By Taiwo Abiodun-Oni
NB: This topic is kinda related to my current Ph.D thesis, so i wont give too much to avoid stories that touch.
As the sun rises and sets over the vast and diverse landscape of Africa, the continent’s people bear witness to a disquieting symphony of dissonance that echoes through its political and military tapestry. The crescendo of coup d’états and power struggles between rebel forces and military generals reverberates across the land, casting a shadow of uncertainty and instability over the future of Africa. In the face of such discord, a chorus of voices have risen, calling for a re-evaluation of Africa’s regional security architecture, and the establishment of a supranational organization akin to NATO that can harmonize the cacophony of warring factions and orchestrate peace and prosperity for the continent. In this article, we shall delve into the shortcomings of Africa’s current regional security framework and present a compelling argument for the creation of a NATO-like supranational entity in Africa.
It would seem that the egocentric security aphorism ‘African solution for African problems has failed quite woefully. It is perhaps time to consider modern strategies.
Our Precarious Reality
The African continent has been beleaguered by a seemingly endless cycle of coups and wars, with deep-rooted and multifaceted causal factors at play. The intricate web of causality can be traced back to the colonial era, when artificial borders drawn by colonial powers disregarded the historical, cultural, and ethnic landscape of the continent. As a result, the post-colonial era witnessed the emergence of newly-formed nation-states burdened with fragile political institutions and rife with tensions between various ethnic and religious groups. This volatile concoction has manifested itself in power struggles, coups, and protracted conflicts over the years.
The craze for power and control over valuable resources has also been a major driver of Africa’s coups and wars. The continent’s rich endowment of natural resources, such as oil, diamonds, and minerals, has often proved to be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, these resources have the potential to fuel economic growth and development; on the other hand, they have also served as a magnet for greed and corruption, as various factions jostle for control over these lucrative assets. The so-called “resource curse” has engendered a climate of competition and mistrust, which has in turn, facilitated the eruption of conflicts and the perpetuation of instability.
Also, the involvement of external actors and the prevalence of weak governance structures have exacerbated the causalities of Africa’s coups and wars. Global superpowers and regional actors have often played a part in stoking the flames of conflict, either by providing financial or military support to warring factions or by pursuing their strategic interests in the region. These external interventions have served to further destabilize the already fragile political landscape. Furthermore, weak governance, characterized by rampant corruption, ineffective institutions, and lack of accountability, has engendered a climate of disillusionment and mistrust among the populace. In such an environment, power vacuums emerge, paving the way for coups and wars as various factions vie for dominance and control.
Africa’s Fractured Security Architecture
The African security landscape is currently overseen by a patchwork of regional organizations, with the African Union (AU) as the overarching umbrella entity. Despite the noble intentions of these organizations, they are plagued by a myriad of weaknesses that hinder their ability to effectively respond to and resolve conflicts within the continent.
The regional organizations suffer from a lack of coordination and harmonization of their efforts, leading to fragmented and sometimes contradictory responses to crises. This disjointed approach undermines the overall efficacy of Africa’s security apparatus and allows for conflicts to persist and escalate. The existing security framework is often bogged down by political entanglements, as member states’ self-interests and rivalries frequently supersede their commitment to collective security. This hampers the decision-making process and the ability to execute timely and decisive actions in the face of emerging crises.
Sadly, the African Union’s principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of member states has often been exploited by warring factions and strongmen, who leverage this policy to shield themselves from external pressure and perpetuate conflicts with impunity.
Making a Case for a NATO-like Supranational Organization in Africa
To address the aforementioned shortcomings and create a more robust and resilient security architecture, Africa must look to the example of NATO and establish a supranational organization with extraterritorial powers to enforce peace and stability across the continent. There are several reasons why such an organization would be beneficial for Africa:
- Enhanced coordination and harmonization: A centralized, NATO-like entity would facilitate better coordination and synchronization of efforts between member states, thereby increasing the overall effectiveness of Africa’s security response to crises.
- Collective defense and deterrence: By adopting the principle of collective defense, similar to NATO’s Article 5, an African supranational organization would ensure that an attack on one member state is treated as an attack on all. This would create a powerful deterrent against external aggression and internal power grabs, fostering stability and peace throughout the continent.
- Overcoming political impediments: A supranational organization with a strong mandate and the backing of all member states could help overcome the political obstacles that have stymied Africa’s regional security efforts thus far. By placing the collective security of the continent above individual political interests, this organization would be better equipped to take decisive action when necessary.
- Strengthened capacity and resources: Pooling the resources and capabilities of African nations under a single supranational organization would enable the continent to better address the myriad security challenges it faces, from cross-border insurgencies to maritime piracy and terrorism.
Perhaps, what Africa needs is a A Formidable Quintet which i will call G5. The G5 group would be a formidable force in the African security sphere, bringing together five of the continent’s most influential nations. Nigeria, Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, and Kenya are not only geographically diverse, representing different regions of the continent, but also possess significant military, economic, and diplomatic capabilities. By pooling their resources and expertise, these five nations can spearhead a concerted effort to address the myriad security challenges facing Africa.
Africa must heed the call of the Pharaoh and embark upon a monumental journey toward unity and strength. The establishment of a NATO-like supranational organization will bring forth a new era of peace and prosperity, reminiscent of the Pharaoh’s indomitable reign. The path ahead will demand unwavering commitment, visionary leadership, and the collective resolve of Africa’s nations. Together, we shall rise above the sands of discord, forging a powerful and unified continent that shall stand the test of time, echoing the glory of the great Pharaohs who have come before us.