Global Commons Security: An African Grand Strategy?

With US President Joe Biden’s Earth Summit approaching in April, there is renewed momentum toward international coming to terms with the accelerating climate crisis which, interrelated with the coronavirus pandemic, may provide new openings for African leadership in securing its share of the Global Commons with wider strategic landscape implications. There is precious little time to waste. As Africa’s only tri-coastal maritime nation, sitting astride the Cape Sea route, it is up to South Africa to lead the way in propelling Africa toward a continental-maritime global commons security strategy in defense of its on-land and sea domains while promoting a peace and cooperation regime mediating rival extra-African geopolitical agendas. Whether Tshwane’s leaders, preoccupied as they are on so many other fronts, have the political will and vision to engage in such a complex but urgent undertaking remains to be seen. But embarking on continental-maritime developmental and security diplomacy involving the African Union and key member states like Nigeria and the Economic Community of West African States, Angola and the Economic Community of Central African states as well as Kenya, the East African Community and members in SADC, could significantly help advance Africa’s continental sovereignty at a time when it is moving forward in implementing the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).