The EU reached a deal with Mali earlier this month for the return of asylum seekers from Europe and to tackle the local ‘root causes of immigration’. However, the deal will only work if internal security in Mali is supported. And there, the story is less than encouraging.
Somalia will continue to dominate the 2012 agenda for East African states as the humanitarian impact of famine and ongoing fighting pulls in regional and international actors. Now embroiled in military operations, Kenya also faces a big year for domestic politics. Other regional dynamics are tying together Uganda and South Sudan, and Kenya and Eritrea, who are all facing political challenges.
With fewer elections scheduled for 2012 in West Africa, the emphasis will shift to regional security and dealing with complex security threats. Terrorist groups and local militias are still a major problem, while religious conflict and instability threaten the region’s largest economy; Nigeria.