While the likes of William Easterly think that traditional development scholars mucking about with security matters is beside the point--see his criticism of Paul Collier's advocacy of intervention [1, 2]--there may be a path that is less activist yet keeps security matters in sight as a precursor and not a side-issue to economic development:
The 2002 transition from the organisation of African Unity (OAU) to the African Union has been the catalyst for an African road map for Africa’s Security Architecture (ASA). The AU, and the regional and national organisations to which it is linked, have four main premises for Africa’s security.
First, although recognising the importance of partnership and assistance from external stakeholders, there is recognition that it is Africa which takes primary responsibility for its security.
Second, Africa’s security road-map requires a formal framework, agreed at continental level and implemented at various levels, if it is to have any real-world applicability. this has led to the consensus on an AU led African Security Architecture framework. The ASA articulated the challenges and opportunities for security in Africa, and offers a long-term road map for embedding security in the continent.
Third, in terms of its hard security parameters, the ASA recognises the need to build capacity for African forces to cope with peace and stabilisation efforts. this in turn requires the increased professionalisation of Africa’s militaries and improved coordination of continental, regional and sub-regional militaries for alliance operations. the establishment of the regional Africa Standby Force (ASF) brigades in each of Africa’s regions is intended to strengthen the work done by AU peacekeeping forces. AU forces have achieved a great deal in peace operations, but because they often operate as allied but national forces under an AU aegis, there have been long term problems of equipment interoperability, logistics (particularly lack of air power), command and control, standard operational Procedures (soP) and funding. the establishment of the AsF, with its permanent regional depots, is intended to build sustainable capacity and capability, as well as to shorten reaction times.
Fourth is the realisation that Africa’s security, governance and development are interlinked. In this regard, the AsA should be seen as part of what we might call a wider African Security, Governance and Development (ASGD) architecture. there are no rigid barriers between security, governance and development, Indeed, the conditions under which regional and continental forces can intervene include situations in which a governance and/or development crisis creates insecurity (for instance, military coups or extreme environmental crises). This securitisation of development, which recognises that security is a prerequisite for sustainable development, is important. Also important and often ignored is the ‘developmentalisation’ of security; i.e. the recognition that security forces can, and should on occasion, contribute directly or indirectly to development. this developmentalisation of security is already becoming the ‘new wave’ in the security-development nexus. It has been spurred by the global recession, by the growth of civil society in Africa, by the increasing professionalisation of Africa’s militaries and by questions regarding wealth distribution in Africa.
It relates to longstanding questions about the nature of the state in Africa, about the role of the military, and about whether militaries can engage in non-traditional projects such as state-building. This has been a major issue for allied forces in Afghanistan and Iraq – it is also a question which the ASF and Africa’s militaries will have to engage with. This is one of a number of challenges and opportunities for Africa as it creates an ASGD. the increasing interaction of Africa’s governance, security and development institutions is fundamental for the continent as it seeks to widen its footprint in the global system. This entails ending, or at least moderating, the traditional compartmentalisation and mutual distrust and antipathy which characterised relations between the security, justice, political and development sectors.