Social Science Research Council | Working Papers

Securing Our Lives: Women at the Forefront Of The Peace And Security Discourse In Kenya

Vicky Karimi
African Peacebuilding Network
APN Working Papers: No. 20

About the Program
Launched in March 2012, the African Peacebuilding Network (APN) supports independent African research on conflict- affected countries and neighboring regions of the continent, as well as the integration of high-quality African research-based knowledge into global policy communities. In order to advance African debates on peacebuilding and promote African perspectives, the APN offers competitive research grants and  fellowships, and it funds other forms of targeted support, including strategy meetings, seminars, grantee workshops, commissioned studies, and the publication and dissemination of research findings. In doing so, the APN also promotes the visibility of African peacebuilding knowledge among global and regional centers of scholarly analysis and practical action and makes it accessible to key policymakers at the United Nations and other multilateral, regional, and national policymaking institutions.

About the Series
“African solutions to African problems” is a favorite mantra of the African Union, but since the 2002 establishment of the African Peace and Security Architecture, the continent has continued to face political, material, and knowledge-related challenges to building sustainable peace. Peacebuilding in Africa has sometimes been characterized by interventions by international actors who lack the local knowledge and lived experience needed to fully address complex conflict-related issues on the continent. And researchers living and working in Africa need additionalresources and platforms to shape global debates on peacebuilding as well as influence regional and international policy and practitioner audiences. The APN Working Papers series seeks to address these knowledge gaps and needs by publishing independent research that provides critical overviews and reflections on the state of the field, stimulates new thinking on overlooked or emerging areas of African peacebuilding, and engages scholarly and policy communities with a vested interest in building peace on the continent.

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By Habibu Yaya Bappah

Executive Summary
The study examines the current political crisis in Guinea-Bissau and seeks to explain it from a political economy perspective. It examines the Conakry Agreement negotiated by ECOWAS and proposes recommendations to end the crisis and promote stability in the country. Guinea Bissau is a post-conflict state with fragile institutions and scarce financial resources. In the last two years, the country has been without a stable government, budget and government.
This is due to a political impasse that is mainly centered around political differences and lack of trust between the President of the Republic, José Mário Vaz and his former prime minister and leader of their party, the PAIGC, Mr. Domingos Simões Pereira. Despite the intervention of ECOWAS, which negotiated the Conakry Accord to end the impasse, disagreements persisted between the elites on its implementation. The study posits that the political struggle is not only a manifestation of a deep struggle of elites within the PAIGC, but an incomplete transition from state-controlled economy to a liberal democracy with market economy.

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March 8, 2018

by Minas Feseha

Republished from Life & Peace Institute, Horn of Africa Bulletin, 2018.


Youth in most developing countries are a demographically significant section of the population. Most see themselves as an outcast minority and they are treated that way, which has been a challenge to most developing countries. In the discourse on youth, the issue of the multifaceted exclusion of youth is routinely overshadowed by youth bulge concerns, which are illuminated by quantitative data and correlations, not the views of the youth. This has led to a tendency which views young people as an undifferentiated mass who lack the necessary conditions for transition from childhood to adulthood. The reality arguably is far more prosaic. Even in the most when desperate and humiliating circumstances, the majority of youth resist engaging in violence or remain more or less peaceful with only a small minority engaging in armed violence. This article is divided into three parts – a brief introduction, the correlation between youth bulge and armed conflict and a conclusion.

Youth Bulge and Armed Conflict

Youth bulge is a common phenomenon in many developing countries, and especially in the least developed countries. A central dynamic that explains the youth bulge phenomenon in developing countries is the situation where a country succeeds in reducing infant mortality, but mothers still have a high fertility rate. This leads to a situation where children and youth make up a large portion of population[1] . Youth bulge has both advantages and disadvantages. Demographic dividends can be achieved when a country enjoyed the benefits of a youthful population which is absorbed into the labour market and contributes to socio-economic development. On the other hand, also entails that national level policy makers should emphasize the expansion of and job-skills training programs coupled with a focus on job-creation and housing[2].


Article: ECOWAS protagonists for peace: An internal perspective on policy and community actors in peacemaking interventions

by Habibu Yaya Bappah

In the South African Journal of International Affairs
Volume 25, 2018 - Issue 1: African interventions seen from below: Practices, politics and perceptions on the ground
Pages 83-98 | Published online: 13 Mar 2018

Republished from South African Journal of International Affairs

Despite an increasing academic interest, ECOWAS peacemaking interventions have largely been approached from a top-down perspective. This tends to highlight the roles played by high-level mediators who use ECOWAS and its instruments as the basis for their interventions. Deeper analyses of the undercurrent intra-ECOWAS processes and the role played by community actors, in particular the ECOWAS Commission and its cooperation with civil society organisations, are rare. Yet it is both the high-level policy and the community actors that constitute the protagonists of ECOWAS peacemaking. This article examines the roles of both protagonists in the planning and conduct of ECOWAS peacemaking. Based on secondary sources and insider accounts, it argues that, although policy actors have so far been dominant, community actors play a complementary role, which often goes unnoticed. This is illustrated with empirical examples of ECOWAS peacemaking interventions from the Liberian war in 1990 to the recent case of the Gambia.

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Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa Nairobi Workshop

January 25, 2018

Republished from The Social Science Research Council

Nairobi, Kenya– Fellows from the African Leadership Centre (ALC) and the Social Science Research Council’s Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa program and African Peacebuilding Network gathered in Nairobi, Kenya, at the start of the new year for an academic workshop. The meeting was held in collaboration with the ALC, the Pamoja Trust, and United States International University–Africa.

This was the 12th skill-building workshop held by the Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa program. As an essential component of the Next Generation model, workshops deepen networks among scholars from across African academic institutions while providing valuable mentoring by professors affiliated with the continent’s top academic institutions. These workshops strengthen research capabilities, help researchers develop publications, and allow fellows to engage in an international research community.

Thomas Asher, director of the Next Generation Social Sciences in Africa program, noted that the workshop brought fellows of remarkable ability together so that they might have an opportunity to devise and pursue research questions of their own making and to influence public discussions of their choosing. “Too often, researchers based at more privileged universities—especially in Europe and the US—dictate the questions animating research in less well-resourced contexts,” Asher observed. “Too often, locally situated researchers are asked to produce data and quickly divest themselves of hard-won datasets that will appear in publications by researchers from wealthier and better-connected university systems. The labor of scholars working in less robust university systems is erased and their own concerns recast into a set of disciplinary issues or national frameworks not their own.”

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