African Regional Conflict Management: Managing Crisis and Building Resilience

CIGI’s project on African Regional Conflict Management focuses on African capacity to contain and resolve conflicts, and to build resilience against the outbreak or resurgence of violence. The principal aims of the project will be to understand African regional conflict management capacity, identify gaps and make recommendations to bridge those divides.

Over the past two decades, Africa has seen dozens of conflicts over a variety of issues. A number of these conflicts have been settled, and Africa itself has been very active in setting up institutions and response mechanisms to address these conflicts; however, a number of conflicts remain. While these differ, they do share common elements: there are profound disagreements over the basic vision of what the nation is, struggles over state-society relations and contests over who gets to rule. There is also the risk of rapid expansion of conflict across borders, often creating conditions that promote foreign involvement, whether from neighbours or from non-state actors.

Responding to these conflicts requires concerted action to manage the crises. But it is also necessary to rebuild communities, societies and states torn apart by the conflict, addressing the long-term social and economic impacts. This complex formula requires a multi-faceted approach and the cooperation of many different individuals and institutions. How well are African states and societies coping with these dual challenges? What are the prospects for a multi-faceted, collaborative approach to conflict management in Africa?

In partnership with African institutions, the African Regional Conflict Management initiative will bring together security and conflict management experts from government, academia and civil society to address these questions. The outcome of the project will be a series of policy-relevant publications featuring African experts and analysts.

This project's first book, to be edited by CIGI Senior Fellow Pamela Aall and Distinguished Fellow Chester A. Crocker, will address managing African armed conflicts. The following experts will contribute chapters to the book: Kwesi Aning and Lydia Mawuengy Amedzrator, Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre; Jakkie Cilliers and Amandine Gnanguênon, Institute for Security Studies; Comfort Ero, International Crisis Group; Chris Fomunyoh, National Democratic Institute; Mulugeta Gebrehiwot, Institute for Peace and Security Studies, Addis Ababa University; Raymond Gilpin, African Center for Security Studies; Gilbert Khadiagala, Witwatersrand University; Meredith McGhie, Alice Nderitu, and Neha Sangrajka, Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue.