Posts Tagged 'AFRICOM'

Africa Snapshot: Cameroon

Cameroon lies at the junction of western and central Africa. The nation is currently hosting this year’s Africa Endeavor, an annual 1n-day communications exercise focusing on interoperability and information sharing among African partners.  The goal of Africa Endeavor is to develop command, control, and communication tactics, techniques, and procedures that can be used by the African Union in support of future combined humanitarian, peacekeeping, peace support and anti-terrorism operations.

Population: According to the CIA World Factbook, the population will be around 20 million this summer.

Languages: English and French are the official languages of Cameroon, but there are 24 major African language groups in the country, as well.

Religion: 40% of the population practices indigenous beliefs.  Another 40% of the population is Christian, while the other 20% is Muslim.

History: Malaria kept Europeans out of Cameroon until the 1860s, when they began establishing coastal trade and slave trade. Christian missions put down roots in the late 1800s, and they continue to play a role today.  In 1884, all of present-day Cameroon and parts of its neighboring areas became a colony of Germany called Kamerun.  After World War I, the colony was divided between Britain and France. In 1955, an armed struggle to gain independence in French Cameroon began. Independence was achieved in 1960.  A year later, the largely Muslim, northern two-thirds of British Cameroon voted to join Nigeria, while the largely Christian southern third voted to join the Republic of Cameroon, thus forming the Federal Republic of Cameroon. The federation was replaced with a unitary state in 1972. Paul Biya has been president since 1982. He was re-elected to another seven-year term in October 2011.

Economy: Cameroon faces some of the same challenges as other underdeveloped countries, but it does have oil resources and good conditions for agriculture. Foreign investors have become interested in diamond mining projects in Cameroon. Because Cameroon has one of the worst business environments in the world, many foreign investors do not pursue business ventures with the country. Human trafficking is also a serious issue.

Geography: Although Cameroon may look tiny on the map of Africa, it’s actually larger than California. Periodically, volcanos will release toxic gases. The most active volcano in West Africa is Mount Cameroon.

Relations with the United States: Relations between the two nations are good.  According to the U.S. Department of State Background Note on Cameroon, U.S. assistance to the African nation was over $26 million in 2010.

Sources: CIA Factbook State Department Background Note – Cameroon , Britannica Online, AllAfrica, Presidency of the Republic of Cameroon

Africa Snapshot: The Gambia

The smallest country on the continent of Africa, The Gambia is surrounded by Senegal and borders the North Atlantic Ocean.  From June 4 to 8, 2012, a workshop on “Practical Tools for Surveillance, Diagnosis, Prevention and Control of Major Transboundary Animal Diseases” is being held in Banjul, the capital of The Gambia.  The workshop is supported by US Africa Command and organized by the United States Department of Agriculture-Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Office for West and Central Africa, in collaboration with United States Agency for International Development-United States Department of Agriculture Sanitary and Phytosanitary adviser for West Africa and the Ministry of Agriculture of The Gambia.  Epidemiologists and lab technicians from The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone will be learning practical tools for the surveillance, diagnosis, prevention and control of six transboundary animal diseases. These diseases hamper the production of livestock and constrain economic development.

Population: According to the CIA World Factbook, the population was 1.78 million in 2009.

Languages: English is the official language, but Mandinka, Wolof, Fula, Jola, Sarahule and other indigenous languages are also spoken.

Religion: 90% of the population is Muslim.  8% practice Christianity, while 2% practice other religions. Gambians officially observe the holidays of both Islam and Christianity and practice religious tolerance.

History: Through written accounts of Arab traders coming through the region in the ninth and tenth centuries A.D., it is known that The Gambia was once part of the Mali and Kaabu Empires.  Arab traders established a trade route in that area for ivory, gold and slaves.  Using maritime routes, the Portuguese took over trade in the 15th century.  Exclusive trade rights to the Gambia River were sold to English merchants in the late 1500s.  In 1783, after years of struggle between England and France for control in the region, the Treaty of Versailles granted England possession of The Gambia.

It is believed that as many as 3 million slaves were taken from the region while the transatlantic slave trade operated.  In 1807, slave trade was abolished in the British Empire, and England tried unsuccessfully to abolish slave trade in The Gambia.   It finally came to an end in 1906 when slavery was abolished.  By that time, The Gambia was almost completely self-governed.

The Gambia’s troops fought with the Allies in Burma during World War II.  During this time in history, President Franklin D. Roosevelt spent the night in Banjul while en route to the Casablanca Conference.  This was the first visit to the continent by an American president in office.

