n African Security Review - Assessing the role of the African Union in preventing and combating terrorism in Africa : feature

Volume 15, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1024-6029
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The period after 9/11 can be characterised as the terrorism moment in world history. Every actor in international relations - the state, regional, continental and international as well as civil society organisations - has been mobilised to combat what, apparently has been conceived as a common security threat to humanity. The transformation of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) into the African Union (AU) was a divine coincidence at a time when multilateralism and international cooperation were being challenged by the threat of terrorism. In the post-9/11 period, the main concern of the Union has been to reinforce and implement existing counter-terrorism instruments adopted at the continental level in coordination with states and regional organisations. This article discusses and appraises the endeavours undertaken by the AU and its precursor organisation, the OAU, in tackling and dealing with the threat of terrorism despite limitations to its human and fi nancial resources. In recognition of the nature of the states in Africa and the challenges facing the Union, we argue that the role of the AU remains critical in order to fi ll the gaps where its member states or regional mechanisms are lacking. In this regard, we stress that the role of the AU should be complementary and serve as an interface between the continent and the international community, including the United Nations.

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