At the heart of South Sudan’s descent into chaos is a failed effort at security sector reform. When Sudan’s long civil war ended in 2005, the U.S. – along with other donors – poured money and expertise in trying to transform the guerrilla Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) into a ...

The devastating clashes that took place in South Sudan’s capital Juba between July 7 and 11 left hundreds dead and forced thousands to flee their homes. It has also left a city on edge, as security continues to be fragile and livelihoods shattered. It has worsened the economic situation of ...

On May 18, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta approved the Private Security Regulation Bill, an act which is heralding in a new dawn for the private security industry in the country. The Bill, now an Act of Parliament, will see the formation of the Private Security Regulatory Authority, under the Ministry ...

Terrorist groups like al-Shabaab, ethnic violence, petty criminals, and corruption threaten Kenya’s security. The East African country has relied heavily on an unregulated and partially corrupt private sector to maintain stability. The industry employs more than 400,000 men and women who act as guards for homes, compounds, malls, airports, and ...

Kenya’s new Private Security Regulation Act will regulate the private security industry and allow more cooperation between the private sector and the government on national security. The Cipher Brief spoke with the Amar Taylor, Director of AUA Industria Limited, a private security company in Kenya, about implications of the new ...

The current turmoil within Burundi, a tiny landlocked country in the middle of Africa with a population of nearly 11 million, poses a threat to regional peace and security and could hinder East African Community (EAC) political and economic integration. The fighting stems from Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision last ...

When President of the Burundian Senate Révérien Ndikuriyo reportedly said this fall, “on this issue, you have to pulverize, you have to exterminate – these people are only good for dying. I give you this order, go!” parallels were immediately drawn to 1994 Rwanda, where targeted Tutsis were referred to ...

Some far-away observers have ominously warned that my country, Burundi, is on the brink of a genocidal ethnic conflict like the one that plagued our neighbor, Rwanda, two decades ago. While it is true that civil unrest and accompanying violence have become prevalent in the past year, Burundi's problems are ...

Terrorism has emerged as a global threat to security. We might not be able to fully grasp the complexity of the matter until we look at it on a global scale. Belgium is the latest country in Europe to be hit by cowardly acts of terror. The private security industry ...

April 2 marked one year since the Somali terrorist group al-Shabaab attacked the Garissa University in Kenya and killed 148 people, galvanizing Kenya to intensify its counterterrorism efforts. Yet al-Shabaab’s operational capacities and intimidation power have grown in the past year. Many of Kenya’s counterterrorism policies have been counterproductive, and ...

One year after the April 2015 attack that left 148 people dead at a university in Garissa, Kenya, a combination of forces is strengthening the militant Islamist organization that carried out the attack, al-Shabaab. The al-Qaeda-affiliated group came to prominence in neighboring Somalia in 2006 after the collapse of the ...

On March 7, 2015, Boko Haram pledged allegiance to ISIS.  Nearly a year later, has either of these terrorist groups gained from this partnership? For ISIS, the answer is undoubtedly yes.  Expanding its reach helps ISIS demonstrate in real terms that it is achieving its goal of creating a caliphate ...

Nearly one year since Boko Haram pledged its allegiance to ISIS, its threat to Nigeria has changed, though still remains.  “Clearly, the snake has been injured and weakened, but not killed or defanged,”  Ona Ekhomu, President of the Association of Industrial Security and Safety Operators of Nigeria (AISSON), told The ...

The Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC) was established on May 22,1964 through the Fort Lamy (now N’Djamena) Convention to ensure equitable and sustainable management of Lake Chad, while preserving the ecosystem and promoting sub-regional integration, peace, and security in the basin.  In the last decade, the LCBC’s member states—Cameroon, Chad, ...

The lack of good governance and the spread of terrorism seem to go hand in hand.   That is quite apparent in East Africa.  Just last month, al Qaeda’s affiliate, al Shabaab, attacked an African Union base in Southwest Somalia, the third forward operating base that al Shabaab has overrun in ...

Long before 9/11, Washington regarded East Africa as a fertile playing ground for terrorists. Osama bin Laden spent half a decade in the Sudan during the 1990s, and the 1998 embassy bombings in Tanzania and Kenya highlighted the vulnerability of American targets in the region. But anarchic Somalia, whose government ...

