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Beyond Boundaries in Eastern Africa: Part 5

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By Brian Finlay, Veronica Tessler and Johan Bergenas – A five part series that started on Monday in the World Politics Review examines security and development aid in East Africa. This is the final entry in the series. The series is based on a new report from the Stimson Center and the Stanley Foundation, Beyond Boundaries in Eastern Africa, that examines security and development aid and capacity building in East Africa.

Beyond Boundaries in Eastern Africa, Part 5

In East Africa, pressing regional challenges — including the inability to detect and treat disease, the flow of illicit firearms across unsecured borders and the spread of deadly terrorist operations
— are intimately connected to, and directly undercut, international
efforts to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Enduring armed conflicts, organized criminal activity and poor health
all contribute to poverty and hamper economic development, which in turn
diminishes governments’ ability to effectively address national
security objectives. Meanwhile, determined proliferators are likely to
thrive in places where security infrastructure is weak, taking advantage
of lax monitoring and regulation. Limited capacities across the region,
combined with diminishing foreign assistance as a result of the global
financial crisis and the growing confluence of security and development
challenges, suggest that we can no longer manage these issues in
isolation.

Hence, the case for better leveraging foreign
assistance dollars with a dual-benefit approach has never been stronger.
Traditional security-related assistance can be tapped to help meet
internal development goals and human security priorities while
simultaneously addressing international counterterrorism and
nonproliferation obligations. This assistance can go further than
single-purpose aid and is more sustainable. U.N. Security Council
Resolutions 1373, on counterterrorism, and 1540, on nonproliferation, offer opportunities to do just that.
The net result is a durable and sustainable relationship for
governments working toward similar goals and a regional dialogue that
better meets both recipient and donor objectives.

Read the complete article here.

Beyond Boundaries in Eastern Africa, Part 4

On July 11, 2010, bombs ripped through crowds
gathered to watch the World Cup soccer final in downtown Kampala,
Uganda, leaving 76 dead and 85 wounded. Al-Shabaab, a Somalia-based
terrorist organization, quickly claimed responsibility, asserting that
the attack was in response to Uganda’s support for the African Union’s
U.N.-backed peacekeeping mission in Somalia. The attack constituted
al-Shabaab’s first major assault beyond Somalia and the deadliest in
East Africa since the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings. It opened a new
chapter for the region, raising the prospects of increased insecurity
and regional instability, while simultaneously dealing a significant
blow to prospects for economic growth and development.

Read the complete article here.

Beyond Boundaries in Eastern Africa, Part 3

Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan famously called small arms and light weapons (SALW)
“the weapons of choice for the killers of our time.” Perhaps in no
other part of the world does that characterization ring more true than
in East Africa, where the AK-47 is the weapon of choice for insurgents,
terrorists and organized criminal syndicates. Regrettably, the weapon’s
impact goes far beyond its immediate capacity to kill and maim: The
trafficking of these arms in East Africa undermines all aspects of human
security and diminishes prospects for economic development.

As a
result of the many armed conflicts that have plagued the region since
the end of colonial rule, the demand for small arms has skyrocketed,
resulting in a massive influx of foreign-made weapons as well as an
increase in domestic production. Although the aggregate number of small
arms in East Africa is unknown, of the 640 million in circulation
worldwide, 100 million are believed to be present on the wider African continent.

Read the complete article here.

Beyond Boundaries in Eastern Africa, Part 2

As the burden of disease declines in much of the world, urbanization and
changing lifestyles in Africa, coupled with inadequate public health
infrastructure, threaten to deepen a longstanding public health crisis.
Increased and novel sources of funding are badly needed to bolster
infrastructure and secure tentative gains made over the past decade.

This crisis threaten not only dense communities but also populations
beyond municipal and even national boundaries. Yet public health
agencies across the continent suffer an endemic lack of financial
resources, equipment and human capacity. Even for Kenya and other states
that have invested a larger share of resources in public health
infrastructure, weak capacity in neighboring states create a significant
threat of disease importation. Polio outbreaks in Kenya in 2006 and
2009, for instance, were associated with ongoing outbreaks in Somalia
and Sudan, respectively. Although these incidents were eventually
contained, the inability to adequately detect incidents early and
intervene effectively could result in much greater public health
disasters in the future.

There is little doubt that appropriate,
robust and sustainable health systems across the region are essential to
reversing the unacceptably high incidence of infectious disease. And
the links between improved health and economic development mean that
such systems are equally integral to breaking the vicious circle of
poverty in Africa.

Read the complete article here.

Beyond Boundaries in Eastern Africa, Part 1

In parts of East Africa, the poverty rate exceeds 80 percent.
Disease, food insecurity and a lack of affordable health care and
education are just a few of the profound challenges also facing the
region. New and festering conflicts contribute to the shackles of
poverty, as widespread violence across East African countries
significantly hampers prospects for economic development. While many
parts of the world have experienced a decrease in armed conflict in
recent years, Africa continues to be a hotbed of violence, fueled by the
millions of small arms and light weapons illicitly circulating
throughout the continent.

These developmental and human security challenges make East
Africa a potential locus for a wider array of threats, from WMD transit
and proliferation to global terrorism, while simultaneously limiting the
ability of regional governments to disrupt these activities. Although
it is clear that the proliferation supply chain is no longer restricted
to wealthy, technologically advanced countries, and that all governments
need to work more toward countering proliferation, there remains a deep
divide between “hard security” issues — nonproliferation and
counterterrorism — and human security and development challenges.
Developing states, including those in East Africa, are unlikely to
allocate scarce resources toward WMD nonproliferation in the face of
more-immediate human security and development challenges.

Read the complete article here.

 

 

Check out the new report from the Stimson Center and the Stanley Foundation, Beyond Boundaries in Eastern Africa

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