Terms of Reference:

The Role of Non-State Actors in Sub-Saharan Africa

Requirement: What role will non-state actors (NSAs) play and what impact will NSAs have in Sub-Saharan Africa over the next five years?
  • What is the likely importance of NSAs vs. State Actors, Supra-State Actors and other relevant categories of actors in Sub-Saharan Africa?
  • What are the roles of these actors in key countries, such as Niger?
  • Are there geographic, cultural, economic or other patterns of activity along which the roles of these actors are either very different or strikingly similar?
What analytical processes and methodologies were applied to the questions above and which proved to be effective or ineffective?

Using wiki software for capturing all activities,
  • The team will devise a collection plan and then use different methodologies to measure the effectiveness of NSAs in their respective environments.
    • The team will divide Sub-Saharan Africa into equal portions (approximately ten countries per analyst) for the collection process.
  • The team will evaluate NSAs in their respective nation/states and regions, and also compare and contrast the roles of NSAs with that of state and supra-state actors.
  • The team will record its processes and methodologies and evaluate which methods provided the most indicative information and analytical confidence.
    • Analysts will maintain and compare analytical journals detailing the processes utilized to complete analysis.
  • Methodologies may include but are not limited to:
    • Analysis of Competing Hypotheses.
    • Demographic Analysis.
    • Geographic Analysis.
    • Social Network Analysis.
    • Regression Analysis.
    • Link Analysis.
    • Citation Analysis.
    • Multi-Attribute Analysis.

  • Sub-Saharan Africa is a large geographical area comprised of 42 countries and six island nations, which may make information collection and research difficult.
  • There may be limited access to accurate translations of foreign reports.
  • The team lacks experience in some analytical methodologies and will be applying newly learned analytical processes throughout the course of the project.
  • The team has limited access to proprietary databases.
  • The team has access to only open source material.
  • The short time frame of this project may affect collection and production time.
  • The team members have additional academic requirements and extracurricular activities.

  • Team members have access to some proprietary databases including Lexis Nexis, Jane’s, and EBSCOhost.
  • Team members have access to a wide variety of open source material.
  • Past Mercyhurst College country security projects are available for reference to specific countries within Sub-Saharan Africa.

  • A final product, which will be in the form of an electronic Wiki, will be due between 4 November and 14 November 2007. A specific date and time will be determined later.
  • Using PowerPoint, the team will provide the decisionmaker with a briefing of the key findings from the project.
  • Communication between the decisionmaker and the team will occur primarily through e-mail and on an as needed basis.
  • Contact Information:
Kristan Wheaton
814-824 2023

Mark Blair

Dan McNulty

Brittany Monteparte

Andreea Neagu

Adrienne Sluga