Al Qaeda and the Islamic State thrive in lawless and ungoverned spaces where there is no rule of law to keep them in check.  Al Qaeda’s home base in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) is the epitome of such a place, but the tide there has been turning against ...

Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s January 1 announcement that he will stand for a third term following the December 2015 constitutional referendum, thereby ending the two-term limit, was expected. But what does it mean for Rwanda’s future? Some observers say that voters want continuity. Rwandans have certainly benefited from the country’s ...

Since the end of apartheid in 1994, South Africa has achieved much: over 3.5 million homes have been built for those with low-incomes, millions have benefitted from the provision of electricity, and a sophisticated social grant system benefitting 15 million people has reduced the number of people facing absolute poverty. ...

Since Somalia’s independence in 1960, its relationship with the U.S. has been—for lack of a better metaphor—on a roller coaster that travels up and down dangerous steeps and performs sudden inversions that turn everything upside down. In other words, due to lack of formal and sustainable policy toward Somalia, the ...

Historically, Sub-Saharan Africa has been most known for poverty, hunger, corruption, and violence.  Alongside this message, the image of a rising, or aspiring, Africa has recently emerged, as many Sub-Saharan African countries are becoming known for their vast resources and growing business opportunities.  How did this continent, once known primarily ...

Today, the Gulf of Guinea region is simultaneously the major source of revenue for the development of the states of the region and a big source of economic opportunity for the partners conducting industrial activities. The region covers an extension of more than six thousand kilometers, starting from the Senegal ...

Although piracy in the Gulf of Aden attracted global attention and efforts to combat the threat, a similar and growing problem in the Gulf of Guinea—off the coast of West Africa—is being largely ignored.  Dr. Assis Malaquias, the Academic Chair for Defense Economics at the National Defense University’s Africa Center ...

Gerry Northwood OBE is applying his experience as a Captain in the Royal Navy to his new role as the Chief Operating Officer of Maritime Asset Security & Training Ltd to ensure his client’s safety when operating in the maritime realm.  Northwood told The Cipher Brief that private companies, like ...

The sea lanes of the Gulf of Guinea (GoG) are endowed with valuable resources and are an important artery of global trade. It connects maritime traffic from multiple continents due to its central location, particularly its proximity to Europe and America. Historically, the geostrategic importance of the GoG made it ...

Less than a month after the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris, leaders from 150 nations have convened in the French capital to discuss ways to reduce the effects of climate change on a global scale. The conference is the largest gathering ever of world leaders. The goal of the historic, ...

One of the critical adverse effects of climate change is the impact it will have on water in terms of both quantity and quality. Marcus King, a former negotiator for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, told The Cipher Brief, competition for water resources is likely to lead to ...

World political leaders have gathered in Paris this week to negotiate a new universal climate change agreement. There is a need for unified commitment from national governments to cut greenhouse emissions to avoid the catastrophic effects of global warming and climate change. According to the Fifth Assessment Report by the ...

In 2014, 19.3 million people were forced to leave their houses and were displaced within their countries due mostly to floods and storms but also to earthquakes and volcano eruptions—almost twice as many as those newly displaced by violent conflicts. Evidence shows that climate change is leading to human mobility ...

Last month, al-Shabaab, an al-Qaeda affiliate based in the Horn of Africa, released a recruitment video showcasing its appetite for poaching. In the video, al-Shabaab members boasted that they don't need hunting permits, proclaimed that jihad is the “tourism of the ummah (nation),” and then proceeded to kill and mutilate ...

“I’m sorry, but I don’t care if Dumbo takes one to the head,” said one senior European law enforcement official to a colleague at an international meeting on transnational organized crime earlier this year. Clearly, not everyone cares about the perils of one of the world’s most iconic creatures, but ...

Nir Kalron, a former Israeli commando and the Chief Executive of Maisha Consulting Ltd., voiced concern over the poaching problem and explained that terrorist organizations play a role in committing these environmental crimes. Furthermore, Kalron told The Cipher Brief that there is room for the private sector to become involved ...

Much has been written about the connection between the illegal ivory trade and the Somali al-Qaeda franchise, al-Shabaab. Some experts claim that a substantial amount of al-Shabaab’s funding is derived from the slaughter of East Africa’s elephants, while others say conservationists are hyping up such claims in order to raise ...

At the November 2015 meeting of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, China’s “open door” and “going out” policy, first declared in the late 1970s, was reaffirmed. Since its introduction and implementation, the policy has had a significant impact for China and the world. Today, China has become ...

