Excerpt from an article originally published by the Africa Center for Strategic Studies (ACSS) on 26 May 2016.
The UN has 16 active missions around the world today. The work can be difficult and dangerous, and the current missions have suffered more than 1,600 fatalities so far.
Nine of the UN’s current missions are in Africa, which correspondingly hosts a bit more than half of the world’s conflicts. UN peacekeepers operate in the Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia, Mali, South Sudan, Sudan, and Western Sahara. In addition, the African Union leads the AMISOM peacekeeping mission in Somalia. (At times, AU deployments have evolved into UN missions, such as the 5,600-strong MISCA mission in the Central African Republic.)
Together the 10 peacekeeping operations in Africa today rely on over 100,000 troops, military observers, police, and civilians from around the world. The mandate of these missions has steadily expanded over the years. In addition to protecting civilians, peacekeepers now regularly face irregular forces like al-Shabaab, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), or the now-defunct M23 militia in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Contributions from African nations themselves—over 65,000 personnel—have been indispensable to these efforts. They serve as a commitment to regional peace and security for both moral purpose and mutual interest. They also reflect the sustained efforts of African states and their multilateral bodies to overcome the challenge of collective action in the face of war, natural disaster, or genocide. The mantra “African solutions for African problems” reflects this drive.
When looking at trends in the African peacekeeping contributions, three lessons stand out.
- African Contributions Are Rising
2. Egypt, Nigeria, and South Africa are Conspicuous Outliers
3. African Peacekeeping Is More Diversified and Regional Than Before
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