Africa’s conception of security in transition

The continent’s approach to multilateral interventions, from Nkrumah to the Africa Standby Force

Authored by: Romain Esmenjaud

Handbook of Africa’s International Relations

Print publication date:  August  2013
Online publication date:  September  2013

Print ISBN: 9781857436334
eBook ISBN: 9780203803929
Adobe ISBN:


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In most discourses, African ownership has come to be regarded as a necessary condition for the successful resolution of African crises. Recently, in the context of the conflict in Libya, the former chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission, Jean Ping, considered the lack of African leadership as a recipe for failure. Ping argued that Africans ‘understand the problems far better than even the closest partners; because we know which solutions will work, and how we can get there; and because, fundamentally, these problems are ours’. 1 Such a discourse suggests that Africans have a distinctive approach to solving crises, but interestingly, no one has ever attempted to define this approach. This chapter aims at filling out this gap by focusing on one of the main tools for conflict management, i.e. multilateral interventions.

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