The changing international order and great upsurge of foreign interest in Africa have significantly altered the continent’s political and economic landscape. Africa has become the terrain for global competition between the United States, Europe, and China, with new external players including India and Russia. There is an emerging consensus in the United States and Europe that the presence of China and Russia in Africa challenges Western political, economic, and security interests. However, these perceptions ignore the fact that various African states are not helpless “pawns” or victims of great power competition, with many ruling elites in Africa attempting to make use of this external environment to gain and consolidate power.
This introductory chapter considers four crucial political issues within the scope of conceptions regarding Africa’s “agency” and “extraversion.” The first section of this chapter investigates the problems of “state-building” and “national integration” in Africa. Several case studies, such as those of Liberia and Nigeria, illustrate the structural constraints and limited options for enhancing state-building in Africa that are the result of historical, political, and economic factors. The UN and other international actors have been assisting African countries in state-building as part of post-conflict international peacekeeping operations in Africa since the 1990s. The section also articulates why most of these operations fail to secure peace and political stability by closely examining the actions of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
Despite the diversity and differences of political and economic situations in Africa, a broad trend of “democratic backsliding” has been seen in various African states since the mid-2000s. Thus, section two investigates the impact of external actors on the transformation of political regimes and legal institutions. Also since the mid-2000s, Africa has experienced a substantial increase in the number of internal conflicts and acts of terrorism. One crucial phenomenon behind this increase is the lack of compliance with peace agreements between conflicting parties, with 90% of the current internal conflicts in Africa being recurrences of earlier internal conflicts. Section three, therefore, focuses on conflict resolution and international peace-building in Africa and articulates the problems and structural constraints involved in the currently used approaches.
Section four of this chapter provides an overview of the contemporary relationship between Africa, Russia, and China. It also illustrates that African states have made adjustments to the changing nature of Africa’s regional order while attempting to utilize the current political situations in desirable ways. Ultimately, Africa’s international relations will be subject to the choices of African states, not to those of external powers.
Between 1989 and 2003, Liberia underwent a devastating civil war. The aim of this article is to provide a panoramic analysis of how the ethnic rivalry known as the “Mandingo Question” in Liberia has historically transformed before, during and after conflict. There are approximately 16 ethnic groups in Liberia, excluding the settlers such as the Americo-Liberians and foreigners such as the Lebanese. Mandingo people are mainly a Muslim ethnic group that played an important role in trans-Saharan trade and remain one of major ethnic groups in Mali and Guinea. However, they are the latest group to have migrated to present-day Liberia in the 18th century and are an ethnoreligious minority in the country. The Mandingo in Liberia have been frequently subjected to hatred and discrimination, being widely perceived as “foreigners from Guinea”. Prior to the civil war, the Americo-Liberian and Samuel Doe regimes developed close cooperative ties with the Mandingo to take advantage of their economic power and support. Despite this, which may be summed up in a single phrase as “cooperation with those in power”, the fact that the Mandingo formed close ties with the Doe administration in the 1980s, which blatantly engaged in the political use of ethnic identity, mired the “Mandingo Question” with deeper antagonism than ever before. During the conflict, the “Mandingo Question” was more intensified. A number of armed groups were formed on the basis of ethnic identity, and combatants of the Mandingo and other ethnic groups such as the Gio/Mano fought against each other. The Liberian civil war was not a so-called “ethnic conflict”, but the ethnic tensions which had been strongly politicised by the Doe administration prior to the outbreak of the conflict functioned powerfully as a “logic of war”. After the conflict, many land-related disputes occurred in Nimba County, particularly at Ganta, a city in the north-western region of the county. The Mandingo were not always victims but sometimes perpetrators in the land disputes that occurred in the post-conflict Ganta. The land disputes that the Mandingo are involved there are no longer conflicts simply involving the land rights of individuals or families, it is rather caught in the larger context of the “Mandingo Question”, which has been historically constructed and deeply politicised. Although the conflict in Liberia came to an end in 2003, the “Mandingo Question” involving the land disputes in Ganta, Nimba County, can be seen as one of the most difficult problems to resolve in post-war Liberian society.