Full self-government was granted in 1963, followed by independence from Great Britain in 1965.  The Gambia became a republic on April 24, 1970. The Gambia and Senegal signed a friendship and cooperation treaty in 1991, but tensions have sporadically flared between the two nations.

Economy: Agriculture accounts for 24% of the gross domestic product.  Peanuts and other crops are grown in the region, but livestock, fishing and forestry are also important.  Manufacturing activities include peanut processing, soap  and clothing.

Sources: CIA Factbook , State Department Background Note – The Gambia

Africa Snapshot: Djibouti

Located on the Horn of Africa, the Republic of Djibouti shares borders with Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia.  The country sits on the Bab el Mandeb Strait, which separates the Red Sea from the Gulf of Aden. Djibouti gained its independence from France on June 27, 1977, but keeps close ties with the European nation.  More than 75% of its population lives in urban areas.

Population: According to the CIA Factbook, the estimated population for July 2012 will be 774,389. The entire country is almost as big as the state of Massachusetts.

Languages: Most Djiboutians are multilingual; Arabic and French are the official languages of Djibouti, but Somali is the most widely spoken language. Afar is spoken in the Afar areas.

Religion: 94% of the population is Muslim, while 6% is Christian.

History: Early history of Djibouti was recorded through poems and songs. The earliest natives traded hides and skins for perfumes and other goods with people in Egypt, India and China.  Because of its proximity to the Arabian Peninsula,

the Somali and Afar tribes were the first on the continent to adopt Islam.

The French became increasingly interested in the area, then named French Somaliland, after the Suez Canal opened in 1869.    Trade flourished, and a new Franco-Ethiopian railway further increased trade relations. France struggled to maintain control of the region; after reorganizing, the colony was almost completely self-governed in the late 1950s.  In 1977, the colony became the Republic of Djibouti, and Hassan Gouled Aptidon was elected  the first president.  Djibouti still remains close to France, which provides economic aid and security.

Djibouti is the headquarters for the European Union’s “Atalanta” naval task force, which aids in the fight against piracy off the coast of Somalia. 

Economy: With few natural resources and little industry, Djibouti relies heavily on banking, telecommunications and trade. Due to its ideal location and status as a free-trade zone, Djibouti is considered to be the trade hub in the Horn of Africa. It is quite reliant on imported consumer products.  The Djibouti-Addis Abba railway is a crucial source of revenue for the country, especially since more than three-fifths of Djibouti’s workforce is unemployed.

Relationship with the United States: Djibouti has maintained a healthy relationship with the United States since its independence in 1977.  The U.S. has been instrumental in providing humanitarian aid to the country, particularly in famine relief.  In 2002, Djibouti agreed to host an American military presence of about 2,200 at Camp Lemonnier, a former French base.  The USAID’s Food for Peace program has a warehouse for pre-positioned emergency food relief in Djibouti.  It is the only one of its kind outside of the continental United States.


Sources: CIA Factbook , Brittanica Online , U.S. Department of State Background Note – Djibouti

AFRICOM is on Facebook in English, French and Arabic

If you are reading this blog, you already know that U.S. Africa Command is active online. AFRICOM regularly updates its website, blog, Facebook account, Twitter account, Flickr photostream, and YouTube channel. You can read about the Commander’s 2012 Posture Statement and  watch videos of air-drop exercises in Mali.

But did you know much of that information is available in Arabic and French, too?

When you visit the AFRICOM website at http://www.africom.mil, look to the top right corner for Français or Arabic to go to a Facebook page into French or Arabic. You’ll find a deep repository of information about the U.S. Africa Command to share with people who might be unfamiliar.

Both Facebook pages are designed to provide information and also to encourage dialogue.

You’ll find articles about African current events from various media sites such as France24 and Elaph. We are interested in hearing your thoughts and reactions, so feel free to comment on articles we share.

You can find even more information about AFRICOM inside the photo section of both the French and Arabic pages. Look for a photo album called Information Documents to find biographies of AFRICOM’s leadership and the commander’s posture statement.

Please let your friends who speak French and Arabic know about our French and Arabic Facebook pages. Thanks for spreading the word!

Are there other things you’d like to learn about AFRICOM? Are there other languages you’d like to share information about AFRICOM in? Let us know in the comments below. Thanks!

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Let’s say that again, but now in French …

Si vous lisez ce blog, vous savez déjà que le Commandement US pour l’Afrique (AFRICOM) est actif online. Son site Web, son blog, et ses comptes Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, et YouTube sont régulièrement mis à jour. Vous pouvez lire le rapport de positionnement du commandement de l’an 2012 et voir des vidéos des ravitaillements aériens lors des exercices au Mali.

