The success of the African Union in advancing a security agenda for the continent has been widely acknowledged. Through the Peace and Security Council, supplemented by other institutional developments, the AU has been able to evolve and nurture a range of responses to the security challenges facing the continent. This paper reviews the progress made to date, and identifies the critical decisions that lie ahead – principally the character of and funding for any permanent crisis response mechanism to be administered under the auspices of the AU. What steps need to be taken to secure the political will within the AU for such an initiative? And can the AU take responsibility for the funding of any such force? These challenges remain formidable, and the paper will identify the obstructions that need to be removed if the AU is to realise the aspiration of full African ownership of conflict management on the continent.
Peace and Security Council of the African Union – Declaratory Optimism and Operational Decline?
Maj Gen R. Kibochi
The subject of peace and security in Africa and the role of the AU Peace and security institutions in response to complex security situations is a recurring theme in any discourse on African security. The establishment of such peace and security structures was spearheaded by the creation of the mechanism for conflict prevention, management and resolution by the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) post-Cold War in 1993 when Africa experienced some of the most atrocious conflicts. The mechanism’s mandate was to act as the central coordinating organ for continental peace and security. Its efficacy was, however, found wanting in 1994 during the Rwandan genocide and subsequently thereafter during the atrocious conflict in Sierra–Leone.
The adoption of the Constitutive Act of the African Union in July 2000 reinvigorated a new hope for the African continent arising from its shift from the non-interference philosophy which characterized the OAU to a more proactive approach enshrined in its articles which provide for intervention in situations of war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity. The subsequent adoption of the protocol establishing the AU Peace and Security Council in 2002 as a standing decision making organ with the AU Commission, the Continental Early Warning System, the Panel of the Wise, the Peace Fund and the African Standby Force had provided the AU with a coherent mechanism for prevention, management and resolution of conflicts.
The paper tries to provide an analytical explanation on the performance of the AU PSC since inception to establish the extent to which the optimism that followed its establishment has been met. The background of the paper analyses the complexity of the environment that the PSC has operated to anchor the assessment of its effectiveness thus far. This environment focuses on the conflict dynamics, institutional capacities, funding mechanisms and external partnerships. The paper finally makes an assessment of the PSC Authorised Missions to provide a measure of operational decline if any.
Key words: AU Peace and Security Council, Constitutive Act of the African Union, institutional capacities, external partnerships and operational effectiveness.
Promoting the Blue Security: Enter Maritime Security and AIMS-2050
Dr C. Bueger
How are maritime security and the blue economy linked? And what are the consequences for African security and development? This talk addresses these questions in the light of the AIMS-2050 strategy and the upcoming November 2015 Lomé Summit on African Maritime Security and Development. The focus will be on challenges of implementation and how the complexity of maritime security and the blue economy can be managed.
African Union vs UN Mandates – Symbolism or international bedrock?
Prof T. Mandrup
The African Union has from its birth in 2002 developed into an important continental conflict management tool. However, the organisation has also come to realise that the organisation, when deployed, is often confronted with a strategic asymmetric opponent, that requires another mandate and military tools than has characterised traditional UN led Peace Support Operations (PSOs). For that reason the AU is in the process of setting up robust rapid deployment military capabilities, and have already deployed robust military contingents to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Nigeria and Somalia. However, what is the consequence of the increased use of force to stop conflict, and what consequence may this have for the future mandates of UN PSOs?
African Security Cooperation: From here to where?
Prof M. Schoeman
The African Union's Agenda 2063 aspires to peace on the continent within the next five years: 'By 2020 all guns will be silent'. Against the background of old/intractable and new conflicts and current trends in peacekeeping, peacemaking and peacebuilding, this paper explores the viability of attaining Agenda 2063's Aspiration 4.31 by critically analysing a select number of challenges facing African cooperation and opportunities for building effective institutions and mechanisms to address these challenges.
The Civilian Dimension of the African Standby Force and African Peace Support Operations
Dr C.H. De Coning
The African Standby Force (ASF) is due to achieve full operational capability by the end of 2015. The AU has also deployed several peace operations of its own since its first mission was deployed to Burundi in 2003. However, the civilian dimension of the ASF, and the civilian components of the peace operations deployed to date, has lagged behind. This paper explains what the civilian dimension entails and why it is important for African peace operations; it identifies the impediments to the operationalisation of the civilian dimension, and it offers recommendations for how these hindrances can be overcome.
