Peace Agreements in Africa

Thirty-two of the fifty-three African states experienced some form of violent conflict between 1991 and 2005. From 2002 to date, more than half of these countries have been implementing, or have attempted to implement, negotiated peace agreements. What are these peace agreements? Peace agreements are formal commitments between parties in a conflict whose intent and purpose is to end a violent conflict, or transform a conflict in a significant way into one that is approached constructively.

In Africa, however, peace agreements have failed as often as they succeeded. This mixed outcome has presented conflict transformers with a challenge. The Peace Agreements in Africa Initiative therefore seeks to respond to this challenge. One key task of this multilevel response is evaluation of the status of the existing peace agreements, in order to draw generic lessons and best practices from processes that have produced these agreements, and to use these best practices to generate new intervention strategies and approaches. ACCORD’s Peace Agreements Initiative therefore aims to:

  • Analyse existing peace agreements (the design, the text and the response to issues in conflict) in Africa with a view to explaining why some peace agreements have been successful while others have failed.
  • Interrogate the peace processes (negotiation dynamics, mediation/ facilitation, packaging of key issues et al) that have been employed to produce the existing peace agreements, and from this interrogation generate best practices.
  •  Engage in comparative analysis of the existing peace agreements in Africa with a view to mapping key policy, intervention and theoretical issues in peace agreements in Africa as well as informing new intervention strategies.

Research

In 2009 the ACCORD peace agreements initiative took the form of a study focusing on the democratisation and developmental components of African peace agreements in the light of objectives for durable peace. The study is to evolve over two phases. The first phase will take the form of an exploratory workshop where country specialists will discuss specific agreements according to stipulated themes that may bear upon democratisation / development goals. The themes are democratic governance; management of resources; civil society; leadership / spoilers and the role of international or regional bodies. The second phase of the study will entail the compilation and publication of case study research papers under the theme of peace agreements and durable peace in Africa.

Activities

During 2006 and 2007 the Peace Agreements Initiative implemented several activities that included desktop and field peace agreements research, establishing a network of experts and analysts from different parts of Africa, published a special edition of Conflict Trends Magazine (CT 3/2007), produced a compendium of peace agreements in Africa, compiled a data base of experts and other relevant stakeholders and organised two experts workshops with financial support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) in 2006 and 2007 respectively.

Overview of key documents

For an overview of key peace agreements in Africa, please see the following documents:

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