About The Horn
The Horn of Africa is in turmoil. From revolution in Sudan to civil war in Ethiopia, from Somalia’s political stalemate and the regional spread of jihadism to troubled East African democracies, the region’s pace and scale of change are difficult to keep up with. The Horn, a podcast series from the International Crisis Group, helps make sense of it all. Host Alan Boswell and guests dive deep behind the headlines as they analyse events, debate diplomacy and discuss avenues toward peace. Hosted by Alan Boswell and produced by Maeve Frances Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
The Russian-owned Wagner Group continues to grow its footprint in parts of Africa, with a presence in Libya, the Central African Republic, Mali and elsewhere. As a private military contractor with close ties to the Kremlin, the group ostensibly provides combat services but has also garnered a reputation for deft media tactics that have bolstered Russia's visibility on the continent. Several African countries now partner closely with Wagner for military support and training. But the war in Ukraine, and Wagner's role in it, has increased scrutiny on the paramilitary group and heightened concerns in Western capitals about its and Moscow's ambitions in Africa. This week on The Horn, Alan Boswell speaks with Julia Steers, VICE News’ correspondent in Nairobi, about her investigations into Wagner's activities in Africa and Ukraine. They talk about the group's origins and activities on the continent and what Russia and its African partners hope to gain from Wagner’s presence. They also discuss why Western governments are worried about Wagner's growing influence, and why the company is often seen as a useful partner for governments that have asked them to deploy. For more, check out Crisis Group's analysis on Russia's influence and Wagner's activities in Central African Republic and in Mali. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
On 18-19 February, the African Union (AU) held its annual heads of state summit in the AU Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. This event marked the culmination of a year of active diplomatic engagements across the African continent against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine and its global fallout. The two-day summit was highly anticipated. The continent is facing an array of outside actors jostling for influence as global divisions mount, a multitude of conflicts and crises internally, and an insecure financial future, with much of its funding coming from external backers such as the European Union and their shifting priorities. In order to better tackle the challenges facing the continent in the years ahead, many observers are now calling for fast-tracking the institutional reforms of the AU. This week on The Horn, Alan Boswell speaks with Liesl Louw-Vaudran, Crisis Group’s senior adviser to the AU, about the highlights of the 2023 AU Summit, the union’s overall progress and the challenges facing it. They discuss the AU's bid for permanent African seats on the UN Security Council and its possible accession to the G20. They also dive into the AU's position against coups, the crisis in the Great Lakes region and its mediating role in the conflict in Ethiopia. They touch on the organisation’s original ambition, its focus on peace and security, as well as the structural impediments it faces, such as member state sovereignty, decision-making difficulties and external funding. Finally, they discuss ways in which the AU can adapt to better fulfil its mandate. For more in-depth analysis of some of the topics discussed in this episode, make sure to check out our Africa Program page, and our briefing Eight Priorities for the African Union in 2023. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
This week on The Horn, Alan Boswell speaks with Abdi Latif Dahir, East Africa correspondent for The New York Times, about the political landscape of several East African countries. They talk about President Museveni's long-lasting hold on power in Uganda and what to make of his son and potential successor, General Muhoozi Kainerugaba, whose provocative statements on social media have sparked widespread attention and scrutiny. They take stock of Kenya's state of affairs, the Ruto presidency, and how borrowing from China has been burdening the country and its citizens. They also discuss Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan's early tenure as well as the future of Somalia. Finally, they touch on the regional response to the war in Ukraine and why some countries in Eastern Africa have been reluctant to take sides in the conflict. For more on the topics discussed in this episode, make sure to check out Abdi’s work inThe New York Times, including his recent article: “A Wild Card’: Son of Uganda’s President Jostles to Succeed His Father”, as well as our program page for the Horn of Africa. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
