By Nanjala Nyabola*
In March 2013, the international health organization Médécins sans Frontiers (MSF) announced that the Ebola outbreak in the Mano River basin (Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone) was an emergency situation. By this time, hundreds of people had died in Guinea alone, and it was evident that the healthcare systems in three of Africa’s poorer countries – none with prior experience of the disease - would not be able to cope with the outbreak. Eight months and 3,000 deaths later, the African Union finally moved into action, releasing $1 million from the Special Emergency Fund for Drought and Famine for an emergency response.
At this year’s Tana Forum, His Excellency Olusegun Obasanjo, the outgoing Chairperson of Tana Forum Board and former President of Nigeria, delivered a presentation on the State of Peace and Security in Africa, based on a similarly titled report produced as a background document for the Forum. The report offers a panoramic view of the African security landscape in 2017 and 2018.
“The forces that unite us are intrinsic and greater than the superimposed influences that keep us apart,” said Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of post-independence Ghana. On 21 April 2018, His Excellency Mr. Moussa Faki Mahamat delivered the keynote address at the 7th Tana Forum in Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. He is also the first AU Chairperson to attend the annual high-level gathering of decision makers in peace and security in Africa since its establishment in 2012.
The 7th Tana High-Level Forum on Security in Africa took place on 21-22 April 2018 in the city of Bahir Dar, Ethiopia. More than 200 participants, comprising seven current and former heads of state and government, ministers, ambassadors, academics, heads of international organizations and regional economic communities, civil society, and media representatives, gathered under the proverbial Baobab tree to discuss the theme: Ownership of Africa’s Peace and Security Provision: Financing and Reforming the African Union. The Tana Forum has continued to cultivate a culture of frank and candid conversations on pertinent continental peace and security issues in an informal setting.
By Niagalé Bagayoko (PhD) and Mpako Foaleng (PhD)*
According to key AU policy documents, including its Constitutive Act, Regional Economic Communities (RECs) are the building blocks on peace and security related matters. RECs are acknowledged in the 2002 Peace and Security Council (PSC) Protocol as part of the overall continental peace and security architecture. The AU recognizes eight RECs with which in 2008, it signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation to provide a framework to coordinate their activities according to the principles of subsidiarity, complementarity and comparative advantage. Yet, for effective collaboration in the realm of peace and security, the division of labour between the AU and the RECs should be clarified and specified given how generic terms such as subsidiarity and coordination could be. Mindful of this challenge, in the framework of the current institutional reform, the AU should envisage to further refine the division of labour with RECs. However, such clarification processes should take into consideration the current status of individual RECs with regard to their engagement on peace and security related matters.