Transforming Violent Conflicts in Africa –Challenges and Strategies

The transformation of violent conflicts on the African continent has been scrutinized intensely over the past years. Particularly the genocide in Rwanda marked a milestone for increased international awareness regarding African conflict transformation, as it dramatically outlined the gruesome consequences of insufficiently recognizing an underlying violent development. In order to academically investigate in the triggers and the socio-political preconditions of African conflicts as well as the multilateral engagement in transforming violence the Institute for Peace Support and Conflict Management of the Austrian National Defence Academy organized an expert talk on “The Transformation of Violent African Conflicts”, inviting five international experts.

This volume offers a detailed insight into the topics discussed, namely transforming liberation movements into political parties, the BRICS and their engagement in African security, an outline of the African Peace Facility and its cost and outcome, and lastly the Sub-Saharan presidential security dilemma. The most relevant results and findings will be presented in the conclusion chapter, including the recommendations, which were brought up on the last day of the expert talk.

When comparing modern Africa with the continent six decades ago, decolonization was the most remarkable development. The strive for self-determination on a political, social, and economic level shaped today’s 54 African countries, which are home to over one billion inhabitants. Compared to the other continents, Africa has the most rapid population growth rate as it may reach the 2.5 billion mark by 2050, which also makes it the youngest population worldwide. Besides the fact that the combination of demographic growth and harsh environmental circumstances will pose a challenge to peace and security on the African continent, the state-building process is still ongoing. The violent struggle for power has been the predominant means of gaining political independence. When constructing democracies in African countries, particularly in war-affected societies, the political principles have to be based on traditional local and regional institutions. Therefore, elections mark the beginning, not the end, of national reconciliation. In addition, implementing reconciliation efforts on a national level is often not sufficient, as conflicts spread over a regional dimension due to an intertwined net of social injustice, insufficient provision of political goods, or the lack of economic opportunities. Conflict reconciliation has to include measures of post-conflict reconstruction and economic empowerment, which are recognized as an essential means to foster jus post bellum. So-called ‘Western’ theories or interests shall not impose solutions to African conflicts; only African civil societies, which are willing to establish a peaceful coexistence, can resolve violence and hostilities in an all-inclusive way.

Prior to the implementation of a democratic process, the struggle for political or economic power as a precondition for violence is often predominant. In particular during the time of African liberation movements, militia activities in Uganda (1986), Chad (1979), Rwanda (1994), or the DRC (1997) to mention only some, successfully enforced the assumption of power. The complicated path, from guerrilla-like liberation movements to political parties and parliamentary systems, is being elaborated in the first chapter. A significant number of today’s African governments evolved from rebellious uprisings and the toppling of authoritarian regimes. This does not automatically lead to a fully integrated democratic development; rather do these newly formed political institutions still show signs of authoritarian rule. Further, rivaling movements are posing a threat to security, as it often comes down to the “survival of the fittest”. The new order of former rebellion leaders, who became the new political elite may establish relative stability, creating strict policies while ruling with an iron fist for an extended period, which makes a political transition very challenging.

Transforming liberation movements into political parties is a long-term problem, an effort that cannot take place overnight. These movements lack diplomatic experience, and they focus on military instead of political leadership, as political pluralism and multi-party systems are often not accepted. Since the leaders of many African countries (such as Uganda, Cameroon, Zimbabwe, or Angola) are holding their office for decades, political succession becomes yet another problem. Although there are positive examples of leadership succession like in South African or in Ethiopia, internal problems, civil uprising, or violent clashes could be the cause of a change of administration. An unexpected death of the former chief of state and disharmony between the new leader and the military are increasing the likelihood of security issues as a result of leadership succession.

However, all these endeavors will come only to a successful end once recognizing that the concept of politics in the so-called ‘Western’ world does not necessarily function in an African context. Influencing politics or inflicting destabilizing aggressions to African nations during the process of political transition or a time of stable governance with the intention to forcefully spread ‘Western’ democracy is not acceptable.

The issue of foreign engagement is being touched upon in the second chapter. The case study is mainly focusing on the BRICS countries’ involvement in African security related fields, as it is recognized that the concept of the BRICS relationship is interpreted differently for each of the five nations. The BRICS can be seen as new power elite, countries, which believe they have been undermined and partly left out, and which share the desire of a power shift from the Global North to the Global South. To some degree, they can be seen as the counter pole to the ‘Western’ socio-political system. The BRICS countries have their own development bank, contingency reserve fund, academic forums, business councils and various other organizations and institutions.