The Sudanese military and a coalition of major civilian actors signed a framework agreement on 5 December 2022, paving a path to a new civilian government more than a year after the military seized full power in an October 2021 coup. While the new deal has raised hopes that Sudan's long political impasse could be nearing an end, it has also received its fair share of criticism. Many viewed the negotiations as too exclusive, and the deal thus far excludes former rebels and others. Without broader support, many have argued that a new government could ultimately lack legitimacy. This week on The Horn, Alan Boswell speaks with Guma Kunda Komey, a former peace adviser to Sudan's last prime minister, about the politics of the negotiations over forming a new civilian government in Sudan. They talk about the effects of the military coup in late 2021 that saw the military take full control of the country and subsequent efforts to get the country’s political transition back on track. They discuss the December 2022 framework agreement, how it was reached, as well as the criticisms that have arisen around the deal, the challenges facing its implementation and its perceived lack of inclusiveness. They also discuss the 2020 Juba Peace Agreement, whether it was a good deal, and what it would take to strike a peace deal with Sudan's remaining rebel movements. For more in-depth analysis of some of the topics discussed in this episode, make sure to check out our latest statement “A Critical Window to Bolster Sudan’s Next Government” and our Sudan country page. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Over the past few months, Somali government forces have consolidated gains against Al-Shabaab in a large-scale offensive in central regions. The offensive was initiated by clans rising up against the group, which the government in turn sought to nurture and expand. While the government troops have made advances against the militant group, consolidating those gains and delivering on authorities’ promises to local communities will remain a significant challenge. Prospects for engagement with the insurgents has also taken a back seat amid the current fighting, even as Al-Shabaab has in the past shown to be a flexible and resilient actor. In the background, a festering humanitarian situation remains dire as a fifth failed rainy season has brought Somalia closer to famine. This week on The Horn, Alan Boswell speaks with Omar Mahmood, Crisis Group's senior analyst for Eastern Africa, about the latest developments regarding the offensive against Al-Shabaab, following recent fieldwork. After reviewing the circumstances leading up to the offensive, they discuss the government's strategy to involve local militias in the fight and the challenges this could present. They also assess how Al-Shabaab has responded and whether the federal government is any closer to exploring potential political dialogue with the jihadist group. Finally, they take a look at the status of federal-regional government reconciliation efforts amid upcoming political issues. For more in-depth analysis of some of the topics discussed in this episode, make sure to check out our Somalia country page and our report from last year, Considering Political Engagement with Al-Shabaab in Somalia. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
In August, the White House unveiled a new strategy for Sub-Saharan Africa focused on promoting open societies, democracy and security, while increasing U.S. efforts to help Africa combat Covid-19 and adapt to climate change. Meanwhile, the U.S. remains active in the crises in the Horn of Africa, including the peace process in Ethiopia, resolving the political impasse in Sudan and countering Al-Shabaab in Somalia. Yet, America's role has also shifted amid a changing world, especially as Washington increasingly engages with other regional powers, including in the Middle East, about Horn of Africa affairs. This week on The Horn, Alan speaks with Molly Phee, U.S. assistant secretary of state for African affairs, about how the Biden administration envisions partnership with African countries and Africa's role on the global stage. They talk about the administration's approach to great-power competition in relation to Africa, as well as the increasing role of regional powers, including from the Gulf. They then discuss the Ethiopia peace process, the role of Eritrea, and U.S. efforts to broker a new political deal in Sudan. They also examine whether the U.S. supports eventual political talks with Al-Shabaab in Somalia, what to do about South Sudan, U.S.-Kenya relations, and the continued and controversial use of U.S. sanctions as a diplomatic lever. Phee then previews the upcoming U.S.-Africa summit next week in Washington. For more in-depth analysis of some of the topics discussed in this episode, make sure to check out our Africa program page. