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Research Report

Silencing the Guns:: Strengthening Governance to Prevent, Manage, and Resolve Conflicts in Africa

Copyright Date: May. 1, 2015
Pages: 32

Table of Contents

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  1. (pp. [i]-[i])
  2. (pp. [ii]-[iii])
  3. (pp. 1-1)
  4. (pp. 1-3)

    The African Union (AU) heads of state and government gathered in Addis Ababa in May 2013 and adopted the 50th Anniversary Solemn Declaration in which they pledged to silence the guns and end all wars by 2020 as part of efforts to promote an integrated, prosperous, and peaceful Africa.¹ Silencing the guns in Africa by 2020 is the collective responsibility of African states that should ultimately culminate in states that can enhance dignity, prosperity, and security in national, regional, and continental domains. The peaceful resolution of wars will contribute significantly to the goals of the Common African Position on the...

  5. (pp. 3-6)

    Attempts to silence the guns must be anchored in ideas around the contribution of governance to prevent, manage, and resolve conflicts. We emphasize these three elements to make a simple point: the best way of silencing guns is to prevent conflicts, but once conflicts erupt, the challenge shifts from prevention to either management or resolution. Unlike prevention, the management and resolution of conflict denote the transformation of conflicts into peace.³ These links are critical because they emphasize the significance of institutional rules and frameworks for building peaceful and prosperous states and societies. Since the 1990s, governance has been popularly conceived...

  6. (pp. 6-14)

    Success in silencing the guns and ending wars must draw from the vast African experiences of mobilization and organization, as well as the various political, economic, and social platforms that have, for more than fifty years, informed politics and influenced the trajectories of states and societies. Learning from the past invariably necessitates drawing from critical practices that have advanced the collective resilience of African states and societies in managing the challenges that have confronted them in promoting identity, dignity, participation, and equity. Furthermore, these experiences are salient in the contemporary debates about reinvigorating the African spirit for ending wars.


  7. (pp. 14-20)

    In the annals of political development, fifty years is merely a point in the momentous and protracted journey of building durable states with sound capacities to meet the multiple tasks of democratic consolidation, integration, and development. Africa has made noteworthy strides in creating national and continental structures that provide future vistas and visions to strengthen governance for conflict management. Thus, silencing the guns by 2020 should be inspired by the accumulated knowledge and experiences undergirding the past.

    But harnessing the past to build the future should not lead to extravagant triumphalism, because Africa faces a whole host of challenges that...

  8. (pp. 20-22)

    Striving toward a conflict-free Africa is a clarion call inspired by the Africa Agenda 2063, which is Africa’s long-term development vision, and the Common African Position on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, which is the continent’s medium-term development plan. Within the context of this two-pronged strategic vision of the AU, the opportunities and prospects for silencing the guns and ending all wars in Africa by 2020 lie in the resilience of African societies and states, the galvanization of national initiatives to build functional polities and economies, and a renewed commitment to employing collective energies in the service of regional and continental...

  9. (pp. 22-27)

    Silencing the guns is the collective enterprise of African actors and institutions, supported by international players who have a role in these objectives. Collective efforts underscore the enormity of the task, but they also reinforce the shared nature of these goals. An integrated, united, peaceful, and prosperous Africa, driven by its own citizens and playing a dynamic role in the global arena is essential to the promotion of global security and prosperity. This report has acknowledged that ending conflicts is not a linear process; equally vital, it has contended that building institutions for democratic governance is a difficult and contested...

  10. (pp. 28-28)