Chatham House: Independent thinking on international affairs

African Peace and Security

The Africa Programme aims to expand its research, analysis and networks on peace and security in Africa.

Project focus:

  • Insecurity in the Horn of Africa
  • Maritime security in the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Guinea
  • Western Sahel security dynamics
  • Security challenges in Nigeria
  • Conflict and instability in the Great Lakes region
  • Extractive industries and insecurity in West Africa
  • African Peace and Security Architecture

The number and intensity of armed conflicts has reduced in sub-Saharan Africa, but a threat from armed non state actors remains, and an increase in organized crime and trafficking undermines institutions and stability. The Africa Programme has focused on political development of Somalia and the stabilization of the Horn of Africa region. Friction between and within Sudan and South Sudan, and the frozen conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea remain key concerns.

The level of piracy off the coast of the Horn of Africa has reduced, however the incidents of criminal activity, including piracy, in the Gulf of Guinea have increased. This is resulting in a shift in regional focus for international maritime security efforts, and the Africa Programme is set to continue its research on the politics of this complex challenge.

Growing instability in the western Sahel is also a key focus of our work with a number of activities taking place in support of more informed international responses. The crisis in Mali is just one dimension of an increasingly complex regional challenge including drug, human and other smuggling routes into Europe, radicalization, food scarcity and environmental degradation.

Insecurity centred on northern Nigeria is also of growing international concern, which we look at in detail through our work on Nigeria.

Other peace and security related activities have included meetings, workshops, and research into the role of Rwanda and Uganda in central Africa; the impact of extractive industries in West Africa; and the effectiveness of initiatives targeting conflict minerals.

Finally, the Africa Programme has followed the emergence of an African Peace and Security Architecture, and international engagements in support of continental capacity. With 2013 a critical target date for a number of deliverables by APSA – and a dramatically changing security landscape in which it is expected to operate – the Africa Programme will be focusing on emerging plans for APSA’s future.


A New Way to Engage? French Policy in Africa from Sarkozy to Hollande
Programme Paper
Paul Melly and Vincent Darracq, May 2013

IGAD's Role in Stability and Diplomacy in the Horn of Africa
Meeting Summary, May 2013 

Mali: From Crisis Intervention to Potential Recovery
Meeting Summary, February 2013 

Prospects for Peace and Security in the Great Lakes Region in 2013
Meeting Summary, January 2013 

M23 and the Challenges to Peace in the Eastern DRC
Meeting Summary, December 2012

Africa's Security and Stability: Key Issues and Opportunities for Progress
Meeting Summary, November 2012 

Stability and Development in Somalia
Alex Vines, November 2012 

Progress and Prospects of Cooperation in the Nile Basin
Meeting Summary, October 2012

Rwanda's National Interests and Regional Role
Meeting Summary, October 2012

Conflict Minerals: The Search for a Normative Framework
Programme Paper
Louise Arimatsu and Hemi Mistry, September 2012 

Coordinating an International Approach to the Payment of Ransoms: Avoidance of and Alternatives to Ransom Payments
Discussion Document
Adjoa Anyimadu, August 2012  

Stability and Economic Prosperity in West Africa: Côte d’Ivoire's Contribution
Alassane Ouattara, July 2012

Somalia after the Conferences
Meeting Summary, June 2012 

Treasure Mapped: Using Satellite Imagery to Track the Developmental Effects of Somali Piracy
Programme Paper
Anja Shortland, January 2012

Growing Instability in the Western Sahel: Experiences and Responses
Robert Fowler, Jérôme Spinoza and Dr Knox Chitiyo, December 2011

The Consequences of Piracy in the Horn of Africa (in Italian)
Report prepared for the Italian Parliament
Roger Middleton and Lia Quartapelle, May 2010


For further information please contact Elizabeth Donnelly.

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