Africa: Confronting Complex Threats

From the Introduction: Africa is grappling with several difficult security challenges. These difficulties result not only from the magnitude of these challenges, but also from the lack of capacity of African states and organizations to respond quickly and effectively to them.

While wide swathes of Africa are compelled to deal with problems in an ad hoc manner, there are indications that some states, Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and the African Union (AU) are undertaking promising steps to respond. Some of Africa’s core security challenges are (a) the legacy of historic notions of state sovereignty; (b) the rise of regionalism in the absence of common regional values; (c) the difficulty of managing hegemonic regionalism; (d) elitism in the form of regional integration occurring only at the level of leaders without permeating the consciousness of the people; (e) the creation of institutions with little or no capacity to manage them, resulting in a merely formal regionalism; and finally (f) the perception of regionalism as an externally driven project.

This paper discusses a broad range of issues that affect and impact on Africa’s security within the framework of three wide-ranging topics, namely (a) identifying the key challenges posed to human and international security; (b) identifying existing capacity for preventing, managing and coping with these challenges, and identifying key gaps in capacity; and finally (c) developing scenarios and recommendations for tackling identified challenges.