Fellowship at Chatham House (open to citizens of Angola, Ethiopia, Mozambique and Tanzania )

Chatham House is invites applicants for the Academy Robert Bosch Fellowship (Central & Eastern Europe and Africa) in the Queen Elizabeth II Academy for Leadership in International Affairs. The fellowship is for a 10-month term from mid-September 2017 to mid-July 2018.

Please find below a link leading to a call for applications.

The deadline for this fellowship has been extended and will close on Friday, 7 July 2017 at 23h59 (BST). Please note that previous applicants need not re-apply.

You can find the details here.

The First Issue of the AfSol Journal is Out!


The much anticipated AfSol Journal is now out! Follow the link below to download articles of our first issue debating and constructing what African centered Solutions mean through the discussion of various themes ranging from economic integration in the Horn of Africa, cooperation among RECs, as well as regional intervention and ownership in African Peace Support Operations(PSOs).



Wish to be part of the #AfSol discussion?

Send us an opinion piece(no more than 900 words) on any issue of relevance in Peace and Security in Africa for our Afsol blog to research@ipss-addis.org  or your article for our next issue of the  AfSol Journal  on journalsubmission@ipss-addis.org.




Finding a common voice for #Africa in Global Security

During its 5th Anniversary, the Tana Forum opened the floor for several African and non-African dignitaries, high-level decision makers and experts  to discuss Africa in the Global Security Agenda under the symbolic baobab tree. Still, the exclusivity of the forum lies beyond the high-level participants. The understanding that today’s African youth demand and deserve representation in such high-level security gatherings is noted. The Tana Forum launched a university essay competition that invited MA and PhD candidates to engage African youth. The authors of the top three essays participated in the Forum and the first top student had an opportunity to present his essay at the Forum. This year the secretariat announced Sekou Toure Otondi, a PhD candidate at the University of Nairobi, as the winner of the 2016 Tana Forum Annual Essay Competition. In his essay  “Africa in the Global Security Agenda: The African Union and Regional Economic Blocs as an impetus to Regional Peace and Security”, Sekou Toure Otondi discussed how Africa can acquire and sustain one  voice in the global security agenda.

According to Otondi, in the world order after the end of colonialism, Africa has been represented in the global security arena by the OAU, and later on by the AU. After the establishment of the AU in 2002, the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), (still struggling to operationalise fully) has assumed the role as Africa’s main security player. The AU and other sub-regional organizations are playing a role in promoting development, economic growth, mediation, discouraging unconstitutional change of governments and maintaining peace and security. Despite the efforts of the AU and other regional organizations challenges to democratisation such as third termism prevail. Further, given the regional nature of conflicts in Africa, the establishment of regional task forces has become necessary. It is, however, evident that member states of regional organizations are not free from their own national interest biases when making intervention decisions in their neighboring countries. As such two important questions are raised for discussion in this #AfSol Discussion Series

  • Though decisions cannot be liberated completely from national interests, how can members of regional organizations and the AU find a common voice?
  • What check and balance mechanisms are there to ensure regional, sub-regional and state actors act in the interest of human security?

All views expressed in the AfSol blog are solely the views of the authors and do not in any represent the views of the IPSS or APSP. For more information on AfSol Blog, please contact research@ipss-addis.org.

Debating Nationalism in #Africa

lumumba-Photi quote*by the AfSol Blog Team

During its 5th Anniversary, The Tana Forum opened the floor for Formers Heads of States, diplomats, experts and invited participants to discuss the theme of Africa’s Place in the Global Security Agenda. Amongst its different activities is the annual Meles Zenawi Lecture Series; this year’s lecture under the moderation of Dr. Monde Muyangwa, Historian and Professor Elikia M’Bokolo presented the legacy of Patrice Lumumba of Congo.

Patrice Lumumba, in the 1950s, was a key independence leader of the Congo, now the DRC. At the age of 35, he was the youngest African Leader to be elected to office. Only seven months as the President of the country he helped liberate, Lumumba was brutally assassinated in Katanga. Yet, as Prof Prof. M’Bokolo, pointed out in his lecture, there is much to learn from the charisma of this young Pan- African leader among which his strong belief in nationalism.

Patrice Lumumba was convinced that colonization had the effect of amplifying, sustaining aggravating ethnicization. He believed that this was not natural to Africans. In Lumumba’s own words

“These divisions, which the colonial powers have always exploited the better to dominate us, have played an important role — and are still playing that role — in the suicide of Africa”. African Unity and National Independence speech, March, 1959

He saw tribal violence during municipal elections of 1957-1958 as a manifestation of ethnization. Lumumba was thus in search of the cementing factor that would forge Congolese nationalism. One of those factors was the proclamation of the Congolese State as a secular state making religion a privilege of each individual. Another initiative was the creation of the Mouvement National Congolais (National Congolese Movement), on January 2nd 1958, a non-popular party as a way to surpass the different layers of identity.