Mais, saviez-vous que la plupart de ces renseignements sont également disponibles en arabe et en français?

Quand vous visitez le site Web de l’AFRICOM at http://www.africom.mil, vous verrez dans le coin haut à droite les mots Français et  عربي. Cliquez sur ces mots pour accéder aux pages Facebook de l’AFRICOM en français ou en arabe.

Vous trouverez une mine d’information sur le commandement que vous pouvez partager avec ceux qui seraient intéressés.

Ces deux pages Facebook sont conçues non seulement pour fournir des renseignements mais aussi pour inciter le dialogue.

Vous trouverez des articles sur l’actualité africaine provenant de différentes sources médiatiques arabophones et francophones. Nous nous intéressons à vos points de vue et à vos réactions aux sujets abordés, alors n’hésitez pas à commenter sur nos affichages.

Vous pouvez trouver d’avantage d’informations sur l’AFRICOM dans la section « photos » des deux pages, en français et en arabe. Rechercher un album photo appelé « Documents d’information » pour trouver les biographies des hauts dirigeants de l’AFRICOM et la déclaration du positionnement opérationnel du commandant.

S’il vous plaît, mettez vos amis qui parlent le français et l’arabe au courant de nos pages Facebook et des sites d’Africom.

Désiriez-vous d’autres renseignements sur l’AFRICOM? Dans quelles autres langues désiriez-vous nos services d’information ? Répondez sur les espaces réservés aux commentaires ci-dessous. Merci!

… and now in Arabic

AFRICOM Facebook page in Arabic


Results: Your favorite AFRICOM-related photo of March

Thanks to everyone who voted on their favorite AFRICOM-related photo in March. View the five contenders here, which represent a variety of efforts the U.S. is engaged in Africa, including well development, relationship building with our partner nations, theater security cooperation and maritime security operations.

The results are in, and the winner is …

… this well-drilling photo by Master Sgt. Hector Garcia of the U.S. Army 257th Engineer Team in Djibouti

U.S. Army Sgt. Clayburn Johnson (left) and Spc. Michael Knee (right), U.S. Army 257th Engineer Team members, observe the well development process of the second of four newly drilled wells just outside Camp Lemonnier here, March 12. This project allowed the team to evaluate the water tables in the aquifer and make plans for camp expansion. The well development project directly supports Camp Lemonnier’s initiative to identify alternative well locations and assist in development of camp infrastructure. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Hector Garcia)

Check out more photos by Master Sgt. Garcia in this photo album from the water drilling tests.

“The wells are part of a study to determine if pulling water from a beach aquifer is a viable option for removing Camp Lemonnier from the Djiboutian Fresh Water Aquifer and leaving that resource solely for the Djiboutians,” said U.S. Army Captain Joseph Bzdok, 257th Engineer Team commander. Read the full story here.

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The runner-up for favorite March photo is …

… this United Nations-Armed Forces of Liberia photo by 1st Lt. Mark Lazan

An Armed Forces of Liberia soldier, right, jumps to receive the tip against his Pakistan opponent during a basketball match between the AFL’s Armed Forces Training Center and their United Nations Mission in Liberia counterparts at Camp Sandee Ware, Liberia, March 21. The game was the final event of a three-day sports festival between the two organizations. The AFL team defeated the UNMIL team 19-17, giving them the overall title. The two organizations also played each other in soccer (won by the AFL) and volleyball (won by the Pakistan-based UNMIL squad). (photo by 1st Lt. Mark Lazan)

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Look for another monthly photographic round-up at the end of April. In the meantime, check out many more AFRICOM-related photos on our Flickr photostream.

All about U.S. Army Africa

While approximately 2,000 people work for U.S. Africa Command, most military-to-military events, operations, and exercises with our African partner nations are executed by “components.” These components set the conditions for success of our security cooperation programs and activities on the continent. They perform detailed planning, provide essential command and control, establish and sustain relationships with our partners, and provide timely assessments. This week, we take a quick look at each of the components that work with U.S. Africa Command:

History U.S. Army Africa was created in 2008 out of the Southern European Task Force, which was formally activated in 1955. Read all about the history here.

Location The SETAF headquarters moved to Caserma Carlo Ederle in Vicenza, Italy, in 1965, where U.S. Army Africa is located today.

USARAF Those who work with U.S. Army Africa often call it by its abbreviation, USARAF — pronounced U-SIR-RAFF.

Staff About 500 personnel work at U.S. Army Africa.

