Norms and Values
The Role of Advanced Technologies in Destabilising the Political Situation in Sub-Saharan Africa

The problem of ensuring peace and security continues to be one of the key challenges facing African countries, which, of course, creates certain obstacles to sustainable development. Protests in Africa vary in nature and intensity. In some countries, they have developed into a protracted civil war between various factions, while in other countries they’ve managed to proceed with fewer casualties.

We propose dividing all conflicts on the African continent into four broad categories:

1. Inter-ethnic conflicts. Their emergence is due to the fact that almost all African states, with rare exceptions, are very multinational and obviously the tribes and peoples living in a particular territory sometimes have insoluble contradictions that are resolved by force.

2. Border conflicts – caused by the fact that state borders in African countries, in most cases, do not coincide with the boundaries of tribes and nationalities, since when dividing Africa, the European colonial powers did not take into account the boundaries between the ancient territories of various African peoples.

3. Religious conflicts – usually associated with the growth of Islamic fundamentalism and extremism, which further aggravates emerging conflicts.

4. Conflicts on socio-economic grounds – in many African countries there are many socio-economic problems, which can also ignite protest sentiments.

Norms and Values
The Problem of Technological Sovereignty in the Era of Artificial Intelligence (Using the Example of Sub-Saharan African Countries)
Konstantin Pantserev
Technological innovations that African states are so proud of are often based on Western technologies, and the world’s largest IT companies, such as Microsoft, IBM and Google, under the pretext of introducing and localising their innovative technical solutions into the IT sector of African countries strive to gain a strong foothold in the promising African market, writes
Konstantin Pantserev.

Information technology, primarily social media and artificial intelligence (AI), is an effective tool that can spark conflict in almost any state on the continent.

Thus, social media can serve as a convenient means of communication between protesters. For example, in Cameroon, by 2016, the conflict between the French-speaking and English-speaking regions of the country had sharply worsened. As a result, on October 1, 2017, the independence of the Federal Republic of Ambazonia (FRA) was proclaimed and the Provisional Government of Ambazonia was formed, which the central authorities of Cameroon, as expected, did not recognise.

This is where we should point out the important role that social media played in igniting this conflict, since with their help the Provisional Government promotes ideas of independence and receives material assistance from its supporters outside Cameroon. In order to somehow limit the Provisional Government of Ambazonia in the use of this resource, access to the Internet on the territory of Cameroon was limited for six months.

Terrorist groups operating in African countries are also actively beginning to introduce advanced technologies into their daily activities. All this has even given rise to the concept of “Terrorism 2.0.” Boko Haram, for example, actively uses drones for surveillance, which are reportedly more advanced than those used by the government. Al-Shabaab terrorists are actively engaged in promoting ideas through social media, which has resulted in the group being accused of “Twitter terrorism” and hate speech, leading to the closure of a number of their Twitter accounts.

The case of South Africa is also interesting; in September 2019 there was a wave of riots motivated by xenophobic sentiments after truck drivers went on strike to protest against the employment of foreigners. While no Nigerians were harmed as a result of the unrest, fake videos and images quickly appeared on social media depicting Nigerians being attacked, killed and deported en masse.

As a result of these fake videos, Nigeria withdrew its delegation from a major international conference in South Africa and announced the evacuation of its citizens from that country. This event forced the South African government to formally apologize to Nigeria for the xenophobic attacks that caused the surge in tensions between the two countries, and to assure its Nigerian partners that all cases of pogroms targeting Nigerian-owned businesses would be thoroughly investigated.

I would like to draw special attention to this case, as the malicious use of advanced technologies to incite conflict between two countries, in a region in which many countries have unresolved disputes and claims against each other, poses a very serious threat to international security, since any such clash could escalate into another full-scale armed conflict on the continent.

Norms and Values
Training Highly Qualified Personnel for African Countries: The Role of Russia
Konstantin Pantserev
Russia is extremely interested in making education accessible to Africans. Today, according to various estimates, about 35,000 students from Africa study at Russian universities. In order to make education in Russia more accessible to students from Africa, the Russian-African Network University was created in August 2021, in which 12 Russian universities participate, Konstantin Pantserev writes.
Views expressed are of individual Members and Contributors, rather than the Club's, unless explicitly stated otherwise.