Megatrends such as climate change, digitalisation, and urbanisation are transforming all aspects of politics, economics and society in Africa. Consequently, they are also affecting conflict dynamics. This Working Paper focuses specifically on how megatrends are altering patterns of foreign intervention in African conflicts. Two aspects stand out: the range of intervening powers is widening, and they are intervening increasingly at arm’s length by delegating to human or technical surrogates.
Security cooperation has become vital for protecting China’s interests and investments in Africa, especially in the geopolitically important Horn of Africa (HoA). Now, it recently launched the ‘Initiative of Peaceful Development in the Horn of Africa’ and appointed its first special envoy for the region. Both steps suggest that China seeks to become a more prominent development and security provider in the region. As the EU and Germany currently re-evaluate their relations with Beijing as much as with African partner countries, questions arise about the substance of the HoA initiative and what the consequences for peace and security in the region could be.
The range of external actors intervening in internal conflicts on the African continent has undergone a noticeable change. Three states in particular are intervening in a growing number of African conflicts: the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Turkey, and Russia. Their expanding footprint shows that the multipolar disorder that has characterised wars in the Middle East now also affects much of Africa.