Following a series of allegations of human rights abuses committed by the Forces armées maliennes (FAMa) within the context of their collaboration with the Russian paramilitary outfit Wagner, members of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations have since March been pondering their stance towards the United Nations mission in Mali, MINUSMA.
Amid Europe's gradual military withdrawal from Mali and as peacekeeping needs grow in the Central African Republic, three states are jostling for lucrative troop contribution contracts. But the UN's strict rules on equipment and training place tall hurdles in the way of their ambitions.
A number of senior UN posts, which have traditionally gone to diplomats from francophone Africa, are now being fought over by anglophone and lusophone African states. Meanwhile, the position for head of the Department of Peace Operations, Paris's preserve for the best part of two decades and currently headed by Frenchman Jean-Pierre Lacroix, is being chased by China.
In Mali, as in the Central African Republic, UN peacekeeping missions are increasingly reaching out to private contractors to hire drones to boost their intelligence capabilities, in a move backed at the highest level in New York.
Two months before he takes over the chairmanship of the African Union, Senegalese president Macky Sall has stepped up his diplomatic activities on the world stage. Highlights include the recent G20 summit and the upcoming peace forums in Paris and Dakar.