The New US Plan for West Africa: Dead on Arrival?

US policy in West Africa has yet to deliver results. In December 2023, the DoD announced to the House Foreign Affairs Committee a two-phase plan of action in response to growing instability across the Sahel. Given the increasing encroachment of Russian influence through the Africa Corps and bilateral agreements in the region, the US has opted to court West African states as a means to prevent the flow of instability and waning Western influence. However, such efforts have yet to show any meaningful change on the continent or within US interests. 

Key Judgement 1. It is likely that the US will prioritise bilateral agreements with coastal West African states over the next 12 months to increase US influence and regional security among democratic governments.

Key Judgement 2. It is likely that the US will attempt to relocate their ISR assets to West Africa over the next 12 months as Niger expands bilateral relations with Russia.

Key Judgement 3. Nigeria’s human rights record will likely prevent the US from supplying major arms to the military over the next 12 months.

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