Partnering to Make Peace: The Effectiveness of Joint African and Non-African Mediation Efforts

Allard Duursma

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This article systematically examines the varying effectiveness of African and non-African third parties in mediating civil wars in Africa. Drawing on data from the Uppsala Conflict Data Program, supplemented with unique data on mediation efforts, which together cover all mediation efforts in civil wars in Africa between 1960 and 2012, this article presents quantitative evidence supporting the effectiveness of African third parties. Compared to non-African third parties, African third parties are far more likely to conclude peace agreements and these peace agreements are more likely to be durable. Most effective, however, are mixed mediation efforts in which there is coordination between African and non-African third parties, but in which African third parties take the lead. The phrase, ‘African solutions to African challenges’ should thus be understood as a division of labour and responsibilities, rather than an excuse for non-African third parties to ignore Africa’s problems or African third parties acting on their own. Indeed, whilst African third parties should take the lead in mediation processes in African civil wars, non-African third parties should support these processes by lending additional strength. Through supplementing each other’s comparative advantages, African and non-African third parties can more effectively resolve civil wars in Africa.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-26
Number of pages26
JournalInternational Peacekeeping
Early online date4 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Humanitarian and Conflict Response Institute


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