At the dawn of 21st century where we are observing a certain trend of balkanization of the continent with a series of secessionist movements:

  • How can African leaders bring about and preserve national unity in their respective states?
  • How can national identities be sustained in Africa in a context where ethnic, tribal and religious identities are the primary defining identities.

All views expressed in the AfSol blog are solely the views of the authors and do not in any represent the views of the IPSS or APSP. For more information on AfSol Blog, please contact research@ipss-addis.org.

#UNSC Res 2272: Shouldn’t the UN do more?

*by Seble Mulugeta

Peacekeepers can play an important role in protecting civilians, especially women and children from sexual violence during armed conflict. Since the early 1990s, mandates for United Nations’ (UN) peacekeeping missions explicitly include provisions for the protection of civilians. Yet, a series of Human Rights violations especially with regards to women and children by male peace keepers in several African PeaceKeeping and Support Operations (PSOs) have been observed and recorded. In 2014, French peace keepers were accused of sexually exploiting children in the Central African Republic (CAR) triggering a massive scandal in the UN.

The UN and the AU have both clear mandates as to the details of the protection of civilians during peace missions including the protection of women and children. Furthermore, both institutions have taken steps to mainstream gender in the sector of peacekeeping.   Policies like UNSC 1325 have informed the adoption of the 2010 UN frame work related to gender mainstreaming. Its purpose is to ensure that the needs of men and women in host societies are met adequately. In addition to UNSC 1325, UNSC 1820, specifically addresses the issue of sexual and gender based violence in armed conflict. The resolution urges concrete measures to protect women from Sexual Gender Based violence. Additionally, the resolution also calls for training to help prevent, recognize and respond to incidents of SGBV and encourage member states to deploy a higher percentage of women.[1] The AU on its side has incorporated those principles in the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa despite the fact that a concrete Gender Mainstreaming policy in its Peace Support Missions is still being developed. Yet, the success of gender mainstreaming, however, depends on how seriously international actors incorporate it in their policies and implement it on the ground.

According to recent UN reports there are 124,746 personnel serving in 16 Peacekeeping Missions worldwide. In 2015, 69 sexual abuse allegations claims against peace keepers were made, an increase from 52 in 2014. Out of the recent claims that were made 1/3 are accusations against UN Peacekeepers operating in the Central African Republic.[i] This has made the news due to the extent of the abuses. In 2015, French troops deployed by the international community to protect civilians from crisis in the CAR are accused of not only sexually abducting and raping women but also children as well. In this particular case, the pain for the victims is not only related to the abuse itself but also to the sense of betrayal by the people they trusted would protect them.

In 2014, the UN has launched an inquiry into this CAR sexual abuse scandal and the measures were harsh. The head of the UN Peacekeeping Mission in CAR, General Babacar Gaye was fired in August 2015 and the UN is currently reviewing a mechanism for the punishment of the peacekeepers involved in the crime.

The UN approaches accusation of sexual violence and abuses through two specific frameworks. One relates to its sexual violence as well as Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (‘SEA”) clause concerning acts committed by its staff members. In fact, it is articulated through its clear gender protection and safeguard mechanism. The second one derives from its UN Human Rights mandate and principles enshrined in the preamble of its charter and operationalized through a number of Security Council resolutions and UN polices. As such, sexual violence in the UN is not merely a disciplinary matter, but a serious Human Rights violation as well.[2] Yet, the implementation process is questionable, that is why gender based violence by peacekeepers is occurring constantly.

On March 11 2016, UNSC resolution 2272 was adopted, in reaction to the increased number of Sexual abuse cases by peace keepers. With the push from UNSG Ban Ki Moon, the new resolution stipulates “three steps that a country should take if its personnel are accused of sexual exploitation or abuse [are] to investigate, hold the personnel accountable and inform the secretary-general of the progress of investigation”.

Yet, the resolution does not address all challenges of gender based violence and abuse. For acts that happened at the UN level, the prosecution should be under and by the UN itself. Reporting it back to member states for investigation and prosecution delays the justice victims deserve. Even if the perpetrators were to be prosecuted in their member states, what guarantee do victims have that there are clauses and mechanisms to deal with gender based violence in those states. In fact, many of the countries that deployed their troops and listed By Ban Ki Moon as perpetrating gender based violence are still countries that have not well developed frameworks for gender. Moreover, developing countries in Africa are places where the majority of women live a subordinate life under an extensive patriarchal system. Even so, all have different levels of punishments and gender sensitive policies for the same sexual abuse act committed.

