Conflict and violence in Africa in the 21st century: Where is the African Union? A case of Libya, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Central African Republic

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The inability of the African Union (AU) to deal with increasing outbreaks of violence and conflict has cast a lot of doubt regarding the organization’s ability to lead Africa in a 21st century characterized by massive geopolitical dynamics. To answer the critical question of whether the AU is still relevant today, the study employed a strict textual analysis of the relevant literature on the role of the AU in conflict prevention, eradication, and by extension its contribution towards peacebuilding. The study found that the AU has failed to eradicate conflicts in Africa single‚Äźhandedly; rather, the UN and together with foreign states have intervened to help quell the violence in Libya, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and the Central African Republic and beyond. The failure of the AU has increased global and continental perceptions that the AU is useless and cannot solve Africa’s problems today. Therefore, this gives or permits an increase to foreign intervention in the internal affairs of African states. The study concluded that reforms and reaffirming commitment from member states are important elements needed to ensure that the AU can become effective and contribute effectively towards solving Africa’s complex problems in a somewhat complex and unpredictable international system.

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Victor H. Mlambo

Department of Public Administration, University of Zululand, KwaDlangezwa, South Africa

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