The changing character of African armed forces


A symposium organised from 5-6 October by the Strategic Research Institute of the Military Academy (IRSEM) in Paris, addressed the many challenges that African armies face. Contrary to popular belief, "their budgets are very small, their sizes have been reduced and the people are not invested in the armed forces," said Sonia Le Gouriellec, the co-organizer of the symposium. About 85% of African countries have been affected by coups, and almost every African country has experienced military rule. However, armies can also play a positive role; for example, in Burkina Faso, the military cleared the way for a demographic transition. Many African armies are now transitioning from the model that emerged after independence to a model more suited to contemporary warfare. How can they effectively combat jihadi terrorism? How can they improve governance? Nigeria is by far the leading military power in West Africa and the fourth largest on the continent.

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