As Director of the China Africa Research Initiative at Johns Hopkins University SAIS, Deborah Bräutigam has written extensively about the Chinese-African relationship.   Bräutigam tells The Cipher Brief why she thinks China’s involvement in Africa has had a positive economic impact. The Cipher Brief: We want to begin by setting the ...

One concern about the increased Chinese business presence in Africa is that it is forcing opportunities away from U.S. businesses.  Stephen Hayes, President and CEO of the Corporate Council on Africa, explained to The Cipher Brief that there are opportunities for both, but that U.S. businesses have a lot to ...

Chinese and Western interests in Africa—in other words, what these countries want from Africa rather than what they can do for Africa—are surprisingly similar.  They all want access to African raw materials, the political support in international fora of as many as possible of Africa’s 54 countries, and the ability ...

Last month, The Cipher Brief explored the rise of mobile technology in Africa.  To continue the conversation, TCB spoke with Tomi Ahonen, a leading consultant in mobile and former Nokia executive, to discuss his impressions of the African mobile industry.  The Cipher Brief: How would you assess the growth of ...

As the military campaign to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIS continues to dominate U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, there is also an effort to disrupt and eliminate the terrorist group’s financial capacity. Terrorist financing networks are complex and intricate. Groups pull together funds from a variety of sources ...

For decades, belligerent groups have financed their operations by tapping into a variety of locally available economies, including illegal ones. The Shining Path in Peru was among the first groups to tax drug cultivation and smuggling. The Khmer Rouge in Cambodia prolonged its life by being heavily involved in logging. ...

The Somalia based terror group al-Shabaab has “diversified its economy” to ensure a constant income, from kidnapping for ransom and confiscating food and aid sent to rural populations, to forcing households to have expatriate family members send remittances from abroad to al-Shabaab’s coffers.  Some of the group’s most notable financial ...

In mid-October, the UN Monitoring Group on Somalia and Eritrea published its latest report confirming that despite years of effort and the recent territorial gains that AMISOM (the African Union’s mission in Somalia) and the Somali government have made against al-Shabaab, the group continues to garner the finances it needs ...

South Africa has come a long way since 1994, when the country was on a knife’s edge, and it seemed civil war was imminent. With strong leadership by Nelson Mandela, the transition was relatively peaceful, and political violence reduced substantially during the first years of democracy.  Indeed, since the birth ...

CSS Tactical (Pty) Ltd, a security company in Johannesburg, South Africa, takes a community policing approach to crime prevention.  CEO Ricky Croock discussed with The Cipher Brief the biggest security concerns to businesses operating in South Africa and how technology and manpower can help confront the growing crime threat.  The ...

Ambassador John Campbell served as a Foreign Service Officer in South Africa during the transition from apartheid to majority rule.  He told The Cipher Brief that South Africa has undergone immense changes, but more needs to be done to reduce poverty which has led to a recent spike in crime ...

Illovo Sugar Limited, Africa’s biggest sugar producer, exports raw and refined sugar globally.  After crime and conflict in South Africa over land ownership affected business operations, Illovo South Africa began working on redistributing land to local farmers, well before the government implemented such a policy.  Chris Fitz-Gerald, Illovo’s Communication Manager, ...

The Cipher Brief interviewed Robin Miller, who advises firms on strategy and policy dedicated to global innovation as an Associate Partner at Dalberg Global Development Advisors.  Miller explained what conditions in Sub-Saharan Africa have allowed for the rapid growth in information and communications technology, and what the outlook is for ...

Africa faces some unique challenges pertaining to the security of mobile communications. A common misconception is that African networks and Africans themselves are not high value targets, and that they’re not on the radar of any of the major Advanced Persistent Threats (APTs) or crime rings.   This is unfortunately not ...

The Cipher Brief spoke with Laurent Elder, leader of the Information and Networks program at the Canadian International Development Research Centre (IDRC), about opportunities and challenges for Western businesses looking to enter the mobile technology industry in Africa.  Elder advises harnessing and scaling the already existing creativity and skills in ...

If we begin with the idea that African societies themselves are mobile, it is not a real surprise that mobile communications technologies have been easily adopted. The question is not if Africans can afford a telephone, but why everyone does not have one. Communication is of crucial importance in societies ...