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Add to Calendar 10/07/2017 14:00 11/07/2017 17:30 Africa/Casablanca African Peace and Security Annual Conference - APSACO .... African Union: What are the Possible Options for Strategic Autonomy ? OCP Policy Center, Rabat The African Union (AU), since its creation, has taken a predominant and active role in matters related to the continent. It therefore took an active stance in the definition of the economic and political destiny of African nations. To enable it to play such a preponderant role, the... OCP Policy Center, Rabat OCP Policy Center contact@ocppc.ma false DD/MM/YYYY
Monday, July 10, 2017 - 14:00 to Tuesday, July 11, 2017 - 17:30

African Peace and Security Annual Conference - APSACO

African Union: What are the Possible Options for Strategic Autonomy ?

OCP Policy Center, Rabat

The African Union (AU), since its creation, has taken a predominant and active role in matters related to the continent. It therefore took an active stance in the definition of the economic and political destiny of African nations. To enable it to play such a preponderant role, the Union can count on an original institutional framework, an African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) and a secretariat (commission) which serves as a boosting coordination body for the various common policies of member states. This institutional metamorphosis, makes perfect sense when analysed in the context of the desire to increase the strategic resilience, the pre-eminence of the African Union and sub-regional organizations, the setup of continental free trade zones, the priority that is given to the south-south cooperation and to triangular cooperation and the institutionalization of international partnerships in the unique diplomatic agenda of the African Union. 

However, while this dynamic is legitimate, it is facing several obstacles such as the old antagonism between federalists and moderate-sovereignists, the lack of financial resources, the internal leadership battles, the dependence on international actors to manage crisis and deal with asymmetric security threats and the dogmatic nature of the founding legal principals of the international African order (i.e. issues of sovereignty, inviolability of borders, respect of independence, principle of people’s self-determination). These principles were set during a particular context of independence and, therefore, might not necessarily be adapted to the current world dynamic, Hence, a critical assessment of the African Union’s structure, purpose and mission is quintessential to identify the main weaknesses, and defines alternative courses of action needed to fortify the organization and adapt it to a globally changing and challenging landscape. The recent report of president Paul Kagame “The Imperative to Strengthen our Union” can be a good start in this regard as it offers some valuable ideas that could stimulate the discussion and help move things forward.

This conference aims to offer such platform of discussion to analyse of the African Union based on the notion of strategic autonomy. This notion is at the heart of the discussions given its importance as a concept and a vector. As a concept, and in the light of the current world dynamic, the notion of strategic autonomy is taking a central stage in the discussions of modern strategic doctrines, particularly in developed countries. In the European Union, the discussion of this notion is still at an early “work in progress” stage. However, in the African context, we observe an absence of such discussion of the concept of strategic autonomy an urgent need to start such debate among all AU member states. The reason for the urgency is that AU strategic autonomy could be real vector for the institution’s positioning in the international scene. It shall therefore serve as a guiding principle. Yet, while anchoring such mindset, the specificities of the continent must be taken into consideration. In this regard, four strategic elements much be taken into consideration and tackled, namely: the weak military interoperability, geopolitical paradoxes (i.e. vulnerability and leadership crisis), economic dependence and diplomatic incoherence. 

The conference will aim to shade light on these issues in order to come up with potential ways to move forward with the notion of strategic autonomy in the context of Africa from a theoretical and practical standpoint.

The African Peace and Security Annual Conference will be broken down into five panels:

PANEL I: Thinking the Autonomy of the African Union in a Changing World

PANEL II: Practices of the African Union

PANEL III: Rethinking the African Economic Development Model

PANEL IV: Collective Security

PANEL V: Policy Panel

 

Agenda

 

Monday July 10th 2017

14:00 – 14:15

Registration

14:15 – 14:25

OPENING REMARKS

14:25 – 14:45

INTRODUCTORY AFTERNOON SESSION

Format: Keynote Speech

14:45 – 16:00

PANEL I: THINKING THE AUTONOMY OF THE AFRICAN UNION IN A CHANGING WORLD

The modern strategic doctrine that redefines the notion of “Strategic Autonomy”, in the light of the current world dynamic, is subject to a large debate to which the African institutions must take part. While such philosophy is well established among super powers, it remains under construction in the EU and almost absent in the conceptual framework of African institutions. 

Key Points: 

• Trends of the African strategic debate: consistency and feasibility of Strategic Autonomy
• The relationship between the African Union and the international actors: Dependence vs. Independence
• Lessons from the European Union’s experience.

Format: Presentations followed by Discussion/Q&A

16:00 – 16:15

Coffee Break

16:15 – 17:30

PANEL II: PRACTICES OF THE AFRICAN UNION

The current African governance framework is characterized by institutional dysfunctions, financial dependence on international donors, problems in the implementation of key sectorial projects and public distrust. This session will explore African Union reforms’ feasibility, in the light of the report of president Paul Kagame “The Imperative to Strengthen our Union”. 

Key Points: 

• The institutional framework of the African Union
• An assessment of key African programs (i.e. Agenda 2063, NEPAD, the African Mining vision) 
• African Union reform proposals 

Format: Presentations followed by Discussion/Q&A

Tuesday July 11th 2017

10:00 – 10:20

INTRODUCTORY MORNING SESSION

Format: Keynote Speech

10:20 – 11:45

PANEL III: RETHINKING THE AFRICAN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT MODEL

The debate around the future economic development of Africa is of an extreme importance given the significant impact of the continent on the global economic outlook. Certain countries are already engaged in a process of modernisation of their economies through a greater diversification of fiscal revenues, the need of creating more value, the urge for more regional and sub regional integration and the importance of reducing dependence on commodities’ revenues to avoid a resource curse. This session will explore the endogenous factors that can serve the economic development of the continent. 

Key Points: 

• Structural transformation of African economies 
• Regional and sub-regional integration 
• The pros and cons of free trade

Format: Presentations followed by Discussion/Q&A

14:00 – 14:20

INTRODUCTORY AFTERNOON SESSION

Format: Keynote Speech

14:20 – 15:50

PANEL IV: COLLECTIVE SECURITY

The autonomous management of the collective security of Africa is a key objective of the African Union. This is why the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA) has been put in place by AU member states. However, this mechanism suffers from the political divergences, the lack of financial resources and the lack of military interoperability. In this context, how can these impediments be addressed to increase the AU’s capacity to manage conflicts and tackle the increasing asymmetric risks? 

Key Points: 

• The reform of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA)
• The African reactivity and responsiveness to crises
• The cooperation with international partners (i.e. the European Union) 
• Peace Keeping Operations in Africa

Format: Presentations followed by Discussion/Q&A

15:50 – 16:00

Coffee Break

16:00 – 17:15

POLICY PANEL

Policymakers and experts will build on their insight and the conclusions of the discussions to assess the possible future scenarios of the AU and identify the potential ways forward. 

Format: Presentations followed by Discussion/Q&A

17:15 – 17:30

CLOSING REMARKS

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