Military-to-military events U.S. Army Africa sponsors events with African partners. One of the most recent involved two soldiers from 1st Battalion, 17th Field Artillery Regiment, out of Fort Sill, Okla. They provided subject matter expert guidance on the artillery training on new M190A5 howitzers for the Moroccan 15th Royal Artillery Group. The artillery tactics exercise was held in the cities of Fes and Guercie, March 4-10, to help provide the Moroccan soldiers with training on the maintenance, safety and firing of the M109A5 system. Read more about the howitzer training.

Atlas Accord This multinational annual exercise was held this year in Mali, bringing together U.S. Army personnel and military members from our African partner nations. The exercise focused on enhancing air drop capabilities and ensuring effective delivery of military resupply materials and humanitarian aid. Learn more in our 10 Things about Atlas Accord blog post.

Leadership  Major General David R. Hogg has served as the commander of U.S. Army Africa since June 10, 2010. He was commissioned as an Armor Officer as a graduate from the United States Military Academy.  Major General Hogg was previously the Deputy Commanding General, Combined Security Transition Command – Afghanistan. Read more about his bio or watch a video of Major General Hogg talking about the importance of building strong relationships with our African partners.

Interested in learning more? Look through a list of recommended reading in the U.S. Army Africa Reading Room.

Vote for your favorite AFRICOM-related photo of March

Here are a few of our favorite photos from March from around U.S. Africa Command, our components and partner organizations and nations.  (You are also welcome to nominate a photo that’s not listed here, as long as it relates to U.S. Africa Command’s mission and the photo was taken in March.)

Which is your favorite and why?

Tell us your vote in the comments section. We’ll announce the winner next Monday.


USS Simpson performs daily operations

Senegal: USS Simpson performs daily operations

DAKAR, Senegal (Mar. 10, 2012) – Ensign Tom Callahan uses a laser rangefinder while standing junior officer of the deck watch aboard the guided-missile frigate USS Simpson (FFG 56) as the ship leaves Dakar after refueling. Simpson is conducting theater security cooperation and maritime security operations in the U.S. Naval Forces Africa area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jeff Troutman/Released)

Watch a slideshow of more photos from USS Simpson.

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Liberia:

An Armed Forces of Liberia soldier, right, jumps to receive the tip against his Pakistan opponent during a basketball match between the AFL’s Armed Forces Training Center and their United Nations Mission in Liberia counterparts at Camp Sandee Ware, Liberia, March 21. The game was the final event of a three-day sports festival between the two organizations. The AFL team defeated the UNMIL team 19-17, giving them the overall title. The two organizations also played each other in soccer (won by the AFL) and volleyball (won by the Pakistan-based UNMIL squad).

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Djibouti:

U.S. Army Sgt. Clayburn Johnson (left) and Spc. Michael Knee (right), U.S. Army 257th Engineer Team members, observe the well development process of the second of four newly drilled wells just outside Camp Lemonnier here, March 12. This project allowed the team to evaluate the water tables in the aquifer and make plans for camp expansion. The well development project directly supports Camp Lemonnier’s initiative to identify alternative well locations and assist in development of camp infrastructure. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Hector Garcia)

View the photo album from the water drilling tests.

“The wells are part of a study to determine if pulling water from a beach aquifer is a viable option for removing Camp Lemonnier from the Djiboutian Fresh Water Aquifer and leaving that resource solely for the Djiboutians,” said U.S. Army Captain Joseph Bzdok, 257th Engineer Team commander. Read the full story here.

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Benin: Daily life at the fish market

Staff Sgt. Olufemi Owolabi, U.S. Africa Command Public Affairs, covered the Maritime Safety and Security Conference hosted and facilitated by U.S. AFRICOM and the Africa Center. The seminar brings together nations of West and Central Africa to discuss maritime safety issues, including ways to combat piracy and illicit trafficking. Femi got to visit the fish market during a break. (U.S. Africa Command photo by Staff Sgt. Olufemi Owolabi)

Read a story about the Maritime Safety and Security Conference  gathering of representatives from Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

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Morocco: U.S. Soldiers Observe Training at Moroccan Field Artillery Center

MOROCCO, Mar 26, 2012 — In order to help improve the security of Morocco, 20 members of the 15th Royal Artillery Group purchased approximately 60 armored vehicles called M109A5 howitzers through the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program.

At the request of the Royal Moroccan Field Artillery Training Center, an artillery tactics military-to-military exercise was executed in the cities of Fes and Guercie, March 4-10, 2012 to help provide the Moroccan soldiers with training on the maintenance, safety and firing of the M109A5 system.

Read the story here.

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