APSA Impact Report 2019-2020

18 August, 2022

The APSA Impact Report assesses interventions on African conflicts by the African Union (AU), Regional Economic Communities (RECs), and Regional Mechanisms (RMs) under the African Peace and Security Architecture framework. Using an internally designed and developed methodology, the interventions’ quality – AU/RECs’ role relative to that of other actors and cooperation with other international actors – and effectiveness, that is, whether the desired result was achieved and its contribution to the de-escalation of conflict, are assessed. Therefore IPSS is taking the APSA Impact Report a step further. The revised methodology, data sets, indicators, and analytical frameworks incorporating a human rights and inclusive approach will inform subsequent Reports. In partnership with the World Bank Group (WBG), the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNOHCHR), the United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), and the African Union, we intend to leave no one behind. Stay tuned for the upcoming report.

This report covers three types of conflict: violent conflict, limited-war conflict, and war conflict. The quality and effectiveness of AU/REC and RM interventions are assessed independently and under the various intervention tools – diplomacy, mediation, PSO, and PCRD. The assessment begins with the quality of interventions which focuses on the process, nature, and involvement of AU/RECs. This is followed by an assessment of the intervention’s efficacy, which looks at the outcomes and results.

This edition highlights that the security situation in Africa remained fragile in 2019 and 2020. According to the Heidelberg Conflict Barometer (HCB), the number of violent conflicts and wars has grown. From 2018 to 2020, the number of war-level conflicts increased by 25%. Furthermore, the years under review have seen an increase in insurgency activities, disputed elections, and unconstitutional government changes, with 2020 alone recording eight coup attempts, six of which were successful. These conflict dynamics jeopardise the likelihood of the continental-wide objective of Silencing the Guns (STG) and the essential peace for sustainable development.

In conclusion, there was no net increase in the number of conflicts fought globally and in Africa for the years under review (2019-2020). The top drivers of conflicts in 2020 were system & ideology, the contest for resources, national power, and subnational predominance, not to mention Covid-19 exacerbated existing tensions in African countries. However, this report highlighted the marginal decline in the overall quality and effectiveness of AU/RECs intervention in 2019 and 2020 compared to 2018. Also, AU/REC’s response to the threats in 2019 and 2020 has been mainly reactive and inadequately employing conflict preventive mechanisms, particularly in responding to political crises, especially the unconstitutional change of government, which have erupted on the continent. Diplomacy and mediation were the most frequently used instruments by APSA. Although there was a reduction in the overall quality of AU/REC’s Intervention in 2019-2020 relative to 2018, there was an improved level of internal and external cooperation found in APSA Interventions. Read the full report –