The aim of this study was to examine factors that prolong internal conflict in sub-Saharan Africa, including political leaders’ manipulation of ethnicity and religion to gain or regain power and control the state; the legacies of colonialism that provoke dissatisfaction and alienation among ordinary people, inducing them to join anti-government forces; and neo-colonialist attempts to sustain corrupt states ruled by greed-driven political leaders.
What leads people to participate in anti-government activism and join terrorist groups? This paper demonstrates that colonialism’s legacies such as disparity of wealth, security abuses against ordinary people, and lack of the rule of law have produced and reproduced dissatisfaction and alienation among local people, particularly young people.
Although most internal conflicts in sub-Saharan Africa are deemed ‘ethnic’ or ‘religious’ conflicts, ethnic and religious identities in and of themselves do not necessarily lead to conflict. In a bid to maintain or regain power, political leaders provoke a shift from ethnic or religious identities to ethnic or religious nationalism.
Boko Haram, officially known as Jamā’at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da’wah wa’l-Jihād (‘People Committed to the Propagation of the Prophet’s Teachings and Jihad’) and based in north-eastern Nigeria, is recognised as a ‘terrorist’ or ‘militant Islamist’ organisation. Existing research on Boko Haram indicates that it is not participants’ religious faith that induces them to join the organisation. While Boko Haram’s founder, Mohammed Yusuf, rejected the secular state and promoted the establishment of a Sharia-based caliphate, he provided support to his followers, including social-welfare services that federal and state governments had failed to provide. Throughout history, Nigeria’s corrupt federal and state governments have seldom offered ‘good governance’. Nigeria is Africa’s leading oil and gas producer, but the wealth derived from these natural resources has not contributed to improving the living conditions of ordinary people in Nigeria.
This paper investigates the conditions that allow corrupt states to persist in sub-Saharan Africa. It is apparent from Nigeria’s case that, without assistance from developed countries, Africa’s political elites would in all likelihood be unable to sustain their governments. That is, neo-colonialism has allowed the current government of Nigeria to survive to promote the interests of developed countries and not those of the country’s ordinary people.
The Republic of South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in July 2011, becoming the 193rd member of the United Nations. However, on December 15, 2013, armed conflict erupted in the capital city of Juba, further triggering a civil war. This marked the setback of the state-building that the Government of South Sudan, the United Nations, and the international community had worked together on. Subsequently, the mandate of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) was modified from state-building to the protection of civilians. The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the African Union (AU), the United Nations (UN), and the Troika (United States, United Kingdom, and Norway) struggled to settle the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan (ARCSS) in 2015 and the Revitalization of the ARCSS (R-ARCSS) in 2018. However, armed conflict continued even after the Transitional Government of National Unity of South Sudan (TGNUSS) was inaugurated on February 22, 2020.
Against this historical background, this paper examines why state-building has not progressed well in South Sudan despite massive support from the international community. It is noted that, even after the R-ARCSS peace agreement was reached, military and political elites continued to dominate South Sudan, tactically using both internal and external norms. The internal norms are cultivated through the military-political marketplace and have a significant impact on the state’s governance structures (i.e., oil money kleptocracy), favoring prolonged armed conflict. The external norms are responsive to the demands of the international community, but are not necessarily respected as superior to the internal norms. Historically, humanitarian assistance has also been embedded in government’s structures with these internal norms as part of state-building architecture, further sparking illegitimacy and absurd armed conflict. Without understanding these internal norms and the associated issues, no amount of large-scale international assistance, no matter how large, will successfully advance state-building in South Sudan. Moreover, people’s resentment is another fundamental issue, generated by the internal norms, which also explains why the armed conflict has dragged on to date. As the traditional chiefs and the Catholic community have indicated in this study, without understanding and reconciling these issues, there will be no conflict resolution and no state-building.
