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The United States Africa Command And Stability Of African States: Issues And Prospects
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1.0    General Introduction-  -        -        -        -        -        -        -        1

1.1    Background to the Study -   -        -        -        -        -        -        1-5

1.2    Statement of the Research Problem-    -        -        -        -        5-6

1.3    Objectives of the Study-       -        -        -        -        -        -        6-7

1.4    Assumption        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        7

1.5    Significance of the Study     -        -        -        -        -        -        7-8

1.6    Scope of the Study     -        -        -        -        -        -        -        8-9

1.7    Research Methodology        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        9

1.8    Method of Data Collection   -        -        -        -        -        -        10

1.9    Method of data Validation    -        -        -        -        -        -        10

1.10  Weakness of Research Methodology   -        -        -        -        11

1.11  Limitations of the Study-       -        -        -        -        -        -        11-12




20     Literature Review        -        -        -        -        -        -                 13

2.1    Introduction         -        -        -        -        -        -        -                 13

2.2    The Concept of United State African

          Command -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -                 13-15

2.3    The mission of United States African

Command -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -                 15-17

2.4   The Concept of African Stability    -        -        -        -                 18-21

2.5    Review of Related Literature         -        -        -        -        -                 22-25

2.6   Theoretical review        -        -        -        -        -        -                 26-27




3.0    Regional Perspective and Analysis of Issues Concerning

The Operation of AFRICOM on the African Continent -            28

3.1   Introduction         -        -        -        -        -        -        -                  28

3.2    Regional Perspective on the United States

African command        -        -        -        -        -        -                 28-35

3.3   Analysis of Issues Concerning Operation of the

United States African Command  -        -        -        -                  35-45

3.4   The Impact of United States African Command on

 African Stability -        -        -        -        -        -        -                 45-50



4.0   Prospects and Strategies for Regional Collaboration

       on the Operation of AFRICOM        -        -        -        -        -                  51

4.1    Introduction         -        -        -        -        -        -        -                  51    

4.2    Prospects for United States African Command in

           Africa        -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -                  51-53

4.3     Strategies to Mitigate Issues Concerning

          Operations of  AFRICOM     -        -        -        -        -                  53-55




5.0    Conclusion and Recommendations       -        -        -                  56

5.1    Conclusion         -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -                  56-58

5.3    Recommendations      -        -        -        -        -        -                  59

          Bibliography       -        -        -        -        -        -        -                  60-64

          Appendix I -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -                  65

Appendix II         -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -                  66-71

Appendix III        -        -        -        -        -        -        -                  72-75

Bio-Data    -        -        -        -        -        -        -        -                  76



          This research was focused towards 5 objectives. These were to ascertain the objectives of United State African Command (AFRICOM), establish regional perspective on AFRICOM and evaluate the veracity of the issues raised on the operation of the outfit. Other objectives of the research were to explore prospects of collaboration between AFRICOM and African countries and to proffer strategies for mitigating contending issues for enhanced collaboration in furtherance of African stability. The research adopted the descriptive research method to achieve its objective. AFRICOM was discovered to be a US foreign policy initiative aimed at ensuring a stable African environment in support of US interest. Regional perspective on AFRICOM was however discovered to be negative especially towards the basing of US troops on the continent. The issues raised by African states on the operation of AFRICOM were also revealed to be genuine based on US antecedents and current activities. These issues pertained to undermining of sovereignty, increased vulnerability to terrorism, reenactment of cold war scenario and militarization of US-African policy. The research also identified some aspects of AFRICOM structure, mandate and activities which could be inimical to African stability. These were in the area of upsurge in intrastate conflicts, political instability and aggravation of human security issues. Strategies were therefore proffered to mitigate the contending issues in order to enhance collaboration between African states and AFRICOM. This would entail increased advocacy and diplomacy, review of AFRICOM mandate and the consideration of basing alternatives by the US.






