This paper aims to provide an overview of the Continental Early Warning System (CEWS) envisaged by the African Union. The introductory section provides an essential backdrop to the subsequent discussions, explaining the key differences between intergovernmental early warning and national intelligence systems, and the relationship between early warning, conflict prevention and governance. Subsequent sections presents the essential characteristics of CEWS, and present a brief history of the development and current status thereof. This provides a useful background against which to review and measure progress at the regional level primarily looking at developments in West Africa, the Horn, Central and Southern Africa where early warning systems are in varying stages of development. A concluding section offers some thoughts on the challenges ahead and the way forward.