The Washington-based Hollings Center for International Dialogue just published a summary of its March 2017 dialogue on “Middle East and U.S. Relations with the Greater Horn of Africa.”
The summary notes the growing involvement in the Greater Horn of Africa of the Gulf States, Turkey and Iran. It suggests what the United States needs to understand as these actors impact the economic, security, and religious situation in this region.
Africa in recent years has attracted the attention of new global actors such as Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, and other Gulf states, due to its growing markets, vast natural resources, and geostrategic importance. Non-state actors from the Middle East have also taken an interest in Africa by establishing religious and ideological education projects and by providing humanitarian aid to areas affected by civil and interstate conflicts. Investors from the Middle East have increased their investments in the region in the areas of agriculture, banking, infrastructure, retail, and telecommunications.
The Hollings Center convened a group of academics, businesspeople, journalists, and civil society representatives from Africa, the Middle East, Turkey, and the United States to understand the strategic objectives of these relationships, to assess the impact of the economic, business, political, military, and religious relations outside actors are cultivating in the Greater Horn, and to explore what this increased involvement means for the US and other actors who have historically strong ties with Africa.