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The Challenge of Security and Development in Africa

Vice Admiral Michael T. Franken, Deputy Commander for Military Operations, US Africa Command (AFRICOM)

February 27, 2017

The Africa Studies program hosted a discussion on the Washington, DC campus with Vice Admiral Michael Franken of the US Africa Command (AFRICOM). Franken gave an overview of the challenges inherent in US policy towards the continent. He emphasized the need to develop educational opportunities, support infrastructure investment, expand transportation networks, and better utilize power sources to bolster growth in Africa. Franken also underscored the future geopolitical and economic importance of Africa as well as promising trends in its recent evolution.

Africa continues to face many issues, Franken said, including mass migration, violent extremist organizations, trafficking networks, and corrupt governance that often hamstring prospects for further development. Franken shared about the ways AFRICOM relies on cooperating with a broad swath of host nations, allies, partners, and multinational bodies in order to combat the security related dimensions of these problems. Franken concluded by stressing that AFRICOM will continue to focus on containing and defeating militant groups Al-Shabaab, ISIL, and Boko Haram, on stemming illicit trafficking activities, developing capacities, and providing humanitarian disaster relief to achieve these objectives.

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