Therefore, it would have been better if the UN addresses all these gaps by developing a mechanism or even an ad-hoc court of its own to specifically address issues of sexual abuse in peacekeeping missions. The UN should set a standard that all should adhere to because we still have in this 21st century countries that lack gender sensitive and friendly policies and frameworks.

*Seble Mulugeta (seble.m@ipss-addis.org ) is a Research and Policy Dialogue Officer at the Institute for Peace and Security Studies. With an MA Gender Studies, she is interested and passionate about issues of gender especially the advancement women’s rights and voice in the realm of peace and security in Africa. All views expressed in the AfSol blog are solely the views of the authors and do not in any represent the views of the IPSS or APSP. For more information on AfSol Blog, please contact research@ipss-addis.org.

[1] Marie Deschamps chair Hassan B.Jallow yasmin sooka, 17 Decmeber 2015

[2] ibid

#Planet5050: Will Africa get there in 2030?

Step It Up for Woman

By *Elshaddai Mesfin

In late September 2015, the United Nations (UN) hosted a gathering for the celebration of 20 years since the adoption and implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action. In the presence of high level officials, academicians, gender and women issues experts as well as representatives of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), it was stressed that governments and the world in general must commit to closing the gender gap by 2030 under the campaign “#Planet5050”, Step it up for Gender Equality in 2030. This is in support and spirit of Goal 5 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to be attained by the same year.

Women are the other half of humanity, yet their voice is still missing from global politics and economy. Creating environments that are conducive for women to achieve their full potential is, according to UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon, ‘a goal that Heads of State (HoS) have to ensure by making it a national priority. According to McKinsey Global Institute, in  a “full potential” scenario in which women play an identical role in labor markets to that of men, “as much as $28 trillion, or 26 percent, could be added to global annual GDP by 2025.” Therefore, achieving equality for men and women by 2030 is not only a social and moral issue, but also one that is economically critical for a world whose economy is ever more stagnating.

The same logic also applies for having women at decision making levels; Africa has come a long way in this regards. The AU has named 2015 the Year of Women’s Empowerment and Development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063 and 2016: African Year of Human Rights with Particular Focus on the Rights of Women. Dr. Zuma is the first woman Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC), President Ellen Johnson of Liberia is the first African Woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize; Amina Mohamed is one of the first African Woman to be proposed for the post of UN Secretary General; Rwanda has the highest number of women in Parliament (more than 50%) in the continent; South Africa has the highest parity rates when it comes to employment. Yet here comes the paradox. These leading women do not represent at all the overall African Women population who remain excluded from the politics and economy of their respective countries and continent. They are the exception.  Even if they were to represent the rest, how audible would their voice be in the men dominated and dictated world of politics, economy and culture? As such, despite the pledges and commitments that were made, action and implementation are still missing.

This image is the same in peace and security. 15 years since UNSC 1325, women, globally, only represent less than 10% of negotiators in peace agreements despite the fact that peace agreements where women are present are likely to be sustainable by 23%. 10 years since the adoption of Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, Africa remains the continent where much more is needed for women. In a continent devastated by conflicts, women are the first victims as refugees, IDPs, and rape victims. In Africa, South Sudan is the worst place to be women in a conflict zone next to the Democratic Republic of Congo with high rates of rape.

The protocols, charters and legislations and even the campaigns that enable women to reach their full potential are there. African leaders pledged their support for the newly established HeforShe campaign for instance. This is one that argues that gender is not only about women but also about men, men supporting women. But what is missing as Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has put it is the “unbending political will”, one that is to make the issue of women equality a “national priority”. In a three step plan developed by the UN, governments are to not only promote and campaign for #Planet5050 but also invest in women equality. Governments have to put in place clear budgets targeting the advancement of women in society through the creation of the foundations of the needed conducive environments. This means investing in social campaigns that are to eliminate discriminations and prejudices of women and thus propel by 2030 parity at all decision making levels.

But is gender equality a national priority for our African governments? Is it a national priority for the African citizenry? One can be skeptic about the prospects. Gender parity is unlikely to be a priority at a time where issues such as: fighting the waves of extremism especially in the Horn and West Africa Region, handling the migration crisis, dealing with the regression of democracy with the new pattern of third termism, and the need to find ways to support the ever growing African Peace Keeping Missions are pressing.  Maybe #Planet5050 is an ambitious goal for the continent? At the pace we now have, it is unlikely that Africa will achieve gender equality in the next 15 years.

 * Elshaddai Mesfin Haileyesus (elshaddai.m@ipss-addis.org ) is a research intern in the Research, Policy Analysis and Dialogue (RAPD) Department the Africa Peace and Security Programme (APSP), a joint programme of the Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS) and the African Union (AU). All views expressed in the AfSol blog are solely the views of the authors and do not represent the views of the IPSS or APSP. For more information on AfSol Blog, please contact research@ipss-addis.org