Africa and the international peace and security link.



In 2009, the AU Tripoli Declaration called for "African-centred solutions" to the continent's problems and designated peace and security as a collective "intellectual challenge". The Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS) at Addis Ababa University answered the call by putting together the Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa, an independent forum with the backing of the late Ethiopian Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi (above).

Eighty years ago, when Italy invaded Ethiopia, Emperor Haile Selassie warned in an address to the League of Nations of the imminent catastrophe awaiting the world should the issue of common security be abandoned. Since then, Africa has been at the centre of the international peace and security debate.

The fifth Tana Forum will dissect Africa's capability to determine and set security agendas that fit within the continent itself and internationally.

The IPSS, which acts as the Forum's Secretariat, explains in its Concept Note that this will require an examination of how Africa relates to major international powers. It adds: "This demands, in turn, exploring how African leaders and institutions --above all the African Union--play roles in decision-making about and ownership of interventions; how they conceive and implement a common African position on security issues; the relationship between the African Union, the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and member states; and the role of the wider spectrum of stakeholders within and outside the continent, including those of citizens and civil society actors in such processes."

During the AU Assembly in 2014, the continent's leaders agreed "not to bequeath the burden of conflicts to the next generation of Africans [and] to end all wars in Africa by 2020". The AU's Peace and Security Council (PSC) held an open session on "silencing the guns: prerequisites for realising a conflict-free Africa by the year 2020". The PSC acknowledged and stressed the need for coordinated efforts at regional, continental and international levels.

In this regard, the IPSS and the Tana Forum are in the vanguard of the idea of silencing the guns in Africa by 2020. Of course, if Africa is to achieve its goal, its voice has to be louder in the global peace and security arena. Granted that a number of issues that have not been addressed by some African leaders have given rise to conflict on the continent, but external influences have begun to add fuel to the...

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