Loading...

POLSC325: African Politics

Unit 5: Africa and International Relations  

African international relations over the past century have been characterized by a tumultuous interplay of internal and external forces and events. Such forces and events, ranging from competition over Africa’s natural resources to African civil wars, have shaped and continue to shape the nature of international relations within Africa. During the colonial period, European powers controlled African international relations. When European power waned during World War II and African nationalist movements emerged, control over African international relations began to be restored to Africans. Decolonization and independence for African states ostensibly completed this process. However, newly independent African states experienced several challenges in carving out a space for themselves in the modern state system. African states entered a system wherein they had no voice. They had to compete against established states and economic systems. Simultaneously, African leaders turned to the international community for assistance. The starting point for engaging the international system in the 1960s was less than auspicious for independent Africa.

In this unit, you will explore several topics central to African international relations. First, you will consider the historical dimensions of the Cold War for its devastating manifestations in Africa. Specifically, newly independent African states began to engage the international community in an environment marked by suspicion and competition, fueled by the Cold War between the superpowers (US, USSR, and their respective allies). Africa became the site of proxy wars between the superpowers, and increased competition for resources and influence by external actors made Africa’s engagement with the international community even more exigent. Second, you will study the relationship between Africa and the United Nations, as this relationship is important to any consideration of African international relations. Third, you will study regional and sub-regional integration efforts in Africa. Specifically, the creation of the Organization of African Unity and its successor the African Union highlight the rationale for African continent-wide cooperation and integration; the experiences related to these intergovernmental organizations simultaneously illustrate the difficulties associated with such endeavors. Finally, this unit will encourage you to consider the nature of armed conflict in Africa and the ways in which Africa and the international community has responded, and should respond, to armed conflict.

Unit 5 Time Advisory
This unit should take you 21 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 5.1: 2.25 hours

☐    Subunit 5:2: 6.25 hours
☐    Sub-subunit 5.2.1: 0.75 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 5.2.2: 2.25 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 5.2.3: 3.25 hours

☐    Subunit 5:3: 6 hours
☐    Sub-subunit 5.3.1: 4 hours

☐    Sub-subunit 5.3.2: 2 hours

☐    Subunit 5:4: 6.5 hours

Unit5 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:
- Describe the political environment in Africa during the Cold War. - Explore the nature of humanitarian disasters that gave rise to UN intervention in Africa. - Analyze the relationship between the UN and Africa. - List and explain the challenges that the United Nations has faced in addressing conflicts and humanitarian situations in Africa. - Describe the evolution of regional integration in Africa.

5.1 Africa and the Cold War   - Reading: Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture: Dr. Benjamin Talton’s “The Challenge of Decolonization in Africa”

Link: Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture: Dr. Benjamin
Talton’s “[The Challenge of Decolonization in
Africa](http://exhibitions.nypl.org/africanaage/essay-challenge-of-decolonization-africa.html)”
(HTML)

Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read the entire
essay by Dr. Talton. He discusses the ramifications of the timing of
African independence. For newly independent states, the Cold War
complicated the processes of nation building, power consolidation,
and policymaking. The United States and the Soviet Union did not
hesitate to meddle in African affairs. The Cold War impeded
decolonization.

This reading should take you approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes to
complete.

Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Reading: History Today: J.E. Spence’s “Southern Africa in the Cold War” Link: History Today: J.E. Spence’s “Southern Africa in the Cold War” (HTML)
     
    Instructions: Please read the linked material.  Note that the Cold War conflict between the United States and Soviet Union played out in many parts of the developing world, including in Africa.  Many newly independent   states sided with both powers for economic and political reasons.  Some of these   states became a battle ground for the superpowers; so-called proxy wars were fought in Angola, Mozambique, and several other states.   
    This reading should take you approximately 45 minutes to complete.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

5.2 Africa and the United Nations   5.2.1 The Nature of the Relationship   - Reading: Friedrich Ebert Stiftung – Dialogue on Globalization: Tim Murithi’s “Between Paternalism and Hybrid Partnership: The Emerging UN and Africa Relationship in Peace Operations” Link: Friedrich Ebert Stiftung – Dialogue on Globalization: Tim Murithi’s “Between Paternalism and Hybrid Partnership: The Emerging UN and Africa Relationship in Peace Operations” (PDF)

 Instructions: The above link takes you to a list of articles,
published by Germany’s Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. Scroll down the
webpage until you see the title of the article. Click on ‘download
(.pdf)’ to access the reading. Before discussing the UN-Africa
relationship vis-à-vis peace operations, the author explores the
development of the relationship between the UN and Africa since the
inception of the UN. He argues that the relationship “has vacillated
between paternalism and partnership.” Pay attention to the
challenges faced by African states individually and collectively in
engaging the UN. What mechanisms have African states pursued to
‘raise their voices?’   

