The report was launched on July 21, 2016 in Addis Ababa. Its main findings, recommendations and full text are available below. You can also access the case studies and research that helped to inform the report, as well as downloadable versions of all charts used in the report and two short videos conveying the main ideas of the report.

Introduction | Key Findings | Key Recommendations | Full Report


Africa at a Turning Point

If Africa aspires to achieve its ambitious goal of ‘silencing the guns’, it must deepen and strengthen the African Union’s politics of peace in all its normative, ownership, and security dimensions.

The African Union possesses strong capabilities for conflict prevention, mediation and the promotion of principles and norms -- in short, in the politics of peacemaking. These are its strengths; it should implement the commitments already made and build upon what works.

The comparative advantage of the African Union does not lie in war-fighting nor in military enforcement of peace, despite its relative capability in preventative deployments and enforcement operations through coalitions of the willing.

Today’s emergent emphasis on hard-security approaches results in AU responses that are reactive to crisis situations, overly dependent on military interventions, and threaten to embroil the organization in unwinnable armed conflicts. This direction is financially burdensome and unsuitable for the AU.

Key Findings

After the African Union was founded in 2000, the level of armed conflict in Africa dropped to an all-time low. But today conflicts are again increasing—due to conflicted government transitions, inter-state rivalries, and violent extremism.

The African Union should return to its founding principles of collective security, constitutional democracy, solidarity for protecting civilians from violence across borders, and inclusivity in peace processes..

Africa’s proven comparative advantage is in the politics of conflict prevention and mediation.

The Report emphasizes the “primacy of the political”:

  • Reaffirming and implementing Africa’s hard-won peace and security norms;
  • African ownership of the goals and strategies for peace and security;
  • Emphasizing conflict prevention and resolution; and
  • Ensuring that military peace support operations are designed and implemented with political goals always in mind.

Key Recommendations to the AU

  • Strengthen commitment to the key AU norms: multilateralism, constitutional democracy, non-indifference and inclusivity.
  • Strengthen the core instruments of the AU Peace and Security Council and Peace and Security Department.
  • Integrate the African Peace and Security Architecture with better coordination between the AU, the United Nations, Africa’s Regional Economic Communities, and regional organizations for Europe and the Arab countries.
  • Create new mechanisms for addressing the security crises of Africa’s “shared spaces”—the Mediterranean and the Red Sea.
  • Establish High-Level Panels and Expert Committees for situations at most risk of conflict.
  • Develop separate mechanisms and doctrines for distinct kinds of peace support operations, namely preventative missions, traditional peacekeeping missions, and stabilization operations conducted by “coalitions of the willing”.
  • Clearly prioritize the protection of civilians in all peace missions, and create and enforce an AU policy of Zero Tolerance for Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Civilians.
  • Strengthen the AU-UN partnership, allocating tasks based on the two organizations’ comparative strengths and capabilities.
  • Ensure that the core activities of the AU Commission and political missions are fully financed.

Full report

The full report is available as a pdf download.