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Last week, Congolese President Félix Tshisekedi held a meeting with Rwandan Foreign Minister Vincent Biruta and other African leaders in Angola to agree on a ceasefire in eastern DR Congo. The situation there has been deteriorating rapidly in recent weeks, with militants from the M23 group making significant headway against Congolese forces, threatening to overrun the regional capital of Goma and prompting the East African Community (EAC) to deploy a force to the region. Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame and members of the M23 were notably absent from the recent meeting in Luanda, raising concerns that any agreement without their involvement might not be sustainable in the long run. This week on The Horn, Alan Boswell speaks with Crisis Group consultant Richard Moncrieff about the flare-up in violence in eastern Congo and how the conflict could develop. They talk about the M23’s recent advances in eastern Congo, Rwanda’s role in the conflict and the ongoing rivalry between Kinshasa and Kigali. They also discuss Kenya’s increased diplomatic and military involvement in the DR Congo. Finally, they address the declining popularity of the UN peacekeeping mission in the DR Congo and how African leadership has stepped up to address regional security challenges. For more in-depth analysis on the situation in the DR Congo, make sure to check out our DR Congo country page. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Today we're bringing you a bonus episode on Ethiopia from Crisis Group's Global Podcast Hold Your Fire!. On 2 November, the Ethiopian federal government and Tigrayan forces reached an agreement to cease hostilities and end almost two years of bloody war in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region. The truce came after the Ethiopian army, together with Eritrean troops and forces from the Amhara region, which borders Tigray, made rapid advances into Tigray over recent weeks. It raises hopes that peace in Tigray might be within reach and that the region’s humanitarian crisis – amplified by a federal blockade on aid throughout much of the war – can finally be addressed. However, peace talks did not include Eritrea, despite its involvement in the war, and the deal includes no provisions about what will happen to the Eritrean forces in Tigray. It does involve other major concessions for the Tigrayans, who agreed to fully disarm within a month. In this episode of Hold Your Fire!, Richard Atwood is joined by Murithi Mutiga, Crisis Group’s Africa director, to talk about the cessation of hostilities and its implications. They talk about the events leading to the truce, Ethiopia’s recent offensive in the Tigray region, Eritrea’s involvement in the conflict and how all sides are likely to view and respond to the agreement. They address the role of the African Union and its envoy, former Nigerian President Olesugun Obasanjo, in brokering the agreement. They also talk about the influence of external actors in Ethiopia and how the support of countries like the United Arab Emirates and Türkiye for the Ethiopian government shaped battlefield dynamics. They ask what went wrong with a transition in Ethiopia that had generated enormous optimism in its early years, and what the coming years might bring for politics in the Horn of Africa at a moment of considerable flux. For more on the situation in Ethiopia, check out Crisis Group’s extensive analysis on our Ethiopia country page. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
The contemporary rivalry between Eritrea and Tigray goes back several decades. After an almost-17-year-long civil war starting in the mid-1970s, the Eritrean EPLF and Tigrayan TPLF jointly defeated Ethiopia’s Derg regime in 1991, resulting in Eritrea’s independence and the TPLF taking power in Ethiopia. Despite their joint achievement, their already-complicated relations soon started to sour. A growing power struggle, as well as unresolved territorial disputes between the two sides, led to a deadly border war lasting from 1998 to 2000. Meanwhile, an increasingly repressive Eritrean regime found itself regionally and globally isolated. A new administration in Ethiopia under Abiy Ahmed signed a peace agreement with Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki in 2018, formally ending the border war. However, this rapprochement between Addis Ababa and Asmara also appeared to pave the way for Ethiopia’s civil war, with Eritrea allying with Ethiopia’s federal government in the war against Tigrayan forces in northern Ethiopia that started in 2020. In this episode of The Horn, Alan is joined by Michael Woldemariam, associate professor at the University of Maryland’s School of Public Policy, to take a deep dive into the long and tumultuous relationship between Eritrea and Tigray to understand Eritrea’s motives and objectives in the Ethiopian conflict. They talk about the origins of the relations between the EPLF and the TPLF and their shared struggle against Ethiopia’s Derg regime from the 1970s to 1991. They unpack how relations between the two sides soured in a struggle for power and authority, culminating in the deadly border clashes starting in 1998. They also discuss how Eritrean President Afwerki’s motivations in the conflict in northern Ethiopia have shifted over time. Finally, they talk about how to navigate Eritrea’s role while trying to end the conflict in Tigray. Please note that this episode was recorded before the 2 November truce agreement between Ethiopia’s federal government and Tigray’s leaders. For more in-depth analysis on Ethiopia and Eritrea, make sure to check out our Horn of Africa regional page. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
