Accepted paper:

Achieving Peace and Coexistence through African Potentials


Itaru Ohta (Kyoto University)
Motoji Matsuda (Kyoto University)
Gebre Yntiso Deko (Addis Ababa University)

Paper short abstract:

Africa is viewed as being in a state of deficiency in addressing conflicts. Hence, foreign solutions are prescribed for local problems. Against the backdrop of flawed views and prescriptions, this paper sheds light on ‘African potentials’ in handling conflicts and attaining peaceful coexistence.

Paper long abstract:

African societies, like other peoples in the world, have rich histories, cultural heritages, knowledge systems, philosophies and institutions that they shaped and reshaped in due course. However, African people are often viewed as incapable of addressing their problems on their own and the continent is portrayed as being in a state of deficiency. Based on such erroneous perspectives, global solutions are prescribed, out of context, for local problems. The prescription or imposition of the so-called liberal peace-building approach (ceasefire monitoring, peace negotiations, disarmament, demobilisation, security sector reforms, civil society capacity building, good governance and economic reorganisation) is a case in point. Against the backdrop of paternalistic thinking, this paper intends to shed light on what we call the African potentials (values, knowledge, practices, philosophies, and institutions) in handling conflicts and attaining coexistence. Without recognizing and integrating local peace approaches, the top-down global prescriptions cannot be expected to be effective because the later are unlikely to be accepted as legitimate by communities. Based on a new book titled "African Virtues in the Pursuit of Conviviality: Interrogating local solutions in light of global prescriptions" that we have edited in 2017, we intend to critique the liberal peace (which is based on ethos specific to the west) and discuss the features of key African virtues such as collectivity, hybridity, adaptation, resilience, innovativeness, and honesty, among others. Concrete examples of operational African potentials will be presented to illustrate the line of argument.

panel P203
Uncovering the merits of African approaches to foster democracy, human rights, and conflicts resolutions in Africa