Rethinking peace operations in Africa

Credit: ‘UNAMID’s protection of civilians’ Khor Abeche. 30 June 2014. Photo by: Albert Gonzalez Farran, UNAMID - Available from:

Enhancing multi-dimensional approaches to complex conflict.

On 20 October 2022, the Security Institute for Governance and Leadership in Africa (SIGLA), the Effectiveness of Peace Operations Network (EPON) and the ACCORD Training for Peace (TfP) programme, jointly hosted a seminar at the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study (STIAS) to examine the effectiveness of a new generation of African peace operations. 

This seminar brought together academics and practitioners to discuss the contemporary peace and security landscape in Africa through three case studies,  the Joint African Union (AU)-United Nations (UN) hybrid peace operation in Darfur (UNAMID), the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF), and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Mission in Mozambique (SAMIM). The relevance of these case studies is situated in the context of violent extremism, a security threat which necessitates the need for an innovative and unique approach which does not necessary resemble the more ‘traditional’ arrangement of peace support operations. 

The discussions provided a useful opportunity to evaluate the progress, impact, as well as the challenges of conducting such operations. Key questions in the seminar centered on interrogating the definition of ‘effectiveness’ of an operation and examining the implications of these operations for the next generation of the African Standby Force (ASF). Since these arrangements are completely reliant on effective cooperation between states, it was also important to unpack how to deal with issues of hostility between these actors. In doing so, key lessons and recommendations were garnered for SAMIM – a comparatively new mission that is mandated to deal with violent extremism. Furthermore, the presentation made on the study of UNAMID provided important insight into AU-UN hybrid operations. In particular, the study highlighted the political dynamics between the host state and the mission, and issues of convergence between the AU and UN. 

Overall, this seminar provided an important space within which to exchange ideas and discuss the future of peace operations in the context of complex threats to peace in Africa – a topic which is central to ACCORD’s strategy of enhancing multi-dimensional approaches to complex conflict.

Article by:

Andrea Prah
Andrea Prah
Researcher
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