LCBC : a strong alliance to fight Boko Haram and to support economic developments.

LCBC : a strong alliance to fight Boko Haram and to support economic developments.

Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon are part of Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC). These countries have gone through a series of economic and political ties to grow their economies and to control security issues.

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Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon sharing common borders at the lake Chad, are part of Lake Chad Basin Commission (LCBC). These countries have gone through a series of economic and political ties to grow their economies and to control security issues.

In this regard, Cameroon stands as a model economy as analyzed in our previous article on Cameroon’s succesfull economic situation. The three countries who have managed to assuage their conflicts related to natural ressources ownership have now formed a powerful military joint task force to eliminate terrorism : and it works.

The Expansion of Boko Haram in the LCBC Region

Map-of-the-Lake-Chad-Basin2

Map-of-the-Lake-Chad-Basin2

Originally, Boko Haram’s activity was mainly concentrated in Nigeria’s Borno state, its historic stronghold. However, since 2014, the threat has become more regional, and attacks on civilians and military positions have multiplied in northern Cameroon since March 2014 and in southern Niger and western Chad since early 2015.

Boko Haram has already claimed more than 35,000 lives and caused the displacement of 1.8 million people from north-eastern Nigeria (source UNDP). More than 10.7 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, and famine is estimated to have already affected 65,000 people. Without urgent action, this figure could rise to 120,000 by mid-year. In Cameroon, 200,000 people have been forced to flee their homes and close to 3 million people are expected to need humanitarian assistance this year.

Increasing manslaughter and acts of terrorism, which includes suicide bombings using children and women has set a major ‘Red Flag’ for each country who then has responded by setting up the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF).  The alliance has been very efficient in stopping the expansion of Boko Haram’s territory, which is already as big as Belgium.

The Joint Task Force was also formed to deal with the food shortages, resulting from Boko Haram terrorist activity in the area and which requires an aid of $232 million to feed victims in the Lake Chad area as emphasized by Michael Olukayode – Bloomberg). MNJTF aims to anihilate  Boko Haram and its soldiers by enforcing strong military presence over Lake Chad . Nevertheless, the group’s attacks remain persistent and its tactical sophistication has increased.

Nigeria’s relationship with Cameroon and Chad to maintain peace

Even if Nigeria shares land borders with Cameroon, recent terrorist activity in the region has forced the closure of the borders, which has drastically affected trade movements between the three countries.

Nigeria exports its oil back to Chad and Cameroon and therefore has signed multiple trade and military treaties to promote and facilitate flows between its neighboring countries. Exports from Nigeria to Chad are now routed via Cameroons’ road network as Chad does not share maritime boundaries with Nigeria.

In Cameroon, the currency devaluation has strengthened exporters ‘competitiveness and therefore has triggered the developments of exports to Nigeria and neighboring countries.  The joint task force has permitted to ensure the protection of these exchanges, for the benefit of these economies.

Although Nigeria, Chad and Cameroon have a long history of trade and ressources related conflicts, the new trade agreements have provided a very positive outlook for their mutual developments. However, to completely adress the problem in the area, strong attention has to be focused to environmental issue afflicting lake Chad. Water depletion of the lake has reduced its surface by 20% over the last decade, affecting the living condition of the population. These poor condition constitue the fuel that boosts the ranks of Boko Haram.

These countries will have won a serious fight against the threat of extremism and terrorism through their ability to cooperate on both economic and military issues. However, the fight is not over yet, that will require even more extended cooperation between the members of the LCBC , and an especially more focused strategy dedicated to the preservation of natural ressources in the area.

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