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Research Report

The Infrastructure of Peace in Africa: Assessing the Peacebuilding Capacity of African Institutions

Monica Juma
Aida Mengistu
Copyright Date: Sep. 1, 2002
Pages: 104

Table of Contents

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  1. (pp. [i]-[i])
  2. (pp. [ii]-[iii])
  3. (pp. [iv]-[v])
    David M. Malone

    It is with great pleasure that we publish this report, commissioned and funded by the Ford Foundation.

    We were drawn to the possibility of evaluating the strengths and limitations (both inherent and imposed by outside actors, not least funders) of civil society actors in Africa. As the report details, civil society organizations in Africa as elsewhere take a variety of forms, and we have attempted, in considering them, to avoid undue generalizations. This report by no means surveys more than a sampling of such organizations, merely aiming to cover enough of them to serve as a basis for the analytical...

  4. (pp. 1-5)
  5. (pp. 6-8)

    The escalation of conflicts in Africa in the 1990s has led to the expansion of actors involved in peacemaking, but has also overwhelmed the capacity of these actors to manage conflicts.¹ From Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea in West Africa, to Somalia, Eritrea, Ethiopia and Sudan in the Horn of Africa, to Burundi, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in the Great Lakes region, to Angola and Lesotho in Southern Africa, civil wars and interstate conflicts persist. These conflicts involve multiple actors and are often deeply entrenched, complex, and protracted. Whether intrastate or interstate, conflicts occur within complex...

  6. (pp. 9-22)

    The end of the Cold War ushered in a new international spirit of cooperation that raised hopes for peace and security in Africa. Countries previously embroiled in conflict, such as Namibia, Ethiopia, Mozambique, and South Africa adopted more democratic systems of government. However, any illusions of a post–Cold War peace dividend were shattered as conflicts erupted in virtually all of Africa’s subregions: Lesotho, Angola, and Zimbabwe in Southern Africa; Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea-Bissau in West Africa; Eritrea, Ethiopia, Sudan, and Somalia in the Horn of Africa; Chad, the Central African Republic, Congo-Brazzaville, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Rwanda,...

  7. (pp. 23-43)

    During the 1990s, Africa’s regional and subregional organizations were forced to create security mechanisms in a bid to manage local conflicts. Their efforts took on particular urgency following the growing lack of interest by external actors, particularly by the powerful members of the UN Security Council, to contribute to peacekeeping missions in Africa after the debacles in Somalia (1993) and Rwanda (1994). While regional cooperation is not new in Africa, as exemplified by the Organization of African Unity, which was created in 1963, its focus is shifting in the post–Cold War era from politics and economics to security. Most...

  8. (pp. 44-53)

    This section examines the institutional capacity of seventy-eight semiformal organizations dealing specifically or in part with conflict management and peacebuilding in West, Southern, Central, and the Horn of Africa. In evaluating these organizations, this section adheres, as much as possible, to the following criteria: the relationship between the vision and mission of organizations and their actual performance; the extent to which the structure of organizations support their stated objectives and activities; and the correlation between the perception of each organization’s needs and reality. More detailed information about these organizations could be found in Appendix 1.

    The discussion is split into...

  9. (pp. 54-56)

    A majority of community-based organizations in Africa work in peri-urban areas or rural environments and may be hosted by, or affiliated to, national or subregional organizations or networks. Their agenda is localized, and usually pursued in a reactive and ad hoc manner. They depend heavily on volunteers and professionals drawn from members of the communities that they serve. In this survey we focused on ten examples of CBOs that draw their members from local communities. These organizations are located in the following subregions: two in Southern Africa, six in Central Africa and two in the Horn of Africa.

    The two...

  10. (pp. 57-65)

    This report has assessed the capacity of African institutions to respond to conflicts and crises. Focusing on three categories of actors, namely regional and subregional intergovernmental actors, semiformal organizations, and community-based organizations, this report has determined existing capacities, identified gaps and anticipated the potential of various organizations and actors in Africa to address crises and conflicts in the future. This survey was undertaken through an assessment of the strengths, weaknesses and potential of seven intergovernmental actors, seventy-eight semiformal civil society actors, and ten community-based organizations. These cases were drawn from eighteen countries in sub-Saharan Africa, namely Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone,...

  11. (pp. 98-98)