Originally published in Tana Forum 2019 Tana Papers
Political Dynamics in the Horn of Africa: Nurturing the Emerging Peace Trends
Strategically positioned at the major geopolitical and geo-economic nexus of the Red Sea and the Suez Canal, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) region belongs to the African and Middle Eastern economic, religious, historical, migratory, trade and security zones. It possesses a long coastline with deep natural ports and a busy maritime domain that links Africa, the Middle East, the Far East, and Europe. The presence of four peacekeeping missions with more than 50,000 that comprise of the United Nations (UN) and African Union (AU) peacekeeping troops (Darfur-Sudan, Abyei, Somalia, South Sudan) (UN, 2019) (Turse, 2019) and of hundreds of thousands of foreign military forces, accentuates the peace and security challenges of the IGAD region. Constituting one-seventh of the global displaced population, the number of Internal Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees stands at more than 10 million (UNHCR, 2018). The IGAD is also a region of secessionist movements, of which some have been successful in achieving independence (South Sudan from Sudan, and Eritrea from Ethiopia), and others exercising de facto independence, such as Somaliland from Somalia. In consequence of tectonic shifts triggered both by a strategic global competition of great powers and undercurrent upheavals in its immediate Middle East neighbourhood as well as changes in domestic political landscapes, IGAD is now a region in fast transition. This policy brief examines whether or not these ongoing changes in the region present opportunities for another round of revitalization of IGAD institutions, and if so, what areas of IGAD should be transformed. The policy brief outlines key points concerning the requisite processes and concludes with a series of recommendations for a further phase of institutional revitalization.