Peace and Security for Africa – A View from the Top
Dr J.K. Cilliers
This paper presents a review of drivers and levels of armed violence in Africa with specific focus on the contribution of jihadi terror.
The long-term trend in armed conflict in Africa follows the general global pattern of declining levels if measured in relation to its increasing population size. An important reason for these declines is the reduction in interstate conflict in line with the entrenchment of global norms against war between states. Most armed conflicts today are fought within rather than between states even as the nature of political violence is changing.
Much greater oscillations are observable when reviewing trends over a shorter time horizon. Globally armed violence declined after the collapse of the Berlin Wall and reached its lowest levels from 2002 to 2005. In recent years, particularly since 2009/2010, armed conflict has increased in the Middle East and in Africa, a period roughly coinciding with the great global recession and the latter years of the War on Terror. This trend has reversed much (but not all) of the relative gains made immediately after the collapse of the Berlin Wall.
An important factor in the associated increase is the relative contribution made by jihadi terrorism to political violence in Africa where three successive waves are discernible. The first followed the return of battle-hardened Algerians, Egyptians and others jihadi’s from Afghanistan in the early nineteen-nineties, leading to particularly high levels of violence in Algeria. A second, more muted wave of terror would follow after the US invaded Iraq in 2003, an event that provided a recruiting bonanza for the jihadi’s and facilitated the establishment and rise of the Islamic State which has also emboldened radical Islam in Africa. The impact of the Arab spring in weakening authoritarian control in many North African countries and, in particular, events in Libya that followed the ousting of Moammar Gaddafi in 2011 would unleash a third wave that spread much further to include large parts of the Maghreb.
The paper concludes by speculating on the potential future of peace and security on the continent.
East African Standby Force: Diffused Asymmetries, Strategic Dilemmas and the Innovation of Constructing a Security Architecture
Dr Musambayi Katumanga
About three divisions from the East African Standby Force (EASF) milieu are engaged in peacekeeping, and enforcement under multilateral and state-centric initiatives. The fact that none are deployed under the auspices of the subsystems’ security architecture points to both challenge and potential for operationalising Full Operational Capability Status (FOC) attained by the EASF in December 2014. Undergirding these challenges are multiple diffused economic and military asymmetries. These animate multiple economic and security cooperation and by inference the prevailing immature anarchies. This paper recapitulates the same while contextualising its current geo-political, economic and strategic and security dilemmas. Contingent appreciations are anchored on the impact of the apparent military overstretch of the core states when it comes to the variables of force generation, readiness and financial sustenance in relation to FOC.
We seek to test the assertion that while the existence of diffused multiple economic and military asymmetries provide a challenge for a security architecture, if innovatively exploited, they can conversely serve as an inverse platform for constructing a viable regional security architecture to the extent that the process is followed by efforts at state consolidation and a mutual defence pact that seeks to resolve immature anarchies.
The Economic Community of West African States – Facing the Acid Tests?
Mr Mustapha Abdallah
Originally established as a regional integration scheme, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was transformed from an economic into political-security organisation to respond to multiple security challenges. Through its Peace and Security Architecture, ECOWAS is mandated to prevent, manage and restore peace and security through peace support operations and peacebuilding interventions. A critical component of the architecture is the ECOWAS Standby Force (ESF) created under Article 22 of the Mechanism to respond to crisis situations when fully operational. Although the architecture with its standby force in the current status is arguably the most developed among the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) in Africa, it faces several challenges. In the 2012 Malian crisis, some of the challenges resulted in the intervention by French forces under "Operation Serval" before the subsequent deployment of ESF under AFISMA. West Africa’s security challenges poses a veritable ‘set of acid tests’ to ECOWAS security architecture characterised by growing threats such as violent extremism, terrorism, transnational organised crimes, youth bulge and health pandemics. In responding to these challenges, the ESF has failed to adapt to these changing dynamics. Beyond 2015, the critical questions that arise are: to what extent are ECOWAS structures, particularly its Standby Force ready and capable to respond to the issues raised above? What new reforms and strategies, if any, need to be adopted to respond to constantly evolving security challenges? How will the ESF re-define its operations or how will the AU and ECOWAS restructure and better coordinate to make the ASF more effective and responsive to crises on the continent?
The Southern African Development Community – SADC First?
