Africans struggling to maintain territorial integrity
The latest report from Think Security Africa is the organisation’s fifth annual review on security in Africa suggests structural challenges are reaching a crisis point.
The report assessed changes in Africa’s security situation between 2013 and 2014 in three main categories: (1) Challenges impacting the national chain of command, (2) Maintaining territorial integrity, and (3) Societal management.
The key findings of the report, which use graphs, infographics and maps as visual aids, is that African countries are increasingly struggling to maintain territorial integrity. In 2014, ten African governments were competing with non-state groups for territorial control, which represents more than a 50% increase from last year. What has made the problem worse in 2014 is that non-state groups are no longer making demands, they are just going ahead and establishing fiefdoms, indicative of a decline of governmental capacity vis-à-vis non-state actors.
There was also a substantial rise in the number of countries impacted by border and maritime security challenges, indicative of a growing structural problem that is regional in scope. Although the report noted a decrease in the number of countries experiencing challenges in relation to managing national chains of command and society, the sharp decline in the overall ability of African government’s to maintain territorial integrity offset improvements in those areas.
The result was a sharp rise in the number of countries impacted by conflict. Between 2013 and 2014 the number of African governments impacted by serious conflict rose from seven to ten.
“The key to improving security in Africa, and improving the ability of governments to maintain territorial integrity, is to ensure that improvements in the number of countries impacted by serious chain of command-related challenges are sustained in 2015.
However, with elections in several fragile states due to occur this year, this is going to be difficult,” said Adunola Abiola, founder of Think Security Africa.