Accepted Paper:

How African is the ideal of 'African solutions to African problems (AfSol)": a methodological critique  
Fana Gebresenbet Erda (Institute for Peace and Security Studies)Dawit Yohannes Wondemagegnehu (Institute for Security Studies (ISS))

Paper short abstract:

This paper explores the ideal of 'African Solutions to African Problems' by looking into the experience of the Institute for Peace and Security Studies. Despite its rhetorical appeal, the practice is undercut by uncritical applications. We suggest use of Africa-centerd methodologies to rectify this.

Paper long abstract:

The ideal of "African Solutions to African Problems" has been used in various contexts and usages. The concept whose roots could be traced back to intellectual debates in the 20th century conveniently permeated into policy level discourse and action in the early 21st century, in part abetted by the discourse of African Renaissance and the centrality of African agency therein. This percept got strong traction within the field of African peace and security, not least for the compelling appeal it provides for imparting a unique take both on the problem and on the need for finding 'African' ways of addressing it. This paper seeks to unravel attempts at the innovative application of the concept in an African academic setting. The paper focuses on the experience of the Institute for Peace and Security Studies, one of the leading African think-tanks which made a serious attempt of deciphering the ideal as an implementation tool for delivering actionable research outputs. The paper observes despite the rhetorical appeal of the percept, the ideal of AfSol was not sufficiently explored for its epistemological relevance, more so when applied on an ontological entity as empirically complex as African peace and security. Its methodological value as a practical tool was undercut by the uncritical application of the concept. We propose complementing the percept by extant attempts of defining Afrocentric methodologies if the intellectual debate on Africa-centred solutions is not going to be a mere 'semantic acrobatics.'

Panel Pol03
The inner life of African organizations: Innovative methods and approaches