Especially China and India show significant interest in the security situation on the African continent. About 80% of China’s UN troops are located in African and India has also stationed troops in several African countries. The reason is economic interest; China has grown to the biggest economy and simultaneously to the largest consumer worldwide. Multiple African states, in particular, Zambia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo are major suppliers to China. Hence, extensive cooperation is in place in an economical and political way, causing some kind of interdependency between African states and China. Over the years strategic partnerships were excessively built. One symbolic fact for inter-dependency is the Chinese funding of the new African Union Headquarter. Other than European or American funding, Chinese money is not linked to political preconditions. Hence, even African governments with Human Rights violations or undemocratic power structures can gain access to financial support from China. The primary emphasis does not lie on the human concern but rather on economic growth and business. One of the most negative examples is arms supply. Arms still pollute many African nations, and no improvement is in sight, as the Arms Trade Treaty of 2014 was not ratified nor signed by Russia, India, and China. As the BRICS influence is likely to rise in the future since their economies are amongst the fastest growing, they assist in maintaining the national security of African partners to preserve the economic relations, while the human security is being undermined. China’s motive focuses solely on achieving economic growth; state-building mechanisms, social integration, or community empowerment are not on its agenda. For both China and India, energy and land are the two most vital interests. An all-inclusive approach is required, emphasizing on the mutual support of justice, security, peace, politics, military and economy. Since win-win solutions are admired, awareness has to be raised that today’s intertwined globalised economy would harm all partners if a new underlying war is erupting. One essential question of the future is if China will also make efforts to export its political system.

Contrasting the involvement of the BRICS countries, the European Union has established a particular mechanism for its cooperation with African nations – the African Peace Facility (APF). Chapter three is analyzing the costs and outcomes of the APF. The APF consists of a long-term EU assistance to counteract African conflicts more efficiently and an early response mechanism, to enable rapid actions by making funds available without complicated bureaucratic procedures. Three pillars are central to the APF: first, the provision of financial support for African lead peace support operations, ensuring self-management and independent decision-making, second the provision of solely non-lethal support, the salaries of African soldiers, and third the early warning mechanism, enabling the approval of funding within two weeks only.

Some controversy arises because all of the APF funding comes from the European Development Fund (EDF). Would that not imply that military operations are partially financed by money from the Development Fund? The answer is yes. This fact indicates that the European Union is recognizing the strong link between security and development: preventing violence through early warning systems, training, the establishment of functioning and loyal security forces, as well as capacity building is enhancing the development of the region. The APF had a direct impact on millions of people in Africa. Its method of combining development with security while contributing to African ownership and self-determination is a game changer concerning improving conflict management on the African continent. The downsides are the dependency on donor money from EU member states, the ill-equipped administration, corruption, which is hampering the process, and the lack of experience. A long-term capacity building is therefore needed in addition to the rapid response that would maintain a peaceful and sustainable development while improving the African-European relations at the same time.

Lastly, chapter four explains the Sub-Saharan presidential security dilemma. This issue is arising out of a dual security discourse: presidential security with the focus on the national security and tribal-ethnic security, which emphasizes the ethnical interests of the tribe. As long as these two components are in line with each other, without conflicting interests, the overall stability is kept. If, however, the national presidential interests clash with the interests of the ethnical clan, the president faces the dilemma of acting in the on behalf of the tribe or based on what is best for the entire nation. A realist ethnographic point of view (“Ethno-Realism”) is created. Under this constructed reality, ethnical identity plays an increased role in the interaction between tribes. Hence, this concept is portraying a potential conflict, which occurs once realism is mixed with ethnic-tribal identities.

Due to this difficulty, the president’s freedom of action is limited, while personal security is endangered if the tribal interests are being undermined at the same time. Military support from tribe could be withdrawn, leading to a coupe d’état in the worst case. The president will eventually either lose public support or tribal recognition. Such cases show, that security is not necessarily a national problem but that the personal safety of the president could also post a security threat since the tribe has the power to manipulate political decision-making. A lack of institutions and insufficient inclusiveness is the underlying problem.

