"Armed conflict is one of the greatest threats to Africa’s development. Today, many African countries are in the throes of civil conflict, several more face a heightened risk of experiencing armed violence, while others are recently emerging from protracted wars. The African Union (AU) organised a seminar which was held at the Commission of the African Union, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The participants addressed the following themes: Improving the AU’s performance in mediation ;Consolidating and integrating the approaches of the AU and the RECs in mediation; discussing collaboration with partners including the UN.A common thread throughout the two-day seminar was the nature of mediation relationships between the AU, UN and RECs – more specifically the sensitive question regarding ‘who takes the lead in mediation?’ In addition, other pertinent themes were raised, such as the importance of promoting gender equality and mainstreaming gender in the AU’s mediation framework."