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Assessing security architecture in Africa – a regional comparative perspective

Ricardo Sousa
Department of Public Administration, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Ricardo Sousa
Department of Public Administration, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Open Panel

Abstract

The configuration of Africa security is paramount as one of the regions of the world with more intra-state conflict. Most studies that have been looking at security in this region adopt foreign models as reference points, allowing little locally relevant concepts and practices of security to emerge or be recognised. This paper will address this issue through a critical assessment of security structures in Africa and its relevance to local understandings of security. This will be done by focusing on a comparison across regions (Northern, Western, Central, Eastern and Southern Africa). In each region the concept of security will be devised from available institutional sources and an identification of the nature of the threats will be analysed. Furthermore both locally relevant conceptions and practices of security will be investigated as well as a comparison between regions and with the western model of security and how synchrony and differences affect its implementation. It will look to dynamics at regional level, its connections to continental and international dynamics as well as to national and sub-national dynamics, with a special attention to trans-border dynamics. Therefore the referent object can move from regional to national in some cases. The nature of the threats to security will be dependent on the regional conceptualization of security that will be made, but is open to an understanding of security wider than military threats to state sovereignty. For instances it can be as wide as to consider the military, political, economic and humanitarian actions targeting security in a certain territory. Additionally it considers the possibility of a multitude of actors, starting from regional organizations ((African Union (AU), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Southern African Development Community (SADC)), to multilateral ones (United Nations-UN and its agencies or European Union (EU)) or local ones (such as research centers, International Non-Governmental Organizations (INGOs) or Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)). The research will be done through comparative research design between regions and will be based on secondary data and qualitative interviews at the AU, INGOs, NGOs, UN agencies and research centers to be done in February and March 2011 in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, and Nairobi, Kenya.