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AFRICOM and US-Africa Relations

Knox Chitiyo and Adrian Johnson
Conference Reports, 6 November 2009
US Defence Policy, International Security Studies, Africa
A summary of the presentations and discussion from the February 2008 conference

There has been enormous global interest - and controversy - regarding the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM). Although not an entirely new initiative - AFRICOM has been in gestation for several years - it is likely to become the most significant US military initiative in Africa.

AFRICOM will lead to the establishment of a unified US command for Africa. The stated goal of AFRICOM is to help build the capacity of African nations and regional and continental organisations, to promote peace and security and respond to crises on the continent. AFRICOM is also likely to have a significant developmental impact.

Although AFRICOM currently remains housed within the US European Command (EUCOM) in Germany, there has been a great deal of speculation and commentary about AFRICOM's intentions, capabilities, launch date and headquarter[s] in Africa. There has been a mixed response from African states, with some being supportive, and others being highly critical of the endeavour. However, although there may be no consensus within or outside Africa, on how to respond to AFRICOM, no one can be in any doubt that this is a major policy initiative from Washington.

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