A political system blind to ethnicity and tribalism, local independent security forces, fully integrated military troops from different backgrounds, as well as a responsible president, is possible solutions for the dilemma. The international community can also play an essential role. It should only communicate and collaborate with states that provide presidential security and legitimate institutions. Pushing for changes is seen as a possible but controversial step towards sustaining a nation’s presidential security. However, since the most recent examples show that intrastate wars are 15 more likely than interstate wars, the international community should actively focus on preventing disintegration and disunity within a state. Additionally, states should be given the change to develop political chance naturally; pushing for a ‘democratic panacea’ is not a sustainable way to tackle issues related to state building.

Overall three main findings can be highlighted, which flow like a common theme throughout the volume. Firstly, institution building is essential for a positive development towards inclusiveness and democracy. The establishment of state institutions provides a basis structure and a fundament on which democratic elements can be built upon. Further, the existence of institutions enhances the possibility for inclusive participation in the political and socio-economic landscape and automatically strengthens the core democratic value of the separation of powers. Without institutions, political parties may not arise out of liberation movements, the presidential security remains tribal, and newly established governance is more likely to crumble and turn into a failed state.

Secondly, security and development are two interlinked and interdependent prerequisites for sustainable peace. One cannot exist without the other; providing security without establishing long-term development opportunities will create socio-economic unrest resulting in insecurity. The same counts for setting up development projects without implementing security simultaneously; looting, killings and violence will disable any lasting development. The extensive funding of the African Peace Facility by the European Development Fund is not only a very accurate example of this interdependency but also a very positive and successful one.

Lastly, African problems require African solutions. The following chapters stress multiple aspects of negative international involvement, which can be recognized on a regional, national, and local level in various forms and manifestations. Therefore collaboration and cooperation must be based on mutual benefits, trust and the abolishment of financial and social exploitation, while international engagement has to go hand in hand with evaluating the needs of the civil society. Enhanced ownership to the African civil society slowly dissolves oppressive power structures as it paves the way towards community empowerment.

The BRICS Engagement in Security Related Fields in Africa

Security is the chief pretense of civilization cannot exist when the worst of dangers, the danger of poverty, hangs over everyone’s head”  George Bernard Shaw

Introduction

What kind of actor(s) is the BRICS in international affairs and how do they affect the human and state security of the countries they engage with in Africa? The BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) grouping or coordination mechanism has been existence since 2009, when they began their annual meetings, starting in Yekaterinburg in Russia. The BRICS are a new phenomenon in international relations. The so-called “developing world” has older co-ordination mechanisms, particularly the Non-Aligned Movement or the Group of 77, however the BRICS are a collection of some of the world’s biggest so-called emerging economies or powers. Their emergence then reflects a shift in the centre of gravity in the global political economy and perhaps also a desire to maximize influence by reducing coordination problems between a grouping with initially four, now five, members.

Security and the BRICS

“Altruism is in short supply in international relations” –Indian diplomat, interview, Johannesburg, South Africa,August 2014.

The BRICS grouping initially was not explicitly concerned with security. However in May 2015, the Russian President Vladimir Putin said that security was now also an important part of their agenda at a meeting of BRICS national security advisors in Moscow. According to the Russian national security advisor at that meeting– “With our countries enormous resources and development prospects in mind, we have every reason to believe that BRICS member-states are in a special risk zone. The developments of the past few years indicate that misinformation, artificial exacerbation of ethnic, religious and cultural differences, rather than military means, will be used to check our progress” (quoted in BRICS Post, 2015). This statement reveals a “conflict mentality” or posture amongst some of the policy makers and elites of the BRICS towards the West. It also, however, demonstrates that security and defense are being conceived of not just in military, but in broader economic, social and political terms. Consequently some of the key objectives of (some) BRICS security policies are regime maintenance and/through their countries political and economic advancement.

In relation to Africa, the BRICS do not have coordinated security policies towards the continent, but there are nonetheless important engagements in this space. Before discussing these security engagements it is necessary to interrogate the BRICS more closely in order to better understand them. While China now has the world’s largest economy, when measured at purchasing power parity, according to the International Monetary Fund, it accounts for only 12% of global military expenditure as compared to 34% for the United States (Perlo-Freeman et al.2015). This means that China’s security engagements, and also those of the other BRICS, are primarily non-military in Africa. Before discussing these in more detail it is necessary to interrogate the nature of the BRICS.

