Ricardo Sousa

International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) of the Erasmus University of Rotterdam (EUR)

Ricardo Sousa
Staff Page: sites.google.com

External Interventions and the Promotion of Peace in Africa

Civil War is the most frequent conflict and with most incidence in Africa. At the same time external interventions aimed at curtailing the conflict malady have been mainly focused in Africa.

There is a wide research on the relationship between these two dynamics, external interventions and peace promotion or maintenance. But in particular its econometric sub-group has both conceptual, scope and consistency of results limitations.

The main conceptual limitation refers to a codification of Civil War as a dichotomous variable vis a vis a complex dynamic process and the assumption of external interventions as peace promoting.

Scope wise external interventions have been focused on war intensity level periods or otherwise proxy by peacekeeping operations by UN.

Additionally, in general, there is some variety on the results of such studies regarding the identification of the more effective mechanisms in preventing or diminishing conflict.

In order to overcome these limitations an econometric approach will be followed to identify the relationship between external interventions and peace after the end of the Cold War in Africa, with a series of novel features:

a) Reconceptualization of the unit of analysis, by redefining the dependent variable, Civil War, to account for low intensity conflict and consider non-violent forms of political contestation.

b) Extend an existing dataset on external interventions to low intensity conflict periods and broader period coverage.

c) Detail the agency of external interventions by identifying the institutional security configuration for Africa. In particular regarding the Africa Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) and the relationship between the African Union and the Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms.

This will be done through coding new data based on secondary sources and field missions to Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti for semi-structured interviews to organizational members’ part of the APSA.

The research will contribute to a better understanding of the effects of different types of interventions and its agency in conflict dynamics in Africa, eventually with applicability to other regions. In the process it will inform a broader conceptualization of civil war and of external interventions.