Nevertheless, this study concludes that a potential choice remains for South Sudan: returning to armed conflicts and corruption with the internal norms or re-engaging in state-building with diverse adaptive approaches. The latter may also conflict with existing practices of the internal norms. However, it has significant processes of legitimizing state-building, which requires people’s reconciliation and capability to respect every person and diverse communities, regardless of military, political or ethnic group. If the people of South Sudan are choosing the adaptive approaches, that is a further challenge for building a legitimate state in various ways, even if at a slower pace, the international community also needs re-examine how to support state-building in South Sudan.
The purpose of the article is to analyze the mechanism of emergence of what the author called “neoliberal autocracy” or “neoliberal authoritarianism” in the context of Sub-Saharan Africa in the era of anti-democratic turn or global expansion of authoritarian rule. One of the characteristics of the recent phenomena in regime transformation is supposed to happen not in the form of breakdown but in a clandestine manner. Such conceptualization as neoliberal autocracy derived from the context of African external relations which is supposed to be very much rational reactions to politics of aid.
In this regard, the author shares the argument developed by Africanists, namely Tobias Hagmann and Filip Reyntjens. They argued that “what we see is the emergence of illiberal autocratic modernities in recipient countries whose political elites effectively amalgamate authoritarian politics with (neo-)liberal discourses emphasizing efficiency, effectiveness and performance... Foreign aid may thus play a support role in generating, maintaining and legitimizing contemporary illiberal African regimes that combine autocratic rule with trappings of liberal democracy” (2016: 12). This dynamism is also related to the well-known idea of “extraversion” which was developed by J-F Bayart.
Typical cases in this regard are supposed to be Ethiopia and Rwanda. In Africa’s Pulse 19 published by the World Bank in 2019, these two countries are evaluated as follows: “The successful transitions out of fragility in the region have been characterized by stronger institutions, enhanced policy environments, and improved services delivery. These efforts led to stronger growth and a more attractive climate for private investors (Ethiopia and Rwanda)” (2019: 2). This type of evaluation, focusing not on political and civil freedom like Freedom House Index but on effectiveness of government, rule of law, quality of regulation, control of corruption clearly like World Governance Index (WGI) shows that countries evaluated through the lens of “good governance, ” which is the core norm in neoliberalism, can be so called donor darlings, even though they are never be liberal nor democratic. This is in this historical context that what this author called “neoliberal autocracy” has emerged and even be consolidated. In this sense, recent argument or conceptualization like democratic backsliding and democratic erosion might not necessarily applicable to many African countries, where democratic institutionalization has not yet fully introduced nor strongly required in order to increase amount of aid in the era of neoliberalism and in the context of Global War on Terror (GWOT). Therefore, political regimes in Africa will be transforming in their “rational” reaction to changing external context of international relations in the 21st century.
This paper aims to identify the changing logic of putting an end to impunity by analyzing inside/outside perspectives in the case study of Kenyan judicial reforms since the 2007 Post-Election Violence (PEV).
In Kenya, the PEV erupted in December 2007, killing at least 1,113 people, forcing the displacement of more than 350,000, and leading to countless reports of sexual violence and inhumane acts. In response to this severe violence, the United Nations, the European Union, and the United States have joined peace negotiations in Kenya and African countries. The International Criminal Court (ICC) has also increased its level of involvement, welcomed by Kenyans as a means to put an end to impunity in Kenya. However, in the 2013 presidential election, Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta and William Ruto, whom the ICC indicted, won the election with the public’s support while articulating a painfully critical position of the ICC. So, where has the philosophy of putting an end to impunity for the 2007 PEV gone?
