Definition Extra-Government:

The term Extra-Government refers to activities and relationships beyond or counter to the control and/or regulation of the government. Such activities would include violence, bribery, extortion, unsanctioned demonstration, riots, etc. Relationships falling into this category include nepotism, ideological/religious alignment, ethnic ties, etc. Governments with weak regulations and/or institutions to enforce them provide ample opportunities for these activities and relationships to be used by actors to gain influence.

Definition Government Sanctioned:

The term Government Sanctioned refers to activities and relationships which are sanctioned, regulated, and protected by the government. Such activities include lobbyism, activism/lawful demonstration, strikes, selling and acquisition of property/mineral rights, etc. Relationships falling into this category include labor unions, political parties, religious assemblies, civil society, etc. Governments with strong regulations and institutions to enforce them, provide and guarantee that these activities and relationships can be used by actors to gain influence.

Definition Of A Non-State Actor:

From the National Intelligence Council: Non-state actors are non-sovereign entities that exercise significant economic, political, social, power and influence at a national and in some cases international, level. This includes multinational corporations, NGOs, and super-empowered individuals.

Summary:
  • A person or organization which plays a role in politics and receives minimal direct, obligatory direction from a state.

May include, but not limited to:
  • Terrorist Groups
  • Paramilitary Groups
  • Tribal Orgs.
  • Sub-national Governments
  • Criminal Organizations
  • NGOs
  • Multinational corporations
  • Private business

Definition State-Actor:

A person or organization that plays a role in politics and directly represents the governing power of a state and/or receives direct, obligatory direction from a state.

Definition Supra-State Actor:

A person or organization which plays a role in politics, normally consisting of multiple states, which exercises directive authority over multiple states.
  • United Nations (UN)
  • European Union (EU)
  • African Union (AU)
  • International Monetary Fund (IMF)

Definition Role:

A geopolitical actor's role in the international interplay of Sub-Saharan Africa have two perspectives from which assessments must be made:
  1. Functional Role:
    • Does the non-state actor perform a function that will inspire other actors to preserve it?
      • Does the non-state actor perform a sub-function to a larger effort?
      • Does the non-state actor perform a function that relieves pressure on actors?
      • Does the non-state actor perform a function that empowers other actors? (religious leaders, etc)
    • Does the non-state actor perform a function that is paramount to stability in the region (to be defined)?
      • Region: Local, State, National, Supra National?
    • Is the non-state actor capable of maintaining its role in a fluid environment?
      • Dangers to non-state actor's role performance?
      • Indicators of change in non-state actor's role?
  2. Influential Role in Geopolitics:
    • Does the non-state actor wield influence geopolitical interplay?
      • Does the non-state actor direct or control the behavior of other actors?
      • Does the non-state actor direct or control the behavior of a populace?
      • Does the non-state actor direct or control the perception of a populace?
    • Does a non-state actor perform a function which affords it the ability to negotiate, threaten, or pressure other actors into bending to its will?
      • Is the non-state actor exempt from certain local/state/international laws, mandates, or regulations?
      • Does the non-state actor gain undue funding from other actors?
      • Does the non-state actor directly oppose more powerful, more affluent actors.
    • Does the non-state actor represent the will and support of a larger populace?
      • Does the non-state actor maintain the negotiating authority between an ethnic, political, religious, etc populace and other actors?
      • Does the non-state actor command paramilitary, insurgent, partisan, etc. forces?
      • Does the non-state actor perform governance functions for a regional area and/or people?

Definition Role Potential:

Role Potential refers to the types of opportunities a state provides for actors to gain influence and play a role in geopolitics. Role potentials are generally divided into two categories: extra-government and government sanction role potentials (see definitions above).