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Geopolitics beyond Washington? Africa’s alternative security and development partnerships’

Contribution by Josephine Osikena

The US Government launched Africa Command (AFRICOM) on 1 October 2008. But how relevant is AFRICOM for Africans and Africa? To what extent is Africa’s response to AFRICOM and broader US strategic interests, influenced and challenged by Africa’s alliances with new global centres of power beyond Washington, who have competing motives and approaches to development and security? What are the implications of all this for US policy-makers?

This new article by FPC Democracy and Development director Josephine Osikena, published in ‘US Strategy in Africa: Africom, Terrorism and Security Challenges’ edited by Prof David J Francis of Bradford University, explores the challenges associated with AFRICOM’s predominant focus on the militarisation of African security, by surveying examples of African partnerships with non-OECD actors, including: Brazil in the sphere of social development; India in terms of self-determination, sovereignty and global governance; China with regard to economic growth, particularly in the areas of commodities and infrastructural development; and finally, the emerging role that Africa has begun to play regarding food security in the Middle East.

In conclusion, the article raises a number of questions for US policymakers to consider, including: how, in a changing world with the rise of new centres of power, might US-Africa policy better connect with African people and African governments? How might a more informed and coherent US approach better serve Africa’s own development and security agendas, as well as secure strategic US interests on the continent? And, indeed, it asks if this is even possible.

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