The African Union and regional economic communities

A partnership for peace and security?

Authored by: John Akokpari , Sarah Ancas

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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Significant questions remain about the effectiveness of the African Union (AU) as a peace and security organization and its relationship with Africa’s regional economic communities (RECs) and the related Regional Mechanisms for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution (RMs). The international community has put its faith and resources into encouraging the role of RECs and the AU to act as essential on-the-ground security actors who can craft African solutions for African problems. A key part of this developing regional co-operation is the establishment of the African Standby Force (ASF), which forms part of a continent-wide network of standby brigades that can be deployed as necessary in peace missions. However, there are other nodes of co-operation, including a Continental Early Warning System, the Panel of the Wise, and the AU’s post-conflict reconstruction and development framework. These institutions are supposed to come together with the regional ‘pillars’ to form what is known as the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA).

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