Conceptualizing BRICS

What are the BRICS? Firstly, as noted above they are a new phenomenon in international relations. Whereas regional economic groupings such as the European Union or the North American Free Trade Agreement share their sovereignty to greater or lesser degrees, the BRICS have members on four continents, so the nature and extent of cooperation will necessarily be different. Furthermore the objective of the BRICS grouping varies from that of the European Union, for example, as discussed below.

What are the BRICS? Firstly, as noted above they are a new phenomenon in international relations. Whereas regional economic groupings such as the European Union or the North American Free Trade Agreement share their sovereignty to greater or lesser degrees, the BRICS have members on four continents, so the nature and extent of cooperation will necessarily be different. Furthermore the objective of the BRICS grouping varies from that of the European Union, for example, as discussed below.

When Jim O’Neill, the Goldman Sachs analyst who coined the term BRIC in 2001, came up with the idea he had it in mind to capture what he saw would be the biggest fastest growing emerging economies in the new millennium. However the decision to convene the BRIC(S) as a grouping

was a geopolitical one. The BRICS are representatives of a “South Space” (Carmody, 2013) which is attempting to escape actual or perceived Western domination through an economic, political and security rebalancing of the global order. As such their geopolitical cooperation is underlain or girded by the desire to assert individual and, to a much less extent collective sovereignty, rather than share it as in the case of the European Union, for example. The BRICS as a concept then, as far as its members are concerned, is about reworking international relations to be more favourable to their own development and thereby and through this to serve as a counter-pole to Western power. However, the different members of the grouping have somewhat different perception of what this “balancing” or perhaps “over-taking” strategy entails.

Whereas Russia currently seeks to engage in “hard balancing” through proxy confrontation with the West through the conflict in Ukraine for example, China has sought to avoid direct confrontation – preferring instead to primarily develop its economic power capabilities. Whereas

Mao’s dictum was once “power grows out the barrel of a gun” a more apt paraphrased aphorism for China’s current geopolitical strategy might be the “power flows from money”. On the other hand Brazil and India continue to cultivate close economic and political relations with Western powers, as Brazil in particular seeks to achieve “autonomy through engagement” (Carmody 2013). Thus while sharing a broad understanding, each of the different BRICS powers has somewhat different conceptions of what the grouping is and what its nature and purposes are.

When Jim O’Neill, the Goldman Sachs analyst who coined the term BRIC in 2001, came up with the idea he had it in mind to capture what he saw would be the biggest fastest growing emerging economies in the new millennium. However the decision to convene the BRIC(S) as a grouping

was a geopolitical one. The BRICS are representatives of a “South Space” (Carmody, 2013) which is attempting to escape actual or perceived Western domination through an economic, political and security rebalancing of the global order. As such their geopolitical cooperation is underlain or girded by the desire to assert individual and, to a much less extent collective sovereignty, rather than share it as in the case of the European Union, for example. The BRICS as a concept then, as far as its members are concerned, is about reworking international relations to be more favourable to their own development and thereby and through this to serve as a counter-pole to Western power. However, the different members of the grouping have somewhat different perception of what this “balancing” or perhaps “over-taking” strategy entails.

Whereas Russia currently seeks to engage in “hard balancing” through proxy confrontation with the West through the conflict in Ukraine for example, China has sought to avoid direct confrontation – preferring instead to primarily develop its economic power capabilities. Whereas

Mao’s dictum was once “power grows out the barrel of a gun” a more apt paraphrased aphorism for China’s current geopolitical strategy might be the “power flows from money”. On the other hand Brazil and India continue to cultivate close economic and political relations with Western powers, as Brazil in particular seeks to achieve “autonomy through engagement” (Carmody 2013). Thus while sharing a broad understanding, each of the different BRICS powers has somewhat different conceptions of what the grouping is and what its nature and purposes are.

The BRICS are also an evolving process, as has been demonstrated in recent years through a deepening institutionalization through the commissioning of the “New Development Bank” and “Contingency Currency Reserve”. These reflect attempts to reduce dependence on Western dominated financial institutions – the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. However in reality they are additive rather than being a challenge to them, as for example once South Africa has drawn down US $3 billion (30% of its borrowing quota) from the Contingency Currency Reserve it must look, under the articles of agreement, to the IMF. This has led some to argue that this actually represents a strengthening rather than a diminution of IMF or Western power.

