Hybrid Regionalism in Africa Towards a Theory of African Union Interventions

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  • Niklas Krösche

Since its establishment, the African Union (AU) takes on an active role in regional security matters through different types of interventions. These interventions, however, remain undertheorized. This paper argues that African hybrid regionalism, which combines problem-solving and regime-serving logics of cooperation, shapes the AU's intervention practice in specific ways. To this end, I first theorize how the parallel presence of these logics shapes AU interventions before probing the empirical validity by studying coercive interventions undertaken by the AU Peace and Security Council (PSC) between 2005 and 2021. For this purpose, I employ methods of content analysis to systematically code all publicly available meeting documents issued by the PSC. The results demonstrate that the AU strives to prevent and manage crises through interventions but does so in ways that protect or promote incumbent regimes, either by producing direct benefits for them or, when their actions contribute to the crisis, by avoiding head-on confrontations. This suggests careful balancing of the two main impetuses in African security regionalism, namely solving transnational problems and serving the interests of incumbents.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAfrican and Asian Studies
Issue number1-2
Pages (from-to)39-62
Number of pages24
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Niklas Krösche, 2023 |

    Research areas

  • African Union, hybrid regionalism, interventions, problem-solving, regime-serving
  • Politics