COP27 will be hosted on the African continent this year and presents a unique opportunity to bring more attention to the already devastating impact of climate change on African countries. While the Global North is producing the majority of emissions driving climate change, its fallout is disproportionately felt in the Global South. Meanwhile, the potential links between climate change as a potential driver for conflict remain largely neglected. To prevent and mitigate climate-induced crises and security risks on the continent, closer cooperation between African leaders and the international community is becoming increasingly urgent. This week on The Horn, Alan hosts a roundtable with Nazanine Moshiri, Crisis Group’s senior analyst for climate and security in Africa, Robert Muthami, climate change policy expert at the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung in Kenya, and Hafsa Maalim, an associate senior researcher with SIPRI, on how African leadership can shape the agenda of this year’s COP27. They discuss the ways in which African leaders and civil society actors take action to mitigate the impact of climate change on the continent and how the international community, particularly the Global North, can help them tackle these challenges. They also address the importance of placing climate-induced security risks higher on the agenda in the COP27 negotiations and highlight the ways in which climate change can potentially drive and shape conflict in African countries. This episode of The Horn is produced in partnership with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. You can find out latest publications on climate change and conflict on our COP27 page. For more about this topic, make sure to also check out Crisis Group’s Future of Conflict Program page. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
The Horn of Africa is in a tumultuous period. Armed conflict has returned to Ethiopia’s Tigray region after a humanitarian truce between the federal government and Tigrayan leaders collapsed in August. A political impasse between the military leadership and the civilian pro-democracy movement in Sudan has paralysed the country’s political transition. Meanwhile, the younger generation in the region has become increasingly frustrated with their political leadership and lack of democratic participation. Facing a myriad crises, regional and external actors, including the African Union, European Union and United States, have struggled to facilitate sustainable political progress and stability in the region. In this episode of The Horn, Alan hosts a roundtable discussion with expert guests Aleu Garang, head of the mediation support unit at the International Authority on Development, Kholood Khair, an independent analyst, and Simon Mulongo, former MP in Uganda and former deputy head of the AU mission to Somalia, about conflicts, crises and the evolving political landscape in the Horn of Africa. They speak about the recent return to armed conflict in northern Ethiopia and how that might affect regional politics. They also assess the prospect of regional and outside actors promoting stability for countries in the Horn. They address the youth’s striving to be integrated into regional politics and how that might affect political change over time. Finally, they talk about finding pathways out of the conflicts and crises in the region. This episode of The Horn is produced in partnership with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. For more in-depth analysis on the Horn of Africa check out our Horn of Africa regional page. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Today we're bringing you a bonus episode on Ethiopia from Crisis Group's Global Podcast Hold Your Fire!. Just a few months back, a humanitarian truce in Ethiopia offered a glimmer of hope that an end might be in sight to the war in and around the country’s northern Tigray region. Fighting pitted the federal government, forces from the Amhara region, bordering Tigray, and Eritrean troops on one hand, against Tigrayan forces on the other. In March, the federal government and Tigrayan leaders announced a cessation of hostilities. Formal peace talks were supposed to follow. But the last few weeks have seen the truce collapse and conflict resume across several front lines, with Tigrayan leaders accusing Eritrean forces of advancing en masse. The return to the battlefield marks another nasty turn in a war that has had a catastrophic human toll – a UN report this week points to war crimes by all sides – but garners relatively little international