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How have ‘African futures’ in the politico-security realm, if at all, narrated the threat of epidemics and pandemics? To what extent was the outbreak of something like the coronavirus part of relevant African future scenarios and, thus, could have come onto the radar of decision-makers? This article looks at how epidemics such as Ebola and pandemics like COVID-19 have been identified as threats to peace and security. First, I briefly recall how in the mid-2010s the African Union framed epidemics as a so-called non-traditional peace and security concern. Second, three prominent politico-security scenarios on African futures will be scrutinized: how are they discussing the relevance of epidemics and pandemics? The question discussed in this contribution is not whether the outbreak of COVID-19 was predictable, but to what extend it could have been on the radar of relevant decision-makers.

Open Access
In: African Futures
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Abstract

This chapter starts with a critical review of the literature on the ‘African security culture’ approach. While a perspective on ‘security culture’ brings a welcome moderate constructivist tone into the debate on APSA, the chapter argues that in the end it only results in descriptive accounts of its incomplete implementation. The approach does not explain why exactly this is the case. The resulting knowledge gap is twofold, regarding, first, the inner life of the African Union (and by extension of the Reginal Economic Communities), and second the national security interests of AU member states. In both cases, the main reason for the gap closely relates to the limited access to source material that have been central to similar research on the United Nations or the European Union. Therefore, this chapter suggests more long-term and embedded research methods, based on very few well-documented cases from the African Union’s work, to make up for these limitations, and to focus more closely on both organisational and member states’ interests, bureaucratic routines, and peace and security narratives. Finally, as one avenue for further research on the interests of AU member states, roll-call analysis of votes in the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly is discussed.

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In: Yearbook on the African Union Volume 1 (2020)
In: Yearbook on the African Union Volume 1 (2020)