Reframing State-building and Peacebuilding Narratives in Africa
To date, more than 40 countries have signed the New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States, which places peacebuilding and state-building as two central and mutually reinforcing goals to promote development in fragile and conflict-affected states. Both concepts aim to strengthen state-society relations and promote inclusive political systems. However, realizing these goals requires challenging the entrenched and often exclusionary power structures. This study sets out to question whether peacebuilding, as currently conceived and practiced, is capable of providing a basis for state-building and inclusive political settlements in Africa. It will do so based on field work in five African countries - Sierra Leone, Côte d'Ivoire, Rwanda, Kenya, and Ethiopia. The study will include a review of existing knowledge on peacebuilding and state-building, as well as country-based research involving primary data collection, such as interviews with key informants. It will also look at established peacebuilding and state-building interventions across the five African cases to assess the most effective way of promoting more inclusive political settlements. It is expected that the new knowledge will foster active debate among African academic and policy institutions about what constitutes effective peacebuilding, and what roles are critical for local and international actors.