Peace and Security Council Report Issue No.109
This report discusses several issues regarding peacebuiding in Africa under the following headings: 1) The Focus on 32nd AU summit: elections could see big powers return to the PSC. In February 2019 the 15-member Peace and Security Council (PSC) will elect five new members for a three-year term. This comes amid discussions around strengthening the continental body in charge of peace and security. 2) The slow pace of ‘changing mindsets’ on AU reform - AU heads of state met in Addis Ababa on 17 and 18 November for an extraordinary summit on the AU reforms. While some progress was made, the success of the reforms will be in their implementation. 3) The AU should remain steadfast on Gabon On 14 November 2018 Marie-Madeleine Mborantsuo, the president of Gabon’s Constitutional Court, announced that the court had introduced a constitutional amendment addressing instances where the president was ‘temporarily unavailable’. This move, over which the AU has expressed its concern, is viewed as unconstitutional by civil society and the opposition. 4) On the Agenda: A busy election year ahead in 2019 - 2019 will be a busy electoral year on the continent, with at least 11 presidential seats up for grabs. Some of those elections will be combined with legislative and/or local polls. Ideally, Africa should be moving towards less contentious and violent pre- and post-electoral situations. Yet electoral periods remain volatile and pose serious challenges to peace and stability on the continent. 5) Human suffering underlines the urgency to do more in 2019 - In 2019 the PSC is likely to see crises in places such as South Sudan, Somalia, the Central African Republic (CAR) and the Sahel remain on its agenda. Other burning issues such as Cameroon could spiral out of control if not handled by the continental body. 6) PSC Interview: The African free trade area could be a reality by March 2019 - The agreement on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) has the potential of boosting intra-African trade and supporting Africa’s economic development. Yet some are still sceptical about its implementation. The PSC Report spoke to Carlos Lopes, Professor at the University of Cape Town, a member of Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s AU reform advisory team and former executive secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.