            The United States and Africa have a long history of engagements and interactions. This relationship spans the different epochs of African history such as the slave trade, colonialism, neocolonialism, cold war and the prevailing global order. The perceived benefit of the engagements to either party is a subject of debate shaped by the socio-political factors at play during the epochs. In this regard, Tshiterek (2003:81-90), observed that during the colonial era, the African region was ignored and left at the mercy of the European colonial powers by the US.  He further noted that the cold war era was characterized by ideological wars between the US and the defunct Soviet Union with attendant negative consequences for the region The US is also believed to have supported authoritarian regimes in Zaire, Sudan and Liberia contrary to the wishes of the people.  

            Generally, US strategic involvement in African affairs in the post cold war era has been noted to be minimal. Ploch (2008; 12), however stated that the manifest lack of interest in US policy towards Africa changed following the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania and the 20O1 terrorist incident in the US. According to him, the period following the terrorist attacks witnessed a strategic shift in US foreign policy thrust regarding the African region. He further attributed the change in strategic policy to the US GWOT, the drive to secure alternative source of energy and curtailing the rising influence of China in the African region. Consequently, the African region has witnessed increased military, intergovernmental, economic and humanitarian engagements with the US.  In this wise, Diene (2009) in the African Defense Forum Magazine listed some of these engagement to include the AGOWA, PEPFAR and ACOTA. Others are the TSCT, APS and IMET.

            The idea of the US government to float the US African Command (AFRICOM) on 6 February 2007 is therefore perceived as a continuation of its effort to consolidate its activities in the African region, (Ploch 2008:12). According to the AFRICOM official website, the outfit became operational on 1 Oct 2008 and is charged with the responsibility of coordinating military, humanitarian and developmental activities in all African countries except Egypt.  The former US Principal Deputy under Secretary of Defense Policy, WL Sharp in 2007 stated that the creation of AFRICOM implies that traditional developmental activities carried out by agencies like the USAID now comes under the new outfit. Other US military engagements like ACOTA and TSCT, IMET, and APS will also be coordinated by the AFRICOM.  He further described the US AFRICOM as the latest foreign policy initiative of the US DoD that will bring the needed development and stability to the African continent.

          Despite its avowed altruistic intents, the US AFRICOM has been criticized and viewed with suspicion by African leaders and interest groups within the continent since its creation. The outfit has been perceived as a hegemonic tool for protection and propagation of US interest in Africa. Many African leaders have expressed concerns that the presence of US troops on the continent could escalate tensions between African nations and also threaten national sovereignty. The US government has been making concerted efforts to assuage the fears so far expressed on the operation of AFRICOM without much success. The contending issues regarding AFRICOM have so far hindered its smooth take off. This is buttressed by the inability to find a location for AFRICOM headquarters within the African region. According to the US AFRICOM Website, the headquarters of the outfit is at the moment temporarily located in Stuttgart Germany.

            The issues which AFRICOM professes to address in the African continent could be said to be in existence. This is because the African continent is bedeviled with political turmoil, economic instability and general insecurity. The continent has experienced intra-state conflicts in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Sudan and Somalia.  Political crisis have been recorded in Kenya, Niger, Zimbabwe and Cote D ’voire within the last decade. Furthermore, a wave of political unrest which began in Algeria this year is presently engulfing Libya where NATO forces are trying to enforce peace. Gilbert et al (2009:269) also noted that the unstable political situation in the continent is further aggravated by the human security challenges confronting the continent in the areas of poverty, child and maternal mortality, HIV/Aids, unemployment and environmental degradation.

            The gloomy outlook notwithstanding, the African continent has not been enthusiastic in its response to the US AFRICOM initiative despite its professed altruistic intents. This therefore warrants a closer examination of the issues involved. In this regard, this study intends to examine the contending issues in order to unravel or determine their genuineness. The study seeks to establish if the issues raised on AFRICOM are based on US antecedents in the continent or parochial interest of African leaders. The correlation between AFRICOM and stability of African states will also be explored in the study. Prospects for collaboration between African states and AFRICOM as well as strategies to enhance its operations in furtherance of mutual interest are also covered in the study.



