By Ogova Ondego
Published January 20, 2015
African countries are increasingly struggling to maintain territorial integrity.
Expressing concern over what it describes as “sharp decline in the overall ability of African governments to maintain territorial integrity”, Think Security Africa (TSA), a United Kingdom-based think tank specialising in security issues in Africa, says 10 African governments were in 2014 competing with non-state groups for territorial control. This, the organisation says in its fifth annual review on security in Africa report that uses graphs, infographics and maps as visual aids, represents more than a 50% increase from 2013.
“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,” the report released in London, England, on January 19, 2015 says. It notes that “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.”
TSA say this inability by African governments led to “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.”
And what antidote does TSA prescribe?
“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,” Adunola Abiola, founder of TSA, says but hastens to add that achieving this is going to be a Herculean task with general elections in several fragile states due to occur in 2015.
TSA, that was founded in 2009 to forecast security-related trends in Africa “with a view to preserving lives and development ecosystems”, assesses the changes in Africa’s security situation between 2013 and 2014 in three main categories—Challenges impacting the national chain of command, Maintaining territorial integrity, Societal management.