian Muslims as they recruit Indonesians, Malaysians and Filipinos to join the “war effort” in Iraq and Syria, or to carry out armed jihad in their own region.  Subsequently, a joint war against IS was waged by the Coalition to Defeat ISIS (Global Coalition to Defeat IS). Despite the colossal work that remains to be done in the Middle East to demolish all the cells of the IS and Al-Qaeda. However, attention is turning to the second front in the fight against global terrorism [1] which is South-East Asia.

One of the frontiers of the next round is likely to be Southeast Asia, where Middle Eastern terrorist groups (ISIS al-Qaeda, etc.) have found common cause with separatist movements and Muslim extremist groups in the Philippines, Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia. Certainly, terrorism in South-East Asia is not new. In 1995, Bin Laden cells in Manila plotted the assassination of President Clinton and the Pope and planned to blow up American planes on East Asian routes.

Foreign Terrorist Fighters (FTFs) within Al Qaeda and the Islamic state have been one of the major threats to peace and security in South and Southeast Asia.  Indeed, before the Islamic state, Al-Qaeda had created allies around the world, particularly in Southeast Asian countries (Indonesia, Singapore, Philippines, etc.) through foreign terrorist fighters, who returned to their home countries, when the Islamic state suffered devastating military defeats, losing control of virtually all the territory it once controlled in Iraq and Syria. It is almost certain that such cells will continue to exist in another territory, carrying out the same terrorist acts and activities and violent extremism[2].

In Indonesia,

Cells affiliated with the Jamaah Ansharut Daulah (JAD) and isolated Islamic state-inspired actors continue to target police and other government targets. Although Indonesia is not a member of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS (Coalition to Defeat ISIS), the Indonesian government and Muslim civil society leaders have strongly and repeatedly denounced the IS and have actively promoted the importance of the CVE's efforts to complement CT's law enforcement efforts. While Indonesia's efforts to combat violent extremism have had some success, part of its Islamist community remains committed to militant jihadism. The return from abroad of hundreds of militants linked to the Islamic state means that there is now a greater need than ever for interventions to prevent radicalization - and for programmes to reintegrate militants into society.

As part of institutional cooperation in Southeast Asia, Indonesia is an active member of the Global Counter Terrorism Forum (GCTF) and co-chairs the CVE working group with Australia. The Indonesian, Malaysian and Philippine Armed Forces continued their coordinated patrols in the Sulu and Sulawesi Seas to deter and prevent kidnapping and terrorist transit in their adjacent Exclusive Economic Zones.

In the Philippines,

Terrorists continued to target civilians and security forces with booby traps and small arms, and the emergence of suicide bombings posed new challenges to Philippine security forces. Indeed, there are terrorist groups active in Indonesia and at the same time in the Philippines.  EI-Philippines affiliated groups continue their efforts to recover from battlefield casualties, recruit and train new members, and organize suicide attacks and attacks. EI affiliates in the Philippines include elements of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), Ansar al-Khalifa Philippines (AKP) and the Maute Group. The Philippines remained a destination for FTFs from Indonesia, the Gulf countries, etc. The Philippines remained a destination for FTFs from Indonesia, the Gulf countries, etc.

China and the Philippines

The two countries share broad common interests in non-traditional security issues, and both countries have great potential for cooperation in counter-terrorism. As a major responsible country, when the Philippines suffers terrorist attacks, China has an obligation to provide assistance.

 In 2017 and 2018, China has donated three batches of weapons to the Philippines to help the country fight terrorism. According to Rodrigo Duterte, on improving his country's security, cooperation with China and the suppression of terrorism. "Only China can help us".

As for Singapore, the fight against terrorism still remains a major political priority. Singapore's national counter-terrorism apparatus and its ability to detect, deter and disrupt threats have remained effective. Singapore has been a member of the Coalition to Defeat ISIS (Coalition to Defeat ISIS) since 2014 and extended its support in 2016 beyond military means to include medical teams in Iraq. It has developed a comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy based on global and regional trends. This strategy includes vigilant security measures, regional cooperation (with countries in the South-East Asian region) in law enforcement, efforts to counter radicalization and strategies to prepare the population for possible attacks.