            The contemporary strategic environment characterized by revolution in information communication technology has integrated the global economic system and introduced fresh security challenges. In the present dispensation, adverse economic development in one region affects other members of the international community. Furthermore, contemporary threats such as terrorism, piracy and transnational crimes now transcend geographical boundaries necessitating international collaborative efforts to combat them.

            The African continent has long complained of neglect and unfair treatment in the prevailing economic system. The continent is also grappling with human security challenges which require intervention from the international community. The US AFRICOM is one of such foreign policy initiatives designed to assist the African continent in to address political, economical, security challenges. The smooth take off of the command has however been hindered by the level of resistance and suspicion exhibited by African countries towards the outfit.  This study will therefore seek answers to the following questions:

a.       What is the US AFRICOM and its objective?

b.       What is the regional perspective regarding AFRICOM?

c.       What are the contending issues regarding the operation of AFRICOM?

d.      What is the relationship between AFRICOM and African stability?

e.       What are the prospects for collaboration between the US AFRICOM and African countries?



            The broad objective of this study is to examine the impact of US AFRICOM on the stability of African states. The specific objectives of the study are:

  1. To establish the objective for creation of US AFRICOM.
  2. To establish the regional perspective on the operation of AFRICOM.
  3. To scrutinize the contending issues regarding the operation of US AFRICOM.
  4. To establish the impact of US AFRICOM and stability of the African continent
  5.  To explore prospects for collaboration between the US   AFRICOM and African countries.



                   This study is based on the following assumptions:

  1. That AFRICOM was established to protect US interest in Africa.
  2. That regional perspective and attitude towards AFRICOM would be negative.
  3. That African political leaders have the capacity to take a collective stand on the issue of operation of  AFRICOM in the continent.
  4. That AFRICOM as presently constituted would lead to instability on the African continent.
  5. That there are prospects that both the US and the African continent if the concerns expressed by Africans is factored into the operation of the outfit.



                   This study is considered significant as it will contribute to the ongoing debate on the US AFRICOM project and its impact on stability of the African continent. The findings of the research would also contribute to existing literature and conceptualization of future international collective security models hence contributing to efforts towards global security.

                   The study would also assist African leaders in formulation of policies regarding the vexed AFRICOM project as an objective assessment of contending issues would be undertaken. It is also hoped that the data generated and analyzed would spur further researches on US AFRICOM hence contributing to existing literatures and serving as reference materials for scholars on the subject.



           The US AFRICOM project could be said to be a relatively new concept having being conceived just about three (3) years ago. The study would therefore cover relevant issues on the AFRICOM project beginning from when it was conceived in 2007 till date. Particular emphasis would be made to the views of African countries and interest groups within the continent on the operation of the project.

            Since the study seeks to establish possible impacts of US AFRICOM on African stability, the entire continent is therefore taken into focus with special emphasis on the regional groupings. Comparisons were therefore made to the activities of other US commands particularly the CENCOM and EUCOM and their affect on the stability of the regions they operate. The US CENCOM and EUCOM were chosen because of their traditional relationship with the African continent being the precursors of AFRICOM. Their areas of responsibility also cover Europe which experienced conflicts (former Eastern bloc) and the Middle East where issues of oil politics, terrorism and conflicts are prevalent. These are some of the issues AFRICOM professes to tackle in Africa.



            The study utilized the descriptive research methodology using the casual comparative research design (ex-post factor)   to seek answers to its research objectives.  According to Olayiwola (2007), the casual comparative research design is a retrospective study of the relationship between a naturally occurring event the independent variable which in this study is AFRICOM and its outcome the dependent variable which is African Stability.  Consequently, this study will draw inferences from the operations of other US military commands and their impacts on the stability of the regions which they are situated to establish the impact of AFRICOM on African stability.



            The study utilized primary and secondary sources extensively to collect information and data used in the research. The primary data   were sourced through interviews with the Nigerian military chiefs and officials of the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution Abuja. The secondary data were sourced from the internet, journals, newspaper publications, government publications and other electronic data.

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