When the African Union (AU) was created out of the Organisation of African Unity, there were high hopes that the focus on peace and security in the AU's Constitutive Act, and the establishment of the Peace and Security Council in 2004, would bring new willingness and capability to African peacekeeping. Since 2004 the AU's African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) has been the frame around which the international community, in Addis Ababa and elsewhere, has built its support to the development of an African peacekeeping capability.

The doctrines and structures of African peacekeeping have evolved slowly and with some apparent conflicts, with for instance the Rapidly Deployable Capability (RDC) and the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC) appearing to be two different solutions to the same problem. Thirteen years after its inception, and following declaration of full operational capability after Exercise AMANI AFRICA II in 2015, the African Standby Force has still not yet been used by the AU in its many peacekeeping endeavours. Why this is, what it says for African ownership of the APSA, and whether it matters, are key questions for those planning and programming support to the African Union.

From 2007–17 Colonel Sandy Wade served in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia initially as Defence Attaché in the British Embassy covering Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somaliland and the African Union, and then as Military Adviser in the European Union Delegation to the African Union. He worked on EU support to the development of the African Peace and Security Architecture and to current African Union and regional peace support operations. On retirement from the British Army, he moved to the EU Delegation to Ethiopia in February 2013 as Head of the Political, Press and Information Section. He retired from that post in August 2017 and now works as a freelance investment, stability and development adviser based in the UK.

This event was chaired by James Hackett, Editor of The Military Balance; Senior Fellow for Defence and Military Analysis, IISS. It took place in the Trafalgar Room at Arundel House, 6 Temple Place, London WC2R 2PG.


James Hackett

James Hackett

James Hackett is Senior Fellow for Defence and Military Analysis and Editor of The Military Balance at the IISS. His duties include analysing worldwide developments in conflict, military and security affairs, and defence technology. He is engaged in writing, presenting and publishing, as well as working on research and consulting projects for the Defence and Military Analysis Programme,

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Event details

Tuesday 21 November, 2–3pm GMT
Arundel House, London
Colonel (Retired) Sandy Wade OBE, former Defence Attaché and European Union Military Adviser
James Hackett, Editor of The Military Balance; Senior Fellow for Defence and Military Analysis, IISS