In addition to being a process then, the concept of the BRICS can also be used as a lens to reflect on broader changes in the global political economy, such as the so-called “Rise of the South” (UNDP 2013). The BRICS impact is also a reality. For example it is well known that Chinese demand was largely responsible for the recent commodity super-cycle. China by itself accounts for approximately 60% of the BRICS total economic output, whereas South Africa’s economy is only approximately the same size as Beijing’s in US dollars terms. These impact disparities affect the nature of engagement with African states.

BRICS security engagements in Africa

The BRICS demonstrate commitment to selective and to selective universal multilateralism. The BRICS coordination mechanism is itself an example of selective multilateralism, but all of the members are also members of the United Nations, with Russia and China holding seats as permanent, veto members of the UN Security Council. The permanent five or P5 were the victors in World War II and have long range nuclear capabilities, thereby casting doubt as to whether the rise of the individual BRICS is an entirely new or novel phenomenon as it is sometimes thought.

China has several thousand troops serving as UN peacekeepers in South Sudan and elsewhere on the continent and 80% of Chinese UN peacekeeping troops are serving in African missions. This geography in part reflects the desire of China to be seen as a “responsible power” internationally but may also confer “soft power” advantages on China as it engages with the African Union and individual African states. India and South Africa also have troops seconded to the UN in Congo, and elsewhere on the continent. However, rather than these necessarily just being acts of good will or motivated by a feeling of shared collective responsibility there may be underlying material and wider geopolitical motivations. For example, South Africa’s desire to become a permanent member of Security Council is well known and contributing to UN peace keeping operations might help it work toward this goal.

While the BRICS do not have coordinated security policies towards Africa, South Africa has been very active in a variety of both African Union and United Nations sponsored peace keeping missions. Again however there is a question about whether or not there are underlying material motivations in these engagements. For example after more than a dozen South African soldiers were killed in the Central African Republic a South African National Defence Force soldier was quoted as saying:

“Our men were deployed to various parts of the city, protecting belongings of South Africans.They were the first to be attacked. Everyone thought it was those who were ambushed, but it was the guys outside the different buildings –the ones which belong to businesses in Jo’burg… We were lied to straight out… We were not supposed to be here. We did not come here to do this. We were told we were here to serve and protect, to ensure peace” (quoted in Bond 2014).

Furthermore Patrick Bond has argued that South African involvement in United Nations operations against M23 rebels in the Eastern DRC in 2013 may have been related to the fact that the South African President’s nephew, Khulubuse Zuma, is involved in multi-billion dollar oil deals there. As noted earlier in the quote from the Russian National Security Advisor the BRICS powers see security as multi-dimensional and inter-connected. This is partly because of the experience of more than a “century of humiliation” (as it is referred to in China) at the hands of Western powers, but also means that domestic economic considerations may be included.

Oher security interventions include the Chinese naval escorts off the coast of Somalia, which is available to Chinese (including Taiwanese) flagged ships to protect against piracy. Security extends to economic and energy conceptualisations. For example in relation to China’s engagement with the brutal Sudanese regimes “business is business”. In the case of Sudan, the flip side of oil exports is arms imports from Africa in order to repress dissent and maintain the “looting machine” (Burgis, 2015). According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute arms exports are used to “strengthen… political influence in sub-Saharan Africa in order to gain access to natural resources and to further the security interest of the supplier” (quoted in Mail and Guardian Africa, 2015). This is the case for China, but also for the United States which is the world’s largest arms exporter and biggest exporter to Africa. The two largest arms importers in Sub-Saharan Africa are Sudan, which imports 15% of all SSA arms and Uganda, which imports 14% of the total. These are close Chinese and American allies respectively.

The “great” powers then pursue (in) security policies in their dealings with partner regimes in Africa, where energy security is achieved at the cost of insecurity for some in oil bearing regions, such as the Niger Delta or Abeyi in (South) Sudan. Arms exports also create arms pollution, with the Horn of Africa reportedly having the highest density of light weaponry anywhere in the world. This further creates opportunities for, and potentially, fuels conflict. However “excessive” conflict risks undermining resource exports. For example, at its height the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta cut Nigeria’s daily oil production by 40% (Burgis 2015). The creation and perpetuation of conflict complexes then threatens resource access, generating incentives to engage in peace making. For example there is Chinese “special representative on Darfur”, who has sought to mediate the conflict there, perhaps in contradiction to China’s stated policy of “non-interference”. However, arms supplies by themselves could be seen as an extreme form of interference, in -any-event, as they serve to reinforce the power of extant regimes. Thus energy, military and human securities are interlinked in relations to the BRICS security engagements in Africa, as is economic security.

