West Africa’s contemporary threat vector in the context of armoured vehicle operations and requirements
There is an enduring threat of militant and insurgency operations and a growing complexity of contemporary threats presently causing risks to internal security across Africa. This, coupled with the lack of updated armoured vehicle equipment, programmes and training, has meant that sub-Saharan defence budgets are being focused towards modernisation plans, procurement priorities and indeed the investment and strengthening of local industrial bases to promote stability in Africa.
Sub-Saharan defence budgets are – like many militaries worldwide – cash strapped. Despite this, a number of modernisation programmes and procurement initiatives are valued continent-wide at up to $20 billion over the next decade for armoured and tactical vehicles alone.
The largest armoured vehicle market remains in the North and West where countries like Nigeria are battling Islamist insurgencies. They are faced with increasingly widespread improvised explosive devices and are working to keep a lid on violent uprisings.
While there are various regional bodies actively addressing conflict situations – for example, the African Union and ECOWAS – driving factors behind the African nations’ defence policy relate to both conventional and unconventional warfare. In terms of the conventional, there is a concern on containing any possible threats from neighbouring countries. As for the unconventional, African nations continue to face considerable threats from insurgency groups. Many of these threats have also triggered the need to increase participation in international operations from militaries globally. Recent events in Mali, for instance, which have seen the international cooperation of the US, France, and the UK who assisted in ground military combat operations, training and logistical support.