Based on this reality, this paper first pointed out the significance of the judicial intervention by the ICC in terms of the actual situation of impunity surrounding electoral violence since Kenya’s independence. Then, this paper analyzed the fact that, although the judicial intervention was an opportunity to make progress in reforming the Kenyan judicial sectors, an environment that prioritized domestic stability over the punishment of those involved in the 2007 PEV began to emerge in Kenya. Finally, this paper reveals a transformation in the logic of putting an end to impunity directed at the 2007 PEV both inside/outside Kenya. The 2013 presidential election focused on domestic stability, although some issues were raised. Actors outside Kenya, such as the United States and Europe countries, also stopped seeking accountability for the 2007 PEV and went toward rebuilding relations with the Kenyan government since the 2013 presidential election. This transformation clarified the reality that Kenya’s internal logic, supported by Kenya’s external logic, created an environment of impunity for those who were involved in the 2007 PEV.
The above reality shows that Kenya used judicial intervention as an opportunity to reform its judicial system, obtain assistance from international donors, and even rebuild relationships with its security partners. While prosecution for those involved in the 2007 PEV has not been sufficient, Kenya has benefited in other areas than putting an end to impunity. This domestic transformation has not been driven solely by political elites but has developed with support from its citizens. This paper implies that Kenya’s prioritization of stability, which was transformed with the support of its citizens, has allowed Kenya to subsequently lead other African countries in anti-ICC policies in the arena of the African Union.
Why do some conflicts lead to a plethora of peace agreements? Many of today’s armed conflicts beget new conflicts, with repeating cycles of fighting and peace processes. The issue of peace agreements should be addressed alongside the question of why some conflicts generate others. Although the existing scholarship on peace agreements assumes that the negotiation and signing of peace agreements are necessary steps in the transition from conflict to peace, they do not explain why the number of peace agreements is so high in some conflict-affected countries where peace has nonetheless not been achieved.
Adopting a realist approach, this article addresses four dilemmas of international mediation. If international mediators engage, (1) the conflict parties might easily sign an agreement while hiding their true intentions, thereby reducing negotiations and the agreement to a formality; (2) political negotiation could be an opportunity for the political elites to recentralize and fix their power; (3) mediators could favor parties that follow internationally agreed terminology and logics; and (4) conflict could recur after the mediators leave. Additionally, in recurring conflicts and peace agreements, the parties to the conflict learn from the past and respond to international mediation positively or negatively based on their experiences. Applying the concept of “forum shopping,” the author hypothesizes that some conflict parties choose certain types of international mediation, while others avoid it or propose new mediators.
According to the three major databases on peace agreements, more peace agreements have accumulated in African conflicts than in other regions. As Sudan has recorded most peace agreements between conflict parties during 1990–2018, the author examines four cases in Sudan: the post-Second Sudanese Civil War and Darfur in the 2000s, South Kordofan and Blue Nile in the 2010s, and post-coup d’état Sudan in the 2020s. While the two major conflict parties positively accepted international mediation in the post-Second Sudanese Civil War negotiations, other rebel groups were left out; in turn, they resorted to conflict to secure an opportunity for peace negotiation and created a forum for dialogue under their own initiative or refused international mediation. These four cases demonstrate that the conflict parties were aware of the dilemmas of international mediation and strategically used them to increase their gains or decrease their losses in politics. As a result, Sudan has seen many peace agreements without corresponding peace dividends for its citizens.
The academic and policy implication is that there is a never-ending mutual influence between international and domestic politics. While international mediation offers the parties to armed conflict windows of opportunity for peace, their domestic politics or elite competitions also affect international mediation. The process from conflict to peace is thus unending and kaleidoscopic, as are international relations.
This paper will reveal how the UN Security Council attempts to realize its goal of protecting civilians (non-combatants) in armed conflict, and what limitations it faces. In particular, it focuses on the barriers inherent in the mandate of UN peacekeeping operations. What were the limits to the protection of civilians by UN peacekeeping operations during the civil war in South Sudan? The paper will discuss this and state that the protection of civilians is a never-ending human endeavor.
There are at least four situations in which the barriers inherent in the mandate of UN peacekeeping operations are obstacles to the protection of civilians. First is interference with civilian protection by the government or military of a party to the conflict. This means that it is impossible for UN peacekeeping forces to establish a cooperative relationship with such governments or militaries regarding the protection of civilians when they use violence against civilians.