attention. This week on Hold Your Fire! Richard Atwood catches up with Crisis Group’s Senior Analyst for Ethiopia William Davison to make sense of what’s happening. They discuss why the truce failed to hold over the summer, and notably why Tigrayan leaders chafe at the federal government’s refusal to restore basic services – electricity, telecommunications and banking – in Tigray. They talk about the war’s human toll and this past week’s UN human rights experts’ report. They examine the thorny challenges to peace talks, especially the disputed territory of Western Tigray, part of the region since the 1990s but captured by Amhara forces in the war’s early days. They talk about Eritrea’s role and whether the Eritrean president Isaias Afwerki would accept any deal that left the Tigrayan leadership in place. They also talk about both sides’ apparent goals – for the Ethiopian government and allied forces, subduing the Tigrayan leadership; for Tigrayan forces, breaking the siege – and why neither is likely to prevail militarily any time soon. Finally, they discuss the prospects for bringing the parties back to the table, and what foreign diplomats involved can do. For more on the situation in Tigray, check out Crisis Group’s recent statement: Avoiding the Abyss as War Resumes in Northern Ethiopia. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
The African continent is facing a multitude of challenges ranging from food and commodity insecurity worsened by the war in Ukraine, to the climate crisis, strong economic headwinds and ongoing deadly conflict in various areas. Meanwhile, the war in Ukraine has accelerated global political trends unravelling the prevailing order, putting African countries increasingly in the crossfire of geopolitical tussles. Multilateral institutions like the United Nations are struggling to keep up with the flux between crises. This week on The Horn, in the new season’s first episode, Alan talks with Comfort Ero, Crisis Group’s president and CEO, to discuss what Africa’s role in a reformed international system might look like. They discuss some of the imbalances of the current order and what the prospects are for a stronger African voice on the world stage. They talk about challenges facing the African Union, what UN Security Council reforms could look like and Africa’s upcoming hosting of the COP27 conference in November. They assess how diplomats can best push for peace amid this unstable status quo, as well as ways for African leaders to address some of Africa’s – and the world’s – most pressing issues. You can also listen back to The Horn’s opening episode of Season 2 – two years ago – when Comfort Ero also joined Alan to talk about Peace and Conflict in Africa, Then and Now. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Kenyans went to the polls last week in what turned out to be a closely fought but so far strikingly peaceful election. After six tense days of vote counting, Deputy President Ruto was declared Kenya’s next President with a wafer-thin majority. While the election has been broadly regarded as free and fair, his challenger, Raila Odinga, a political heavyweight backed by outgoing President and former rival Uhuru Kenyatta, has launched a legal challenge to the results. This week in a special episode of The Horn, Alan speaks to Murithi Mutiga, Crisis Group’s Program Director for Africa, to discuss how Kenya’s nail-biting election has shaped up and the possible fallout of Odinga’s challenge. They outline both candidates' backgrounds and assess their respective campaigns in the build-up to election day. They talk about the significance of Odinga’s challenge to the vote, the role of Kenya’s electoral commission and the resilience of the country's democratic institutions in the wake of the election. They also assess how far ethnic divisions have played a role in the outcome of the election and where Kenya’s democracy might be headed if Ruto’s presidency is confirmed by the Supreme Court. For more analysis, check out Crisis Group’s Kenya country page. We want to hear from you as we start preparing Season Four of The Horn! If you have any feedback or suggestions for topics you’d like us to cover next season, you can write to firstname.lastname@example.org or get in touch with Alan directly on Twitter, @AlanBoswell. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
