On 23 July 2019, IPSS in collaboration with the Nigerian National Defence College (NDC), organized the roadshow event of the Tana Forum State of Peace and Security in Africa 2019 report (SPSA) at the NDC conference hall Abuja, Nigeria. IPSS has a long living custom of promoting its new flagship publications such as SPSA with its partners based in different countries. This event was also one of such these efforts to promote the newly released version of SPSA. The 84 pages report is divided into two parts and provides a synoptic analysis of the pressing peace and security issues on the continent during the previous year—2018.
The roadshow event for the report attracted 83 participants from the Office of the Nigerian Vice President (OVP), Office of the Senate President (OSP), Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA), Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (OSGF), international organisations and the IPSS. The event also attracted members of the Diplomatic Corps including the British High Commissioner, Catriona Laing, Ambassador of Norway, Jens-Petter Kjemprud and Ambassador of Egypt, Assem Hanafi including representative from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and United Nations Office for Drugs and Crimes (UNODC). There were also representatives from various Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs), the Armed forces, Para-Military, members of the academia and Civil Society Organisations among other.
The Commandant National Defence College Rear Admiral MMKadiri gave a Welcome Address to the participants while the Director, African Peace and Security Programme and Manager Tana Forum on Security in Africa Ms Michelle Ndiaye gave the Opening Remarks. The Representative of the Vice President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Ambassador Yemi Dipeolu gave a High-Level remark on behalf of the Vice President, Professor Yemi Osibanjo while Mr Kabir Adamu, who is the Special Adviser to the Senate President on Intelligence and Security, presented a High-Level remark on behalf of the Senate President, Senator Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan.
The four Panelists that made presentations at the event were: Professor Charles Ukeje of the Department of International Relations, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, and the Nigeria/Lead Author of the SPSA, Dr Dawit Toga, Senior Political Analyst, African Union/Co-author of the SPSA Report 2019. The Discussants were Ms Ecoma Alaga, Programme Management Officer, United Nations Office of the Special Adviser on Africa, United Nations headquarters, New York and Dr C Nna-Emeka Okereke, Head, Area and Regional Studies, NDC, Nigeria. Professor Nuhu Yaqub steered the Proceedings of the Technical Sessions as Moderator.
Important points raised
At the end of the expert presentations, deep analyses, and discussions the following observations were made:
- The global events in the 2018 Tana report include rising of political movement across the continent, Brexit and implication for Africa, Trump emergence and its threats to Africa, paradoxes and Multi-literalism, unilateral and multi-literalism such as US-Africa relations, Sino-African relations, France-Africa relations, Russia-African relation, Indo-Africa relations among others.
- The nature of state power including the authoritarian disposition of political leadership in Africa was identified as a major driver of insecurity in Africa. This has resulted to crisis of legitimacy and questions on the governance process in terms of rule of law and structures and processes of governance institutions.
- Attention was also drawn to the responses of the state to emerging security issues associated with expressions of legitimate aspirations which is considered as often high-handed and sometimes characterised by human rights abuses. Such responses are considered inappropriate to addressing the issues.
- The persistence of development deficits in Africa and the gaps in the unfinished processes of nation-building across the continent constitute critical ingredients contributing to recurrent insecurities in the continent. The accompanying insecurities ranges from the varying dimensions of organised crimes to pastoralist-farmers conflict, banditry, kidnapping, water security, piracy and cyber threat among others which have engulfed the African continents. The complex nature of African conflicts was identified as a serious threat to her growth and development.
- Youth unemployment constitutes a potent challenge to peace and security in African states as it provides a reservoir and recruitment base for trouble makers.
- The organic link between the governance process, nation-building and insecurity in Africa was linked to the persistence of separatist agitations across the continent. This is exemplified by the activities of the Independent Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Movement for the Actualisation of the Sovereign State of Biafra (MASSOB), struggle for the independence of Southern Cameroons, Ambazonian in Cameroun, Indigenous Ewe population in Ghana and the Tuareg quest for an independent state of Azawad across Mali, Niger and Southern Algeria.
- Most of the new security challenges in the sub Saharan African are attributed and linked to the spillage of the Arab Spring. Such complex conflict regimes like terrorism, trans-border conflicts, proliferation of arms and other dangerous weapons, the rise of mercenaries in conflict and many others
- Though there are multi-lateral responses to the security challenges in Africa, the problem however, is with the level of commitment by African leaders.
- Military approach to addressing the challenges is considered inadequate to address the recurring insecurities across the continent.
- The persistence of Boko Haram assaults in the Lake Chad basin has attracted growing global attention.
- Protests have shifted from being characterized by idle and unemployed persons to professionals and employed persons either organizing joining in protests and the emergent of far right protesters. These protests are as a result of authoritarian style of leadership in African and democratic challenges.
- South Africa which has the highest number of legitimate protests in 2018 had no record of deaths except for Xenophobia which is not classified among the type of protests reviewed.
- Africa has witnessed many peace accords with little positive results because of the emphasis on the “big” peace deals than the small deals that escalates the problems.
- There exists a proliferation of Non-state armed groups that are more voracious than the old ones that gave birth to them.
- Environmental pollutions fuelled by the climate change is a major driver of insecurity in Africa. Example is the herder’s/farmers conflicts
- There are many incidences of relocation of conflicts from their original bases to other areas, thus spreading across the zones in Africa.
- Forest and bushes have become sanctuaries for various non-state armed groups across Africa thereby constituting new sources of insecurities.
Based on the observations made by the expert, the participants recommended the following to tackle peace and security challenges in Africa:
- African leaders should tackle the challenges of national building and pursuit of development efficiently and effectively.
- African leaders should place strengthen youth inclusiveness through credible policies and plans at national and continental levels.
- African leaders should place emphasis on strengthening viable governance institutions and structures in the continent both formally and informally.
- African leaders should intensify measures at addressing the challenge of youth unemployment.
- There should be genuine national discourses to evolve solutions to the persistent herder-farmer conflict across Africa.
- African governments should evolve effective security architecture to regulate Africa’s vast forests and bushes.
- African leaders should uphold the rule of law in the conduct of governance process.
- African leaders should invest significantly in non-military approach to resolving the armed conflicts and fostering peace-building across the continent.
- African leaders should leverage on credible and effective multilateral responses to African conflicts.
- The African Union should strengthen its conflict-response architecture as it has critical roles to play in addressing the security challenges in Africa.
Next IPSS Publication Roadshow
As part of IPSS organizational culture of promoting its flagship publications, the next IPSS publication roadshow will be held in October 2019 at the African Studies Association Annual Conference in Nairobi, Kenya.