Second is the lack of willingness and ability of UN peacekeeping operations to protect civilians. UN peacekeeping operations protect civilians in the areas in which they are capable and deployed. This means that they do not fulfill their responsibilities regarding the protection of civilians in situations beyond the capabilities of UN peacekeeping operations. It also means that geographically, the target population to be protected will be constrained to the area in which the military can be deployed.
Third is the reluctance of UN peacekeeping operations to use force. UN peacekeeping operations may invoke all necessary measures under Chapter VII of the UN Charter to protect civilians. Not only may the contributing country fear that its soldiers will be killed or wounded in an armed conflict, but it may also lack the capacity to return fire due to inadequate training and equipment. Contributing countries are unlikely to be willing to risk their own soldiers to protect the lives of civilians in a party to a conflict.
Fourth is the inequity of civilian protection by UN peacekeeping operations. Because UN peacekeeping operations have limited personnel, equipment, and budgets, they cannot protect all civilians in conflict areas. This would mean that only some civilians would be protected and others would not.
However, the protection of civilians cannot be denied on the basis of its limitations. This is because the protection of civilians through UN peacekeeping operations has helped a significant number of conflict victims. However, the protection of civilians through UN peacekeeping operations is not perfect. Protection of civilians is an endless activity that will never be completed and will continue until the end of humanity.
This paper examines the increasing role of Chinese companies in Africa as the main actor in China-Africa relations since the 2000s. The first half of the paper offers a brief history of China-Africa relations and explains how Africa has been increasingly important in China’s foreign policy. China has been engaging in Africa since the 1950s. During the first thirty years, the major driving force behind China-Africa relations was political motivations. China recognized Africa as a promising region to gain diplomatic recognition over Taiwan and its support in many international settings. China succeeded in gaining a seat at the United Nations with the support of 26 African countries in October 1971.
Since China adopted its Open and Reform policy in 1978, economic interests have been a major driving force behind China’s foreign relations. While China prioritized its relations with the Western countries, no significant progress had been made in China-Africa relations. However, China’s isolation from international society after Tiananmen Square Incident in June 1989 became a turning point in China-Africa relations. Africa has become the first travel destination for the Chinese Foreign Minister since 1991. In 2000 China established the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) as a framework of multilateral diplomacy. FOCAC has been convened every three years and has promoted regional economic cooperation between China and Africa. The Chinese government has been actively assisting Chinese companies in expanding business in Africa with state financing by its policy banks and other means since the 2000s.
The second part of the paper focuses on Huawei’s digital infrastructure development as a case of the increasing presence of Chinese companies in Africa. Huawei expands its engagement by receiving Chinese financial assistance and by building smart cities in many countries in Africa. This paper argues that Huawei’s involvement goes beyond traditional business activities. Huawei can win long-term businesses and gain comparative advantages vis-à-vis other countries after building digital infrastructure in Africa. Huawei’s smart cities also impact state governance. For example, Huawei trains intelligence and police officers in several countries. Huawei helped strengthen the political foundations of current leaders by assisting in arresting the opponents in Uganda and Zambia. Although the introduction of Huawei’s digital governance system could improve local security, it has the potential to significantly undermine the existing social and economic environment in countries without good governance and strong state institution.
The existing studies on China-Africa relations focus on states as the main actor for analysis. However, actors other than governments have played increasingly important roles in China-African relations. Therefore, this study stresses the importance of analyzing the role of Chinese companies to enhance our understanding of China-Africa relations that are changing at an unprecedented pace today.
Anti-apartheid activism was one of the most significant global political campaigns in the twentieth century. Alongside South African liberation movements, transnational network of anti-apartheid movements also played an important role in ending the apartheid regime in South Africa. Anti-apartheid activism can be considered as one of the pioneer cases of transnational advocacy networks. Although there is a growing research interest in the topic, the literature was until recently geographically confined primarily to the Western Anti-apartheid movements, including those in the UK, Nordic countries, and North America. In particular, the role of anti-apartheid movements in Asia, including those in Japan, have been largely overlooked. The present article attempts to fill some of the research gaps through a consideration of anti-apartheid activism in Japan.
