African Peace and Security

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’s work on peace and security has focused on the stabilization of the Horn of Africa region, through the Horn of Africa project.

Growing instability in the western Sahel is also a key focus, 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 into Europe, radicalization, food scarcity and environmental degradation.

The report Stability and vulnerability in the Sahel: the regional roles and internal dynamics of Chad and Niger (edited and published by NOREF in April 2016) examines how deprivation and institutional weakness are potential drivers of instability in Chad and Niger, and highlights the importance of external partners to ensure security imperatives do not obscure the long-term necessity of a sustained focus on poverty reduction and good governance.

Insecurity centred on northern Nigeria is also of growing international concern, and is explored in detail through work on Nigeria.

The peace process in Mozambique is the subject of a 2019 research paper, Prospects for a Sustainable Elite Bargain in Mozambique: Third Time Lucky? and is also covered through the programme’s work on Southern Africa.

Research and events on maritime security help policy-makers, the commercial sector and others understand the changing dynamics of maritime security risk around the African coast.

The emergence of an African Peace and Security Architecture, and international engagements in support of continental capacity has been an important development. Given the dramatically changing security landscape in which it is expected to operate, focus will be placed on emerging plans for APSA’s future.

Research 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