Peace is good for business. Just ask anyone who owns an oil field in Africa.
China began deploying soldiers to a U.N. peacekeeping force in South Sudan in September to help guard their beleaguered oil fields, and Frontier Services Group, led by former Blackwater founder, Eric Prince, is on the scene at the request of the South Sudan government to help repair state-owned oil facilities ravaged by civil war.
With so many peacekeeping missions underway to advance business, national reconciliation and dialogue in sub-Saharan Africa, it’s starting to get difficult to keep track of all the players in region.
“Peacekeeping is…becoming a more crowded field, involving diverse actors and even parallel missions,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Dec. 16, underscoring his inquiry to address peacekeeping operations issues.
There has been an explosion of U.N. peacekeeping operations in Africa, said John Campbell, a U.S. ambassador to Nigeria from 2004 to 2007, “In other words, it’s the ‘flavor of the month,’” he told AFKInsider. Campbell is a senior fellow for Africa policy studies at the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations.
Currently, there are UN peacekeeping operations in Central African Republic, Mali, Democratic Republic of the Congo, South Sudan, Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia. Last weekend, fighting took place in several locations in the Central African Republic between anti-Balaka members and peacekeepers.
“Historically, international peacekeeping operations have strictly been U.N. operations, but we have also have seen regional initiatives,” said Mark Schroeder, vice president of Africa analysis at U.S.-based global intelligence and advisory firm Stratfor. “And the African Union is a great example,” Schroeder told AFKInsider.
The African Union-UN Hybrid operation in Darfur was established in July 2007 and since then there have been 212 fatalities.