At its 50th anniversary celebrations, Africa should embrace the New Security Agenda

June 8, 2013 2:55 pm3 comments by:

10-security-threats-to-an-organization1Two weeks ago Africa was celebrating 50 years of independence. The Organization of African Union (OAU), now AU, was established in 1963 with noble objectives of promoting unity, solidarity, cooperation of African states for the betterment their citizens.   For many years after its establishment, the organization found itself dealing with intra and inter-states conflicts. Some of these were externally driven in particular by the politics of Cold War. Others were a mixture of colonial legacies, apartheid, liberation efforts, and poor governance.  Nevertheless, upon its 50 anniversary, AU can boasts for its many achievements. Conflicts can no more define Africa. Even Somalia, a country that was categorized as a classic example of a failed state in the last 22 years, now has a functioning government that is also gaining recognition from other states and multilateral organizations.

In addition, Africa is experiencing economic growth that has never been seen before.  According to the World Bank, economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa is likely to reach more than 5% on average in 2013-2015.  This is a huge plus considering the global economic situation with traditional rich countries struggling with near stagnant economic growth.

So with all these notable accomplishments, the question remains: can Africa relax? Obviously No. There are many challenges that still face Africa. The leaders have acknowledged these challenges even when they met to celebrate the 50th anniversary.  There are a number of conflicts and tensions that involve many countries. The Great Lake Region, for example, still faces conflicts with shameful human rights abuses. Rape and the use of child soldiers are still the biggest war tools in Africa. Rebel groups such as M23 are stagnating peace efforts.

However, away from the hard-core conflicts that may require the use of force to end them, the biggest challenges and threats of Africa’s stability and progress are not those of ‘traditional’ category-i.e. Wars and conflicts, instead, they are those that fell under the category of ‘new’ security threats composed under what IR scholars call New Security Agenda.  The New Security Agenda widens the concept of security. As opposed to the narrow conception of security by traditionalists who focus on state and armed actors as main sources of threat, proponents of new security agenda (the wideners) expand the security threats to include poverty, diseases, climate change and environmental destruction, and financial crises.

Rural poverty, diseases, droughts, tax evasion by multinationals and illicit money transfers are complex security threats of Africa.  A recent join report by African Development Bank and Global Financial Integrity, for example, accounted that African continent has been a long-term net creditor to the rest of the world. African leaders need to think through the eyes of New Security Agenda and securitize these issues. According to Buzan and Weaver of the Copenhagen School of Thought that promotes this theory, securitization is a ‘speech act through which an inter-subjective understanding is constructed within a political community to treat something as an existential threat to a valued referent object, and to enable a call for urgent and exceptional measures to deal with the threat”.

It is sad to see some African countries stuck on ‘realpolitik’ while there are other pressing threats that need urgent attention. Poverty and its many ramifications is the greatest killer of African lives than wars and conflicts. The complex situation in the Great Lake Region is a big sign that some African leaders’ minds are still dwelling in the old fashion ‘realpolitik’ that is incompatible with African issues.

As we are starting a second set of 50 years of Africa’s independence let us redefine our security priorities. This can be done through the eyes of New Security Agenda. In that way, we can identify each single security threat and effectively fight it.



  • European countries’ economies traditionally grew by exploitation of other countries resources. The raw materials from exploited countries, mainly African for raw materials and middle East was the driving force.

    These countries are now trying to self determine themselves denying Western World the much needed unfair business practise. Africa and Middle East need to be aware if new methods of using few marionettes to plunder the resources.

    Coming years will see more and more arm twisting using political parties, religion, false flags and mercenaries to keep the option of plundering open. Given the fact these countries possess big armies with advanced weapons, all that they need is justification to occupy even if fabricated.

    Libya should serve as wake up call to Africa whereby NAT and its allies gave themselves the mandate to intervene on behalf of few of their puppets, used vast media network to twist the truth and ended destroying the country for their corporate to drill for oil through puppets in Bengazhi.

    Africa is young and dynamic while Europe is old and frail. Like a vampire it needs African blood to survive and maintain status quo.

  • Thanks for your comment Vasil. Indeed African leaders need to sit and think for their continent and not for selfish reasons. Selfishness and lack of proper analysis of policies are some of the factors that keep dragging us behind…

  • Excellent post. I want to thank you for this informative read. I really appreciate sharing this great post. Keep up your work.

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