While some of the BRICS economies have struggled in recent years on foot on the end of the global commodity super-cycle, the rate of economic growth in India has picked up. According to the global rating agency Fitch “India takes over as the fastest growing BRIC this year with 7.5 per cent GDP growth, accelerating to 8 per cent in 2016 driven by structural reforms and higher investment”(International Business Times 2015).There are however, other reasons for this revived level of economic growth in India, particularly the decline in oil and other mineral import prices, as India is a substantial importer of these. This has also repressed inflation, allowing the Indian central bank to reduce interest rates, further stimulating economic growth.

Eighty nine per cent of India’s oil arrives by sea, and in recent years a substantial proportion of this comes from Africa. According to the Indian external affairs minister – “We have a strong stake in the security and stability of these waters, which is linked to energy security, since a large

proportion of Asian oil and gas is shipped through the Indian Ocean” (quoted in Vines and Oruitemeka 2008).The Indian navy has patrolling Mauritius’s Exclusive Economic Zone since 2003 and also that of the Seychelles and the Indian government has set up a listening post in Madagascar. When the first shipment of oil produced by India’s overseas oil and Natural Gas Company arrived from Sudan a government minster declared that this was “India’s oil”, reflecting a projection of sovereignty outwards. However India has attracted far less scrutiny, attention and opprobrium arising from its relations with Sudan, than China has. This can be seen as an example of “globalisation slip streaming” behind China (Carmody 2013), where its more powerful neighbor attracts greater attention allowing Indian foreign policy greater latitude for manoeuvre.

The other BRICS also have energy security interests in the region. For example South Africa undertook a military intervention in Lesotho in 1998. Some have argued that this was in part because it sought to protect the hydro-electric power it receives from the massive Katse dam in that country. Energy has become a particularly important issue in South Africa in recent years as the country has experienced frequent “load shedding” or electricity blackouts as production cannot meet demand, in part as per capita consumption is roughly four fifths of that in the United Kingdom.

Energy security is not part of the geopolitical code through which Brazil views Africa, as it is a net energy exporter, but there are substantial investment opportunities for the semi-public Petrobras Company and also for bio fuel companies. Likewise Russia is a major energy exporter, but does export substantial quantities of arms to Africa (Carmody 2013).

Implications for future relations

As noted earlier the BRICS are not a coherent actor, in the same way as the European Union for example as their objectives are different and their membership is spread across four continents. That is not to say that they are not powerful, both individually and collectively in international affairs however. In particular China has very substantial power resources ranging from the world’s largest economy, when measured at purchasing power parity, massive foreign exchange reserves, an innovative “flexigemonic” foreign strategy and a permanent seat at the United Nations’ Security Council. In many senses it is the cornerstone of the BRICS as demonstrated by the fact that it accounts for 60% of the groupings total economic output.

As has been extensively detailed elsewhere the Communist Party of China prioritizes regime security through economic growth and relatedly energy (in) security. The energy security policies that the Chinese government, along with other “great” powers, pursues are sometimes associated with conflict, as in the case of Sudan, for example. However higher economic growth creates potential for win-win outcomes and China also attempts to restrain conflict to prevent it compromising resource supplies

According to the founder of world systems theory Immanuel Wallerstein  (2015, p. 273):

“The world system’s structural crisis is moving too fast, and in too many uncertain ways, to assume sufficient relative stability to allow the BRICS as such to continue to play a special role, either geopolitically or economically.Like globalisation itself as a concept, the BRICS may turn out to be a passing phenomenon.”

However a number of objections may be raised to this. Firstly it would appear that globalisation, despite periodic crises and retrenchment is a secular phenomenon. Secondly the BRICS grouping is becoming more deeply institutionalised and consequently this channel of influence, through these new institutions, is likely to grow. Thirdly, despite the recent economic travails of some of the group, China and India’s economies continue to grow quickly. That is not to say that there are no structural crises in the world system; there demonstrably are and some of these, such as climate change, have huge human, economic and political security implications.

