Primacy of Politics or Securitising Governance? Options for a Sustainable AU Department of Political Affairs, Peace and Security

Following a trend observed in the United Nations and other intergovernmental organisations, the African Union (AU) opted for institutional reform in 2018. Among the most emblematic results was the merger of the political affairs, and peace and security departments into the Department for Political Affairs, Peace and Security (DPAPS). In February 2021, Ambassador Bankole Adeoye was elected at the helm of the department, which is the biggest and most financially powerful in the AU Commission (AUC). He must set up a new administration while maintaining the AU’s capacity to effectively address governance, peace and security issues. This policy brief analyses the main legal, procedural and political challenges in bringing DPAPS into operation. It argues that the creation of DPAPS was less about the need to provide integrated responses to peace and security issues and more a financial and cost-cutting exercise. It identifies priorities for a sustainable merger of the primacy of politics and governance with instruments and financial capabilities of peace and security.