The very productive levels of counter-terrorism cooperation (among the countries of the region) that have developed in recent years are still continuing, as is the increased sharing of information.

 

South-South cooperation against terrorism

The ASEAN-CT initiative aims to enhance cooperation among law enforcement and other relevant authorities of ASEAN member States to combat, prevent and suppress terrorism, terrorist organizations and their associations, disrupt their support networks and hinder their planning of terrorist acts and bring them to justice[3]. One of the most important activities of the ASEAN-ETC programme has been the border security actions, called "Operation Sunbird", carried out in 2015 and 2016, which allowed the screening of passengers and travel documents at airports and border crossings. As a result of the enhanced border presence during Operation Sunbird II in 2016, five separate drug seizures were made at the port of Batam, Indonesia, resulting in the arrest of five people. In line with the counter-terrorism objective of the programme, the operations increased intelligence sharing among member countries in the region and beyond. One specific result was the arrest and deportation from South Korea of two Indonesian nationals suspected of having terrorist links[4].

In the context of preventing radicalization, recruitment and recidivism, ASEAN had an advantage in this fight, as almost all of its member States had considerable expertise in the area of rehabilitation and counter-propaganda. Two examples of such innovative approaches should be mentioned in particular. First, the Singapore Religious Rehabilitation Group (RRG), which actively combats the misperceptions and instrumentalization of Islam by radicals through a grassroots approach. This includes a counselling centre, a smartphone application, publications by religious scholars, conferences and community outreach events[5].

The second initiative is RDC3, the regional digital counter-messaging communication centre recently launched by Malaysia. The centre opposes IS's propaganda and particularly its misuse of the Muslim religion in cyberspace by disseminating content developed in collaboration with the Department of Islamic Development of Malaysia (JAKIM))[6]

For China, terrorism is not a new phenomenon. But it did not receive much attention before the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York, but it showed that no country, no matter how powerful, was immune to terrorism[7]. Certainly, China has a wealth of experience in the fight against terrorism as well as in advanced technologies and military equipment.

Certainly, to address these threats, the governments of Southeast Asian countries have adapted military and security, law enforcement and counter-radicalization efforts. Countries continue to cooperate with other countries in the South, such as China. At the meeting in Beijing on 7 April 2016, China and the countries of South-East Asia agreed to improve their security and counter-terrorism cooperation. In particular, by strengthening multilateral and bilateral cooperation, increasing information exchange, broadening areas of cooperation and building capacity for cooperation in the fight against terrorism, in order to establish a platform for multilateral cooperation in the field of counter-terrorism with regional characteristics to protect individuals in the region and help maintain regional security and stability. The authorities of the South-East Asian countries agreed with the Chinese authorities to commit to further strengthen information exchange and take pragmatic measures in the field of counter-terrorism with China[8]. For the ASEAN countries and China, the fight against terrorism has been and will continue to be one of the most difficult tasks in preserving their respective national security strategies.

 

South-East Asia faces a grim counter-terrorism situation. In recent years, there have been frequent terrorist attacks in Indonesia, Myanmar, Thailand and the Philippines, and China can cooperate more closely with the whole of ASEAN. In 2018, six ASEAN member countries launched the "Our Eyes" intelligence initiative. They have developed a common database of violent extremists. But since most ASEAN countries still lack the capacity to deal independently with terrorist attacks, China can help them by forging cooperation. China also needs the help of Southeast Asian countries, as some extremists from Xinjiang tend to migrate illegally to the Middle East via Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam[9].

 

The experience of South-East Asia shows that South-South cooperation can build on the initiatives of individual countries, but above all on the opportunities to share experiences and good practices

The fact that the terrorist phenomenon is tackled by taking into account both the preventive and the counter-terrorism dimension tells us about the effectiveness of the mixed approach that has long been neglected in the Sahel.