To mark the end of Season Three of The Horn, Alan discusses a few major developments in the region with Crisis Group experts. First up, he speaks to William Davison, Senior Analyst for Ethiopia, to discuss the prospect for possible peace talks in Ethiopia after the humanitarian ceasefire declared in March between federal and Tigrayan forces. They discuss the recent welcome steps towards peace talks, the remaining hurdles towards holding such negotiations and the major obstacles that any peace talks will need to overcome. They also discuss Ethiopia’s deteriorating economic situation and the ongoing insurgency in the Oromia region. Next, Alan speaks with Nelleke van de Walle, Project Director for the Great Lakes region, to discuss Kenya’s recent diplomatic foray in the eastern DR Congo and how it is reshaping regional politics. Alan and Nelleke discuss the factors behind the warming ties between Kinshasa and Nairobi and the reasons for Kenya’s recent initiatives towards the DR Congo. They discuss the proposal for the East African Community to deploy a joint force under Kenyan command to fight armed groups in the eastern DR Congo, and they unpack the recent peace talks Nairobi hosted between Congolese authorities and armed groups. They also chat about how the looming presidential election in Kenya could impact Nairobi’s future diplomatic role. Finally, Alan talks to Nazanine Moshiri, Senior Analyst for Climate & Security in Africa. They break down the impact of the devastating historic drought hitting much of the Horn region. Nazanine explains which parts of the region are worst hit and outlines how this crisis is exacerbated by the global commodity shocks, which are driving up food prices as well. They also highlight the worrying repercussions, from major displacement to land disputes and intercommunal conflict. Back from recent visits to the northern Great Rift Valley and Laikipia county in Kenya, Nazanine talks about how the drought is upending life there and how the climate shocks are intermixing with rising political tensions and violence ahead of Kenya’s elections. For more analysis, check out Crisis Group’s Horn of Africa and Great Lakes regional pages. We want to hear from you! As Season Three of The Horn draws to a close, If you have any feedback or suggestions for topics you’d like us to cover next season, you can write to email@example.com or get in touch with Alan directly on Twitter, @AlanBoswell. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Today we're bringing you a bonus episode on Kenya from Crisis Group's Global Podcast Hold Your Fire!. Kenya’s presidential race has been turned upside down. After a high-profile split with President Kenyatta, his deputy William Ruto – despite being in government for the last nine years – is running on an anti-establishment platform. Having distanced himself from Kenyatta, Ruto is positioning himself as a man of the people, or the “hustler in chief”, opposing the political elite. Meanwhile, his main rival Raila Odinga – for decades an opposition leader and fierce critic of the government – has been endorsed by Kenyatta, thus becoming the establishment candidate. At the same time, while previous Kenyan polls have been shaped mostly by ethnic politics, the 2022 race has also seen economic issues come to the fore, with Ruto promising wide-ranging reforms. Whatever its outcome, the election matters not just in Kenya, but for the entire region, riddled by war and crises. This week on Hold Your Fire! Richard Atwood is joined by Crisis Group’s Africa Program Director, Murithi Mutiga, to talk about the campaign thus far and what to expect from the election. They discuss how things got so bitter between Kenyatta and Ruto, and what the bad blood might mean for the outcome of the vote. They talk about the main issues dominating the election, as Ruto plays on people’s economic frustrations and Odinga portrays himself as a unifier. They also discuss the risks of a disputed outcome, in a country that has suffered terrible bloodshed after contested results in the past. They look at the impact on Kenyan politics of indictments against Kenyatta and Ruto by the International Criminal Court, which were dropped in 2014 and 2016 respectively. They also look at how Nairobi views the war in Ukraine and the impact of the commodities crisis that war has triggered. For more on the situation in Kenya, check out Crisis Group’s extensive analysis on our Kenya country page, including our recent briefing “Kenya’s 2022 Election: High Stakes”. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Somalia has been fighting the Al-Shabaab jihadist insurgency for well over a decade. After reclaiming control of Mogadishu and other cities in the early 2010s, government forces – with the support of African Union troops – have made limited progress since. Instead, Al-Shabaab has adopted guerilla tactics and managed to consolidate control of rural areas, while regularly conducting deadly attacks on Somali cities. A recent Crisis Group report recommended that stakeholders should at least begin to explore the feasibility of eventual political talks with Al-Shabaab, alongside pursuing existing military operations, to add another tool in the struggle to bring the longstanding conflict to an end. This week on The Horn, Alan talks to Omar Mahmood, Crisis Group’s Senior Analyst for East Africa, to discuss the risks and opportunities that this approach might incur. They assess the strengths and limitations of the military campaign against Al-Shabaab and its prospects for success, as African Union forces inch closer to the end of their mandate in the country. They discuss previous attempts to engage Al-Shabaab and the group’s willingness for dialogue. They talk about the impact of multiple failed rainy seasons in Somalia and the need for humanitarian assistance that reaches populations in both government and insurgent-controlled areas. They also discuss the wider implications of Somalia’s Al-Shabaab outlook in the region, including how the country’s neighbours and international partners might respond to the prospect of engagement with a self-professed al-Qaeda affiliate. Check out Crisis Group’s report, “Considering Political Engagement with Al-Shabaab in Somalia”, in full to learn more about the situation in Somalia and efforts to bring the conflict to an end. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Hassan Sheikh Mohamud was elected on the slogan: “Somalia at peace with itself and at peace with the world”. As Somalia’s former leader returns to power after five years, the country faces immense challenges. For one, the Islamist group Al-Shabaab continues to control significant swathes of territory, as the new leadership tries to regain ground and make improvements in the security sector. Looking beyond Somalia’s borders, Hassan Sheikh has promised a reset in foreign policy, seeking to mend ties with both its neighbours and traditional partners further afield in the Gulf and the West. This week on The Horn, Alan talks to Abdi Aynte, a former journalist who served as Somalia’s Minister of Planning and International Cooperation in Hassan Sheikh’s previous administration between the years 2015 and 2017. Joining from Mogadishu, Abdi talks about the mood in the capital after a protracted election process and people's hopes for what the new presidency might bring. They dissect President Farmajo’s record over the last five years, and discuss the prospects for improving the country’s security outlook amid the stalemate with Al-Shabaab. In terms of foreign policy, they discuss the numerous issues facing the incoming administration in the Horn and further afield, from repatriating 5,000 Somali soldiers stranded in Eritrea, to finalising the country’s international debt relief program. For more, check out Crisis Group’s extensive analysis on our Somalia country page. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Many African countries are suffering from the consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine: disrupted wheat supplies, soaring prices for industrial goods and raw materials, as well as a shifting of the world’s attention from the needs of the Global South. At the same time, African diplomacy on the Ukraine war has been mostly muted. While a lot of media coverage is given to the handful of countries with close ties to Moscow, most African states have chosen not to voice a strong position on the war, focusing on priorities closer to home. Strategic considerations and the need to appease international partners, including China, are also driving this ambivalence — a reality still poorly understood by many Western policymakers. This week on The Horn, Alan is joined by Dr. Hassan Khannenje, director at the HORN International Institute for Strategic Studies based in Nairobi. They talk about how the continent views Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and why not all African countries have bought into the West’s perspective on the war. They discuss Africa’s place in the world order and how its foreign policy is driven by a mixture of both ideological commitment to non-alignment and strategic interests, as it continues to tread a careful line on the Ukraine war. For more on the Ukraine war, check out Crisis Group’s extensive analysis on our Ukraine country page. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.
Russia’s relations with Africa are under even greater scrutiny in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine and amid the mixed reaction of African states toward the new war in Europe. Over recent years, Moscow has bolstered ties with countries all over the continent, particularly those plagued by internal violence and disillusioned with Western powers. Russia remains a leading arms supplier and Russian private military contractors continue to expand their presence, most recently in Mali. Whether Russia is successfully pursuing a broader strategy, or merely engaging in tactical power plays, remains a matter of debate. Russia has long sought a naval base on the Red Sea and wields its permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council for influence on the continent. This week on The Horn, Alan is joined by Samuel Ramani, author of an upcoming book on Russia in Africa. They talk about Russia’s historic goals and current strategy on the continent, differing reactions to the invasion of Ukraine, and why some African leaders pursue closer relations with Russia. They also discuss the new significance of African relations for Moscow today and how the war in Ukraine is already changing power dynamics on the continent. For more on the Ukraine War, check out Crisis Group’s extensive analysis on our Ukraine country page. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.