Handbook of Governance and Security
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Handbook of Governance and Security

Edited by James Sperling

The Handbook of Governance and Security examines the conceptual evolution of security governance and the different manifestations of regional security governance. In particular, James Sperling brings together unique contributions from leading scholars to explore the role of institutions that have emerged as critical suppliers of security governance and the ever-widening set of security issues that can be viewed profitably through a governance lens.
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Chapter 28: African Union

Paul Jackson


In 2012, the African Union completed 10 years as an institution following on from its predecessor, the Organisation of African Unity, founded in 1963 in the wake of decolonization. Both organizations were founded with peace and security in mind, specifically to address Africa’s issues of insecurity and development and to make the pan-African dream a reality within a more assertive continent. Fifty years on, the continent remains deeply troubled by considerable human security issues, including coups and counter-coups, illicit trading in guns, people and drugs, international footloose and violent organizations like al-Qaeda and al-Shabaab, and recurring issues of security governance in areas of weak statehood, including in Central Africa, the Horn, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Sahel. Africa itself has an extremely varied experience of the past 10 years of the AU, not least because several countries have been enjoying economic growth and stability. While Asia has had a higher magnitude of killing between 1960 and 2008, Africa has had the most wars (Reno 2011). These wars have also mutated over the period and are peculiarly regional in scope, changing from wars of liberation and decolonization, frequently fought regionally but with a national focus, to wars that may have little or no spatial focus or are specifically regional or international. The actors engaged have also changed from nationalist and ideological groups to a dangerous mixture of criminal networks, international organizations, and terrorists allied with various local groups.

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