The mutual trust that has facilitated intelligence sharing and established cooperative relations despite the many vested interests between these countries should inspire the Sahel countries. Moreover, the existence of regional and sub-regional frameworks should further promote and facilitate such a strategy.

Taking into account the regional dimension in the elaboration of strategies as well as the definition of community action frameworks seems to be an interesting avenue for West African countries at a time when foreign interventions have shown their limits. This is the price to pay for the re-credibilisation of the fight against terrorism and the adoption of alternative strategies to the all-security approach.

 

[1] Marguerite Borelli, "Counter Terrorist Trends and Analyses", Vol. 9, No. 9 (September 2017), pp. 14-20,  in International Centre for Political Violence and Terrorism Research, available at: https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.2307/26351552

[2]Country Reports on Terrorism 2018, BUREAU OF COUNTERTERRORISM, P. 43. available at: https://www.state.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Country-Reports-on-Terrorism-2018-FINAL.pdf last visit: 23-06-2020

[3] ASEAN comprehensive plan of action on counter terrorism, Endorsed by 7th AMMTC on 17November 2009.

[4]https://www.interpol.int/en/How-we-work/Capacity-building/Capacity-building-projects/Improving-counter-terrorism-skills-in-Southeast-Asia

[5] Religious Rehabilitation Group (RRG). “About RRG.” [date unknown]. available at: https://www.rrg.sg/about-rrg/

[6]Bernama. “Malaysia’s Counter-Messaging Centre combating terrorism, radical activities, says DPM.” New Straits Times. November 8, 2016. Available at: https://www.nst.com.my/news/2016/11/186976/malaysias-counter-messaging-centre-combating-terrorism-radical-activities-says . Last visit: 02-07-2020

[7]https://www.peacepalacelibrary.nl/ebooks/files/304787639.pdf

[8]http://arabic.news.cn/2016-04/08/c_135259378.htm

[9]http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1137572.shtml

Dakar, Senegal – The German Foundation for Africa and partners recently held a conference on strengthening democracy in Africa and the G7 Countries.

The two-day event held on September 26-27 at Germany’s Federal Foreign Office in Berlin was characterized with lively debates on the theme how to deal with the increasing systemic competition and external influence in Africa and what conclusions to draw for German foreign policy.  The conference was jointly organized by German Institute for International and Security Affairs.

Representing Timbuktu Institute of Dakar at the conference, Mrs Adji Awa Samb, Timbuktu’s senior officer responsible for Cooperation and Regional projects had her take during the debate which revolved around questions like - which opportunities and risks does the increasing global systemic competition entails for Africa-Europe relations.

Responding to the question above, Mrs Adji remarked: 

First of all, we must take into account a new fact: Today, the situation has changed and Africa will no longer have only a passive role. For at least three reasons: First, we are in a divided world in which the alignments are both multiple and diffuse.   

Second, we are in a world where the distribution of power is very fragmented with the combined effect of classic powers that are declining, emerging powers that are rising, and a multitude of states that are claiming middle power status.

Therefore, she continued,

we can no longer see this competition as a simple competition between powers. We must take into account this situation which also gives Africa the opportunity to choose and diversify its partners.

According to her, the strong presence of China, the return of Russia, the Gulf States and also Turkey should not be overlooked.

Turning her attention to the other question: how should Germany adjust its communication policy in Africa when it comes to the activities of other external powers?, Mrs Adji highlighted some points.

The situation has really changed, we are in the configuration that allows us to talk about off-shore balancing. This is the mechanism by which the great classical powers ensure that the strategic shift of the African continent has an impact on the balance of power at the international level,

she observed.

In Africa, Germany, especially in the last Merkel years, has freed itself from European tutelage and has asserted itself as a power with its own African policy, particularly in the Sahel. It has played a major role on two levels: militarily alongside Europe, but especially in development. Germany does not suffer from the image of a colonial power in the Sahel. It can continue to emphasize partnership instead of domination,

Mrs. Adji reiterated.

Meanwhile, she went on to look at other question like - What are the implications of the changing global order for Germany's existing instruments and partnerships with African countries and regional organisations?.