Peace and security implications of an increased American military presence in Africa: The case of the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) (2007 – 2016).
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This study analyses the peace and security implications of an American military presence in Africa with particular focus on the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM). The study sought to identify the rationale for AFRICOM’s establishment, unpack the reasons and strategies used by America in penetrating the African continent, examine AFRICOM’s effectiveness in enhancing regional peace and security in Africa and analyses the challenges and implications of US operations in Africa. The problem was that AFRICOM was created by the United States of America (US) without consulting any African state. This raised a lot of suspicion about the US motive since the relationship between the US and African states had previously been one where the US was associated with the assassination of African government leaders, the violent and illegal removal of African governments, the support for opposition parties at the expense of the ruling parties in Africa and interference in African governance issues. The study utilises qualitative methodology with the use of documentary search and indepth interviews with key informants. The study is based on the power theory with particular emphasis on smart power. Findings show that despite its military might, the US opted to use all its smart power tools at its disposal and these included the military, civilians and diplomacy to ensure its entry and acceptance in Africa. This resulted in the creation of a unified force called AFRICOM whose structure includes the military, civilians and diplomats. It is headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany and is commanded by a military general. Its primary occupation is to protect the US interests in Africa and these include the fight against terrorism, ensure the safety of Americans in Africa, to guarantee the safe exploitation and repatriation to the US of African human and natural resources and to counter the influence of China in Africa. Findings also showed that the US is making a positive impact in assisting African governments in the form of humanitarian aid, drought relief, fight against diseases such as Ebola and HIV and AIDS, military hardware and monetary donations and training exercises. This positive impact is however, overshadowed by the negative peace and security implications of hosting AFRICOM that include an increase in terrorist activities, political interference, a rise in insecurity of African workers due to company closures and a gradual dependence by African militaries on US assistance. The study also highlights that despite AFRICOM making inroads in its being established in Africa, the African people and their governments would rather work with the US from a distance. Generally, the study indicates that the hosting of AFRICOM on African soil has negative implications on African peace and security. It is therefore recommended that African states should speak with one voice in their dealings with the international world, the US should try to understand issues from an African perspective before prescribing a solution to a problem and that African states should avoid hosting the military component of AFRICOM.
Additional Citation InformationMupiwani, T. (2016). Peace and security implications of an increased American military presence in Africa: The case of the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) (2007 – 2016). (Unpublished masters thesis). University of Zimbabwe.
University of Zimbabwe
United States Africa Command (AFRICOM)
United States International Policy
UNited States Policy-Africa