Tag Archives: colonization Africa

Which States Meddle in African Countries and Why

Negroland and_Guinea with the European Settlements 1736

External [states]…often come with predefined programmes and they tend to interfere when things do not develop as they would like to see it….Analysis of the security activities of seven major actors in Africa—China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, the United States, the European Union and the United Nations—shows an increasing use of multilateral approaches, support for the ‘Africanization’ of African security, and the privatization of external security support. These are the main findings of a new SIPRI monograph edited by Olawale Ismail and Elisabeth Sköns and supported by the Open Society Foundation.

Data on Chinese security activities in Africa are difficult to obtain. UN data on peace operations show a strong growth in Chinese contributions to UN peace operations in Africa since 2000. SIPRI data on transfers of major weapons show that China’s arms transfers have focused on a few large deliveries to 2–3 countries at a time (e.g. Namibia, Sudan and Zimbabwe in 2004-2008; and Tanzania, Nigeria and Ghana in 2009–13) and have increased significantly since the early 2000s…. China’s arms sales to some  countries, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Sudan and Zimbabwe, have come under scrutiny from human rights advocacy groups and Western governments…

France has a long-term engagement in African security affairs, especially in the countries it previously colonized.…  France still retains significant military capacities in sub-Saharan Africa. It is a major contributor of troops and logistical support for military operations in Africa and a trainer of African military and security forces. Rather than renouncing its role as a key actor in Africa’s security, France has found alternative and more cost-effective ways to remain influential.

Russian security-related activities in sub-Saharan Africa seem to have intensified in recent
years. These include arms transfers, military training, peacekeeping and anti-piracy
operations, and are primarily undertaken in areas that developed strong links with the
Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s (i.e. the Horn of Africa and southern Africa).
However, there are also signs of intensified security relations with states across subSaharan Africa that have relations with Russian firms involved in mineral exploration and
exploitation.  Russia is the largest supplier of major weapons to sub-Saharan Africa apart from South Africa, accounting for 30 per cent of the total in 2009-2013.

British security activities in Africa have been placed within a security and development framework and pursued at arms length: the UK has provided training for African forces and support for security sector reform (SSR) and peacebuilding efforts, while committing few troops to peace operations.  The main exception to direct British military involvement in Africa during the 2000s is the UK’s bilateral intervention in Sierra Leone in 2000, which involved a total of 2500 British troops, backed by a naval force. The UK has also participated in EU NAVFOR, the
multilateral anti-piracy operation that was launched under the auspices of the EU in 2008.
While the SSR agenda is relatively new, British involvement in training African armed
forces has been ongoing since the colonial era.

US policies  have included the initiation of counter-terrorism programmes in east Africa and the Sahel in 2001 and of maritime security programmes in east and west Africa during the 2000s; the establishment of a military base in Djibouti in 2002 and the gradual implementation since the early 2000s of a basing system providing access to African military facilities.  The increased US strategic view of Africa is reflected in the establishment in 2008 of AFRICOM, a separate unified military command for Africa,…

Excerpts from SECURITY ACTIVITIES OF EXTERNAL ACTORS IN AFRICA, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Nov. 25, 2014

United States Wars in Africa: colonization and its logistics

SOCAFRICA_Logo.  Image from wikipedia

US Army Africa Command (Africom) wants private contractors to move military equipment and supplies from the US to Egypt and 55 other countries within its Area of Responsibility (AOR) starting this month (Sept. 2013).  This comes hard on the heels of a transport contract awarded by the US Army’s Transport Command (US-TRANSCOM) to Berry Aviation to provide to provide air transport service in support of operations in western and central Africa. This contract is reportedly worth $49 million.

A solicitation notice issued by Africom Surface Distribution Services (ASDS) from its contracting office in Vincenza, Italy, on August 5 seeks contractors who will provide “transportation services of intra-theatre cargo within the Africom Area of Responsibility (AOR) and Egypt.”  The solicitation adds: “The contractor shall provide all necessary resources including logistics support and management to perform surface transport and distribution of general cargo within all fifty five (55) nations of the Africom AOR and Egypt.  In the solicitation document, Africom says materials to be transported, “although normally general in nature will not include sensitive cargo but may include hazardous materials.”  The solicitation notice adds contractors will not be required to transport classified equipment and materials, gunpowder, ammunition or military weapons and explosives.  It also states the successful contractors will not be required to move military tanks, self-propelled armoured combat vehicles with weapons, aircraft and spacecraft including satellites, radar or radio devices for remote control of weapons and equipment.

These developments come when at least one American military watcher, Nick Turse of TomDispatch.com, maintains Africom is involved in the A to Z of Africa.  “They’re involved in Algeria and Angola, Benin and Botswana, Burkina Faso and Burundi, Cameroon and the Cape Verde Islands. And that’s just the ABCs of the situation. Skip to the end of the alphabet and the story remains the same: Senegal and the Seychelles, Togo and Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia. From north to south, east to west, the Horn of Africa to the Sahel, the heart of the continent to the islands off its coasts, the US military is at work. Base construction, security co-operation engagements, training exercises, advisory deployments, special operations missions and a growing logistics network, all undeniable evidence of expansion—except at US Africa Command,” he wrote

Another solicitation notice (HTC711-13-R-R016) issued in July seeks dedicated fixed wing service for the deployment and extraction of US military personnel involved in operations in the central African region.  It specifies contractors must be able to transport personnel and willing to carry hazardous cargo including ammunitions for small arms, signal flares, smoke grenades, blasting caps, rockets, mines and explosive charges in the central African theatre of operations. “The contractor will be asked to routinely take off and land on improved and unimproved dirt airfields of a minimum of 1 800 feet in length to support resupply and personnel transportation requirements,” part of the solicitation note reads.  It said routine locations involved in the operations could include airfields such as Entebbe in Uganda, Obo and Djema in the Central African Republic. The operations will also support the training of counter-narcotics law enforcement agencies from Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Tanzania, Niger, South Africa, Burkina Faso, Uganda, Togo, Guinea and Mali.

Apart from these developments the US Military has been supporting construction all over Africa for its allies.  A report by Hugh Denny of the Army Corps of Engineers issued earlier this year references 79 such projects in 33 countries between 2011 and 2013 including Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, Cote D’Ivoire, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tunisia, The Gambia, Togo, Uganda, and Zambia with a reported price tag of $48 million.

In addition to creating or maintaining bases and engaging in military construction across the continent, the US is involved in near constant training and advisory missions. According to Davis, the command is slated to carry out 14 major bilateral and multilateral exercises by the end of this year. These include Saharan Express 2013, which brought together forces from Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Liberia, Mauritania, Morocco, Senegal, and Sierra Leone, among other nations, for maritime security training; Obangame Express 2013, a counter-piracy exercise involving the armed forces of among others Benin, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, São Tomé and Príncipe, and Togo; and Africa Endeavour 2013, in which the militaries of Djibouti, Burundi, Cote d’Ivoire, Zambia, and 34 other African nations took part.

And it’s not only on land and in the air that US forces are making their presence felt more. The Defense Logistics Agency is preparing to buy 65 000 metric tonnes of marine gas oil for Africom operations.

Written by Oscar Nkala and Kim Helfrich, US Army looking to contractors for African operations, defenceWeb. com  Sept. 17, 2013

See also Drone War in Africa (1), Drone War in Africa, US Trains Uganda Military