 This reading should take you approximately 45 minutes to
complete.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.

5.2.2 Development   - Reading: UNDP: Helen Clark’s “The Role of the UN in Overcoming Development Challenges” Link: UNDP: Helen Clark’s “The Role of the UN in Overcoming Development Challenges” (HTML)
  
Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read the entire article. The United Nations has played a major role in both the economic and political development of several African states. In this article, Helen Clark, chief administrator of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), identifies the economic challenges African countries have encountered and the steps the UN has taken in order to address them. Do you believe that the UN has done enough to sufficiently address African problems?  

 This reading should take you approximately 1 hour to complete.  
    
 Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpages above.
  • Reading: Escuela de Organizacion Industrial: Alexandru Nicolae Cosor’s “The Millennium Development Goals Report 2011 for Northern Africa” Link: Escuela de Organizacion Industrial: Alexandru Nicolae Cosor’s “The Millennium Development Goals Report 2011 for Northern Africa” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: Read this article, which explores Northern Africa’s Millennium Development Goals. In 2000, the international community agreed on these eight goals, ranging from universal education to combating HIV/AIDS to environmental sustainability and determined that these goals should be met by 2015. Ending extreme poverty is one of the most important goals for Africa and one of the hardest to achieve. For more up-to-date information on Africa’s progress, please access the UN’s Millennium Development Goals website.
     
    Reading this article should take approximately 30 minutes.
     
    Terms of Use: This resource is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Spain License. It is attributed to Alexandru Nicolae Cosor and the original version can be found here.

5.2.3 Humanitarian Intervention   - Reading: Institute for Security Studies: Monograph No. 36 – Whither Peacekeeping in Africa?: Christopher Clapham’s “The United Nations and Peacekeeping in Africa” and UN’s “Humanitarian and Disaster Relief Assistance” The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

[Submit Materials](/contribute/)
  • Reading: Humanitarian Practice Network’s Humanitarian Exchange: Ramesh Thakur’s “‘No More Rwandas:’ Intervention, Sovereignty and the Responsibility to Protect”

    Link: Humanitarian Practice Network’s Humanitarian Exchange: Ramesh Thakur’s “‘No MoreRwandas:’Intervention, Sovereignty and the Responsibility to Protect” (HTML or PDF)

    Instructions: Please click on the link above, and read the entire article on the webpage, or you may download the PDF version by clicking on the link ‘Download the Paper humanitarianexchange026.pdf.’ The Rwandan genocide of 1994 witnessed the slaughter of roughly one million people in the span of 100 days. Despite knowledge about what was occurring in this small African state, the international community chose not to act. The debate on whether to get involved remained a debate rather than a call to action. The international community made a conscientious decision not to get involved in Rwanda and allowed the massacre to continue. . This decision was made despite an obligation under international law to intervene on humanitarian grounds. States chose to ignore this mandate, ostensibly out of respect for state sovereignty. After the Rwandan genocide, the UN Secretary-General challenged the international community to reconcile the concepts of state sovereignty and humanitarian intervention in order to prevent similar situations from occurring in the future. Canada responded to the challenge and formed the International Commission on Intervention and State Sovereignty (ICISS) in 2000. This body of experts released its report ‘The Responsibility to Protect’ in 2001, which has become the cornerstone of international responses to conflicts.  The article above, written by a member of the ICISS, outlines the debate.