Following a literature review on anti-apartheid international solidarity and an explanation of the research resources used in this study in the first section, the second and third sections discuss the history of the Japan Anti-Apartheid Committee (JAAC) and its characteristics as a social movement. The close relationship between Japan and South Africa, symbolized by the term “honorary whites”, was seen as problematic in the activism. The Japanese citizens’ movements against apartheid had much in common with the solidarity movement with Asian peoples of the same period. This present article shows that the anti-apartheid movement in Japan began in the context of Asian-African solidarity, and that despite political divisions, the underlying orientation that solidarity with African peoples should start from solidarity with people within Asia remained.
The final section examines the various organizations, including those of Christian churches, labor movements and human rights organizations among others, as well as individuals that were involved in the anti-apartheid activism in Japan other than the JAAC groups. There were multilayered transnational networks which those various actors were part of. As small organizations, it was difficult for the JAAC groups to run large-scale campaigns on their own, and collaboration with relationships with external actors was essential to raise anti-apartheid awareness. Although JAAC did not single-handedly bring these organizations and individuals into the anti-apartheid activism in Japan, when interest in the issue of apartheid grew in Japan in the late 1980s, the availability of information and networks of JAAC, which had been continuously advocating on the apartheid issue for many years, was an important factor in making the anti-apartheid efforts of various actors possible.
This paper focuses on Japan’s policy toward North Korea under the Nakasone administration, and investigates the period in which the administration was preparing to open up political relations with North Korea during the confrontation between the Eastern and Western blocs during the Cold War. It deals mainly with the period between Nakasone’s visit to South Korea in January 1983 and the talks between the Japanese and North Korean governments which began in secret in January 1986. This was a period in the middle of the Cold War during which U.S.-Soviet relations had become more fluid, and summit meetings were held. On the Korean Peninsula, the South Korean government decided to host the 1988 Seoul Olympics and took this opportunity to improve relations with socialist countries such as China and the Soviet Union.
The main objective of the diplomacy of the Nakasone administration was to emphasize US-Japan-South Korea trilateral cooperation and attempt to include China in this framework, while also making progress in Japan-North Korea relations without negatively affecting Japan’s relationship with South Korea. The main claim of this thesis is that Japan’s diplomacy with North Korea in the 1990s was built on the basis of the government and the private sector cooperating with each other on North Korean diplomacy during the Nakasone regime in the 1980s.
While the U.S.-Soviet conflict narrowed the scope of the U.S. and the Soviet Union’s involvement in the situation on the Korean Peninsula, it was easy for the Japanese government to demonstrate its uniqueness in its diplomacy with North Korea based on good Japan-South Korea relations and Japan-China relations. In order minimize any negative spillover from Japan-North Korea relations into Japan-South Korea relations or Japan-US relations, the Nakasone administration did not take the lead in interactions with the North Korean side but instead opted to make effective use of other actors such as leading politicians in the ruling party and the Japanese Socialist Party.
With the U.S.-Soviet summit held in November 1985 tensions in the U.S.-Soviet confrontation began to ease, and the U.S. initiative on the Korean Peninsula became more prominent. On the other hand, the international situation in the late 1980s served as a dynamic that limited Japan’s initiative in easing tensions on the Korean Peninsula. Nevertheless, bilateral relations between Japan and North Korea, built at the non-governmental level did not lose strength despite structural restrictions on Japanese diplomacy.
During the Nakasone administration, Japan-North Korea relations–which had been maintained at a non-governmental level–demonstrated their own dynamics that distinguished them from the ups and downs of the global U.S.-Soviet Cold War and led to Kanemaru’s visit to North Korea in 1990 and negotiations on the normalization of diplomatic relations in 1991.