Africa and Europe in a dialogue to prevent crises

06.02.2019 - Article

In their discussions with the German President Steinmeier, experts from Africa and Europe agreed that crisis prevention required greater self-criticism and political leadership.

President Steinmeier attending a discussion at the PeaceLab in Addis Ababa.
President Steinmeier attending a discussion at the PeaceLab in Addis Ababa.© Germany's Foreign Office

Together with President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, researchers from the Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS) at Addis Ababa University, representatives from think tanks and the African Union, peace activists and diplomats discussed early crisis detection and crisis prevention. The debate focused on what Europe and Africa can learn from one another.

The discussion also touched on positive examples in which worse outcomes were prevented, such as in Gambia and Burkina Faso. It was felt that the decisive factors here were an established network of regional leaders as well as the political will to take action.

A further important insight was the fact that crisis prevention can only really succeed within a multilateral framework. President Steinmeier also addressed this topic and thanked the participants, expressing his clear commitment to multilateralism and crisis prevention.

At the end of the discussion at the PeaceLab in Addis Ababa, there was a consensus that political sensitivities in particular represented a huge obstacle in the area of crisis prevention. Governments have a tendency to ignore negative developments and often do not want to acknowledge them. Their reflex is usually to engage in pre-emptive defence, instead of tackling conflict potential head-on and in a self-critical and self-confident manner.

PeaceLab is a project of the Global Public Policy Institute in Berlin that is supported with Federal Foreign Office funding.

© Germany's Foreign Office

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