    This reading should take you approximately 45 minutes to complete.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

5.3 Regional and Sub-Regional Integration Efforts in Africa   5.3.1 Regional Cooperation and Integration   - Reading: African Union Commission: African Integration Review: Dr. Paul G. Adogamhe’s “PAN-AFRICANISM Revisited: Vision and Reality of African Unity and Development” Link: African Union Commission: African Integration Review: Dr. Paul G. Adogamhe’s “PAN-AFRICANISM Revisited: Vision and Reality of African Unity and Development” (PDF)
 
Instructions: Click on the link above ; scroll down to the Vol.2 No. 2 edition of the Journal and then click on the title of the article to access the pdf version. Dr. Adogamhe reviews the concept of Pan-Africanism and explores the ways in which it has been employed to meet specific needs within African political discourses.  Pay particular close attention to the discussion on the OAU, AU, and NEPAD as well as the associated opportunities and challenges.
 
This reading should take you approximately 3 hours to complete.
 
Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: Fordham University’s Internet Modern History Sourcebook: Paul Halsall’s version of “The Charter of the Organization of African Unity (May 25 1963)” and the African Union’s “AU in a Nutshell”

    Link: Fordham University’s Internet Modern History Sourcebook: Paul Halsall’s version of “The Charter of the Organization of African Unity (May 25 1963)” (HTML) and the African Union’s “AU in a Nutshell” (HTML)

    Instructions: Please click on the first link above, and read the charter, focusing on the objectives of the Organization of African Unity. Then, click on the second link above, and read the information on the African Union, the OAU’s successor IGO. Do you discern any differences in objectives and core principles?

    These readings should take you approximately 1 hour to complete.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

5.3.2 Sub-Regional Cooperation and Integration   - Reading: African Journal of Political Science and International Relations: Mark Chingono and Steve Nakana’s “The Challenges of Regional Integration in Southern Africa”

Link: African Journal of Political Science and International
Relations: Mark Chingono and Steve Nakana’s[“The Challenges of
Regional Integration in Southern
Africa”](http://www.academicjournals.org/AJPSIR/contents/2009cont/Oct.htm)
(PDF)

Instructions: Please click on the link above, select the “Full
Article” link for “The Challenges of Regional Integration in
Southern Africa” to download the PDF file, and read the entire
article (13 pages). In addition to continent-wide organizations such
as the OAU, regional organizations such as the SADC were established
to facilitate trade and investment and reduce barriers between
member countries. This article presents some challenges that these
regional organizations have encountered.

This reading should take you approximately 1 hour and 30 minutes to
complete. 

Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpages above.    
  • Reading: Southern African Development Community’s “About SADC” and Economic Community of West African States’ “ECOWAS in Brief” Link: Southern African Development Community’s “About SADC” (HTML) and Economic Community of West African States’ “ECOWAS in Brief” (HTML)

    Instructions: Please click on the links above, and read the overviews of the SADC and ECOWAS. On the Economic Community of West African States’ website, make sure to click on the link for “The Commission,” and read that webpage as well.  Pay particular attention to the objectives of the organizations and the ways in which these organizations attempt to meet their goals.

    These readings should take you approximately 30 minutes to complete.

    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpages above.

5.4 Africa’s Multidimensional Armed Conflicts   - Reading: Foreign Policy Magazine: Jeffrey Gettleman’s “Africa's Forever Wars - Why the Continent's Conflicts Never End” and Institute for Security Studies: Monograph No. 36 – Whither Peacekeeping in Africa?: Tom Lodge’s “Towards an Understanding of Contemporary Armed Conflicts in Africa” The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

[Submit Materials](/contribute/)
  • Reading: Friedrich Ebert Stiftung International Politics and Society: Stephen Ellis’ “The Old Roots of Africa’s ‘New’ Wars” Link: Friedrich Ebert Stiftung International Politics and Society: Stephen Ellis’ “The Old Roots of Africa’s ‘New’ Wars” (PDF)
     
    Instructions: The above link takes you to the table of contents of an issue of the journal International Politics and Society; click on the blue box in front of the article to access the pdf version of it. Here, Ellis argues that Africa’s post-Cold War wars often began during the Cold War and/or have historical roots in that era. He goes on to examine the salient characteristics of contemporary African armed conflicts.
     
    This reading should take you approximately 1.5 hours to complete.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: United Nations Report of the Secretary-General: Kofi Annan’s “The causes of Conflict and the Promotion of Durable Peace and Sustainable Development in Africa” The Saylor Foundation does not yet have materials for this portion of the course. If you are interested in contributing your content to fill this gap or aware of a resource that could be used here, please submit it here.

    Submit Materials