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Problematizing Regional Organizations in African Security

Journal article
Authors Fredrik Söderbaum
Rodrigo Tavares
Published in African Security
Volume 2
Issue 2-3
Pages 69-81
ISSN 1936-2206
Publication year 2009
Published at School of Global Studies, Regional Studies Section, Africa Studies
Gothenburg Centre for Globalization and Development (GCGD)
School of Global Studies
Pages 69-81
Language en
Keywords Africa; war; peace; security; regionalism; regional organizations; African Union; United Nations; African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA)
Subject categories Peace and development research


The African continent is plagued by some of the most brutal and violent conflicts in the world. At the same time that warfare is changing, so has the state's capacity to provide security and political stability to its citizens. In this context, what is the role of new conflict management actors, in particular regional organizations? This article starts out by situating conflicts and peace operations on the African continent. It then moves on to problematize the role of regional organizations in African security with emphasis on three key topics: (1) the advantages and disadvantages of African regional and subregional organizations vis-agrave-vis other security mechanisms, in particular UN peace operations; (2) the official and unofficial reasons to intervene; and (3) whether security is actually protected by the peace activities carried out by the regional organizations.

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