Over the last two decades, African states have demonstrated increasing agency in addressing conflicts by using their capacities at the national, sub-regional and continental levels. This newfound quest for inward solutions was ushered in by the formation of the African Union (AU) in 2001 which was empowered with normative and institutional mechanisms to coordinate African preventive and reactive approaches to crisis situations. Although this African agency is a welcome development, significant gaps remain in terms of harmonising various capacities within the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA). Further harmonization requires a critical rethinking of APSA’s coordination mechanisms in peace and security.
The conventional understanding of maritime security is one that is viewed as battle-ready and state-centric. However, a more sustainable approach would be investment in the maritime sector under the Blue Economy (BE) lens. This would bring the general public into the fold of manning the marine space and frontiers, it would be essential in increasing the scope of security factors to be addressed. The incorporation of BE into African Peace and Security Architecture is vital in order to give it the required prominence within the continent’s peace and security agenda.
In a speech at the fifth United Nations-African Union Annual Conference on 1 December 2021 in New York, Secretary General of the United Nations António Guterres called for continued unity and a high standard of regional co-operation on the African continent. According to Guterres, examples of this high standard of cooperation can be seen in the joint missions and collaborative frameworks designed to overcome both new and old challenges around peace and security. However, since not only states play a vital role in this unity it is important to review the role of non-state actors in peace and security on the African continent.