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This programme takes an in-depth look at the evolving nature of conflict, security and peace operations across Africa and considers how the Horn of Africa, Lake Chad Basin and the Sahel are being altered by emerging challenges facing Sub-Saharan Africa.

Watch our video introduction to the programme

Amongst the seven aspirational commitments listed in the African Union’s agenda 2063, is an African development and transformation programme intended to enable Africa to fulfil its potential. While African countries have made important progress in governance since the early 1990s, armed violence has been a persistent threat to the consolidation and further advancement of these achievements. In sub-Saharan Africa, crime, violent extremism, insurgency and communal violence are all facets of current conflicts. The challenge for governance is underlined by local violence across different geographical areas, which in some cases can protract, exacerbate and further embed pre-existing disputes.

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Given the protracted nature of conflicts, civil war and the dynamics of state approaches to security across the African continent as well as environmental influence like climate change, the project examines state, institutional and international responses to resolving conflicts in Africa. In this stream of research we are examining the way regional bodies like regional economic communities, Africa Union and the international organisation may enhance or neglect to promote comprehensive peace-building strategies to respond to conflict.


The African continent has made great strides in reducing the number of violent conflicts since the end of the Cold War. Simultaneously, however, the nature of security threats has substantially changed. This requires new national, regional and international responses to strengthen the security of African citizens. In this stream of work we are examining African security with the following aspects in mind: decentralised forms of violence like terrorism, urban riots, and small insurgencies (non-state actors) in state peripheries and across borders into neighbouring or regional states.

Peace operations

Peacekeeping in Africa is a crucial form of conflict resolution and a feature of international relations. While the UN has traditionally been the main peacekeeping actor in Africa, the African Union (AU) has been playing an increasingly important role in sustaining and fostering peace and security on the continent. This strand of research examines existing African led peace operations and the effectiveness of these missions to deliver on mandate but adjust to new forms of violence and security threats in Africa.

Webinars and Events

We will be running a series of events and webinars featuring a panel of RUSI experts, leading African dignitaries and senior African experts who will examine many of these issues.

Previous Events:

  • Africa in Perspective - Gender Empowerment in Peace and Security
    This webinar examines the commitments made by African states in protecting and advancing women's interests in conflict and post-conflict settings.
    Broadcasted: 28/10/20 12:00 - 3:00 pm

    View the recording

  • Africa in Perspective - Spotlight on West Africa
    In this Africa in Perspective webinar, panellists will discuss how to overcome the regional fragility and violence caused by weak state capacity, inter-group inequality and the legacies of historic conflict in West Africa.
    Broadcasted: 24/09/20 12:00pm - 5:00 pm

    View the recording

  • Africa in Perspective - Spotlight on Somalia
    In this webinar, key stakeholders discussed how Somalia can move beyond the current stalemate and put the country back on a democratic path.
    Broadcasted: 26/08/20 12:00 - 2:30 pm

    View the recording

  • Africa in Perspective
    A half-day webinar with senior Africa experts examining the continent's progress amid the backdrop of threats from armed violence.
    Broadcasted: 24/06/20 12:00 - 5:00 pm

    View the recording

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Neil Melvin
Director, International Security Studies +44(0)207 747 4979