n Institute for Security Studies Papers - The role and place of the African Standby Force within the African Peace and Security Architecture

Volume 2010, Issue 209
  • ISSN : 1026-0404



This paper discusses on the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) with particular emphasis and critical reflection on one of its components the African Standby Force (ASF). In considering the ASF within the context of the APSA, the paper identifies the role and place of the ASF within the African Union's conflict prevention, management and resolution scheme and processes. Most importantly, taking into account its mandate, its planed structure and mode of operation, its assigned force strength and the politico-legal, technical, infrastructural, financial and administrative requirements for its proper functioning as well as the nature of African conflicts, the paper critically examines the potentials and limitations of the ASF as a critical mechanism for responding to the demands of African conflicts. The paper concludes that although it is one of the most important components of the APSA to be developed by the AU, since the ASF would not achieve an optimal level of logistical, technical, organizational and financial capability in the short term, one should not expect the ASF to have achieved its projected operational capabilities by 2010. Accordingly, in the short to the medium term, its role in and capability to contribute towards effective conflict management and resolution, particularly in large and complex conflict or crisis situations, will at best be modest.

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