Prof A. van Nieuwkerk
In August 2015, the SADC Summit adopted a set of progress reports and policy documents that suggest a deepening of regional integration and in particular, development and security cooperation. Among these are the revised Regional Indicative Strategic Development Plan (RISDP) and an accompanying Industrialisation strategy. According to the media a counter-terrorism strategy was also adopted. The regional block’s five-year old peace and security strategy – the revised Strategic Indicative Plan for the Organ or SIPO II – was renewed for another year, given that SADC was unable (or unprepared) to review its implementation in time for the development of a replacement.
These dynamics – including the appointment of King Mswati of Swaziland as the incoming Chair of SADC – raise a number of questions regarding the nature of the integration project. The presentation will attempt to address these, including: Do SADC member states share norms and values to the extent that ceding of sovereignty becomes possible – nay, desirable? Can the SADC Secretariat be regarded as a decision-maker and rule enforcer – now or in the future? Can SADC escape its statist image and behaviour as an implementation mechanism of dominant ruling elites? How can this form of regional integration – where national interests determine cooperation – be reconciled with a human security – driven paradigm of cooperation and integration? Which form of integration is most compatible with the AU’s AGA and APSA?
Economic Community of Central African States – An Identity Crisis?
Dr Hortense Nguema Okome and Mr M. Mbaye The ECCAS Standby Force, known as FOMAC, was established in 1999 at the ECCAS Yaoundé Summit. FOMAC is part of the ASF and constitutes one of the five brigades planned by the AU. A Regional Peacekeeping Brigade was set up at the Chiefs of Staff Meeting in Brazzaville, in October 2003. Since 2003, FOMAC has made progress in its operationalisation, especially, in terms of structures. Action Plans have been adopted, and three Exercises have been successfully conducted at the strategic, operational and tactical levels (Bar El Ghazal, Kwanza and Loango). The latest one, Exercise "Loango 2014" showed that FOMAC has already reached its Rapid Deployment Capability (RDC). ECCAS have courageously run two Peace Support Operations in Central Africa Republic (CAR), known as MICOPAX I and MICOPAX II. ECCAS has also conducted maritime exercises in the Gulf of Guinea, since September 2009. However, since its establishment, FOMAC is still facing several difficulties and challenges. This paper will pay attention to the next steps for ECCAS towards the full operationalisation of the APSA, beyond 2015.
The NARC in a Changing North Africa Cllr M.H. Elatawy and Cllr A. Swelam
With the establishment of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) that was firmly anchored in the five African regions, and in the absence of a Regional Economic Community (REC) in the north that includes all the countries of the region, the North African Regional Capability (NARC) of the African Standby Force was established with Tripoli, Libya as the headquarters. At the time, the NARC was considered to have strong potential given the economic and military capability of the North African states and the political backing it received particularly from the host state of its Secretariat. The reality, however, proved to be much different.
Since its inception, the NARC has been challenged by the political context and diplomatic dynamics marring cooperation in the North African region, especially regarding its composition reflecting membership in the African Union, rather than the universal membership of the UN. Later on, the upheaval in Libya had two profound impacts on the NARC. The direct impact was with the instability that engulfed Libya (including kidnapping of Arab Diplomats and citizens which lead many countries of North Africa to evacuate their official staff including officers at the NARC headquarters) and forced the legitimate Libyan Government out of the capital Tripoli, thus affecting the NARC operations at the headquarters. The indirect effect was the absence of one of the strongest proponents of NARC and levels of cooperation was negatively affected.
Despite the many political and diplomatic challenges facing the NARC, there is still interest in the capability whether from the African Union or from Member States of the capability. Most recently in the AU 8th Ordinary Meeting of the Specialised Technical Committee on Defence, Safety and Security that was held in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe on 15th May 2015, the final declaration urged the “NARC to re-double their efforts to endure the full operationalisation of its standby force”. Indeed, not only is one member of the NARC (Egypt) one of the largest troop contributing countries in UN missions (most of them in Africa), but the North African regions may in fact benefit from the presence of an operationalised NARC. In fact, the parallel discussion on the establishment of an Arab Joint Force could benefit from the experience of a North African Capability.
To be able to do that, the NARC has to charter it's course to overcome some issues including the issue of the headquarters of the NARC, the convening of the next meeting of the Chief of Staff of the capability, the signature and ratification of the NARC Agreement by the remaining states as well as bringing up the capability to full operationalisation. There seems to be a particular potential for Egypt to re-energise the NARC and such leadership may yet see this capability meeting its full potential.
1 Abstracts that do not appear in the programme were not available at the time of publication.