As the former speaker of the House of Representatives in the United States, Nancy Pelosi (2015), recently noted: “The benefits of globalization have overwhelmingly flowed to the most affluent and powerful, while the costs have been shouldered by ordinary citizens in both developed and developing nations”. She argues that there is a need for new model of global economic governance, perhaps regulated by UN.

Global inequality finds violent expression in the mutation of so-called global war on terror into a pattern of conflict between Western powers, and now also Russia, and Islamic fundamentalist groups that some are referring to as the Third World War. This dynamic is increasingly promoting and infusing conflicts in parts of Africa from Libya to Mali and Somalia.

As Zacarias (2003) notes “security become possible if its four pillars – order, justice, peace and economics – coexist in a condition of dynamic equilibrium”. At the moment the BRICS powers relations with Africa can be largely characterised as extractive (Taylor 2014). While the global commodity super-cycle, largely powered by China, appears to have been associated with some shallow poverty reduction in Africa, its end may bode ill for future conflict dynamics on the continent. Given current power structures and relations, it would appear that the BRICS are unlikely to substantially change Africa’s dependent and extraction relations with the global economy. This then will necessitate efforts to prevent and remediate violent conflict when it occurs. However, until the structural bases of the continent’s economies are reworked to allow for greater domestic value creation, capture and distribution these problems are likely to be recurrent, if not intractable.

 

To read more kindly visit: http://www.bundesheer.at/pdf_pool/publikationen/hainzl_transforming_conflicts_africa_web.pdf

 

References

Bond, Patrick (2014). “Which way forward for the BRICS in Africa, a year after the Durban summit? from http://www.pambazuka.net/en/category.php/features/91297

BRICS Post (2015). Putin discusses ISIL, global security with BRICS NSAs from http://thebricspost.com/putin-discusses-isil-global-security-with-brics-nsas/#.Vg0hrPlVhBc

Burgis, T. (2015) The Looting Mahcine: Warlords, tycoons and smugglers and systematic theft of Africa’s wealth. New York, William Collins.

Carmody, P. (2013). The rise of the BRICS in Africa : the geopolitics of south-south relations. London; New York, Zed Books.

International Business Times (2015). “Fitch cuts India’s GDP growth forecast to 7.5% in 2015-16.” from http://www.ibtimes.co.in/fitch-cuts-indias-gdp-growth-forecast-7-5-2015-16-648765.

Mail and Guardian Africa (2015)“10 things you need to know about arms sales to Africa -and why Algeria and Uganda are big buyers” from http://mgafrica.com/article/2015-03-20-7-big-facts-you-need-to -know-about-arms-sales-to africawhere-algeria-and-uganda-are-stars

Pelosi, N. (2015). “Trade promotion authority on its last legs.” From http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2015/06/15/congress-trade-fast-track-tpa-pelosi column/71270294/

Perlo-Freeman, S., A. Fleurant, P. D. Wezeman and S. T. Wezeman (2015). Trends In World Military Expenditure, 2014, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute Fact Sheet, from http://books.sipri.org/ files/FS/SIPRIFS1504.pdf

Taylor, I. (2014). Africa rising? : BRICS – diversifying dependency. Oxford, James Currey.

UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) (2013). The Rise of the South: Human Progress in a Diverse World. 2013 Human Development Report from http://hdr.undp.org/en/2013-report

Vines, A. and B. Oruitemeka (2008) India’s Engagement with the African Indian

Ocean Rim States, Africa Programme Paper: AFP P 1/08 from https://www.chathamhouse.org/sites/files/chathamhouse/public/Research/Africa/india_africa0408.pdf

Wallerstein, I. (2015). Whose interests are served the BRICS? BRICS: An Anti-Capitalist Critique. P. Bond and A. Garcia. London, Pluto.

 

Co-Written by

Michael Zinkanell, Gerald Hainzl and Pádraig Carmody

National Defence Academy Institute for Peace Support and Conflict Management

Stiftgasse 2a 1070 Vienna, Austria

Edited and published by

Seleman Yusuph Kitenge

Youth Development Expert,

PGD – Management of Foreign Relations, BA in Sociology (Hons),Dipl. Public Sector Financial Mgt.

Director of Media & Communication, AfriNYPE.

seleman.kitenge@afrinype.org