The emergence of Africa as a rising continent has
been a subject of much attention and interest in the
world among political leaders, scholars and business
organisations lately.
At the same time, Africa has become the focus of
terror organisations as well, stoking fears that this
ascending trajectory might soon be interrupted as
evidenced by the recent waves of attack in Kenya,
Niger and Algeria, all directed often against Western
interests.
With the US military upgrading its facilities and
means to address the new threats of radical Islamic
militant insurgency, there are now questions as to
whether and how this move will yield the desired
results.
Indeed, Africa’s booming growth, talented youth and
abundant natural resources have brought the
continent in the limelight of business organisations
and international politics in the last few years. This
emergence is better illustrated by the increasing
presence of world powers in courting emerging
countries on the continent like South Africa, Kenya,
Tanzania, and Senegal.
In fact, within the last couple of years alone,
important world leaders like the US president Barack
Obama, the French President Francois Hollande, and
the Chinese leader Xi Jinping have all set foot on the
continent to define new bilateral and multilateral
cooperation relationships and chart a future where
Africa will have its historic position.
As much as the continent is growing in importance in
world affairs, it is also drawing the attention of non-
state actors (NSAs) mainly Al-Qaeda linked terror
organizations like the Boko Haram in Nigeria, the Al-
Shabaab in Somalia, and several other insurgent
groups that include, Ansar Din, the Movement for
Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJWA) and Al Qaeda
in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
There are even credible evidences that the drawing
down of the US-led war against terror in Afghanistan,
the deteriorating condition of living in some African
countries coupled with human rights abuses, might
further result in the increase in number of terror
activities on the continent.
Perhaps these developments explain why the US is
now upgrading its military capabilities in different
parts of Africa. Earlier this year in February 2013, the
US established a drone base in Niger apart from its
air strips in other parts of Africa like Burkina Faso
and Ethiopia.
A recent report by the Los Angeles Times for
instance, reveals that the Pentagon is investing
several millions of dollars in the Camp Lemonier in
Djibouti, on operational security, training,
telecommunication equipment, and air facilities to
boost its presence in better responding to the new
Islamic terrorist threats that are plaguing the
continent.
Major actor
By these investments, the US wants to go from a
mere security presence on the continent to becoming
a major actor in addressing the growing security
challenges that are fast outgrowing the operational
capabilities of many African countries.
Whether the US new efforts in Africa will yield the
desired results remains to be seen. For the
meantime, there are widespread fears that a heavy-
handed presence of the US military, rather than
diminishing Islamic insurgent activities, might
increase the presence of radical Islamic terror
organizations and could entrench the determination
of home-grown terror groups.
These fears are partly fuelled by what is happening in
other parts of the world like Afghanistan, Pakistan,
and Yemen, where radical Islamic militants have
often justified their actions as part of their resistance
to US involvements in Islamic territories. Perhaps this
fear also explains why Nigeria, for much of the
country’s battle against the home-grown Islamic
insurgent group Boko Haram, has for long resisted
the visible intervention of the US to help address its
terrorist activities.
The question now is whether the US military
intervention will be managed in a consistent and
transparent manner that will assuage people’s fears
and reflect national priorities in effectively
addressing militant insurgent threats against civilian
populations.
Will these efforts help diminish insurgent activities or
increase them to further compromise African
countries’ securities? And finally, how could a
possible increase in insurgent activities affect the
development prospect of the continent now courted
by different business organisations? African leaders
and the Pentagon alike will do well in attending to
these pressing questions.

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