Realizing the African Standby Force as a Pan-African Ideal: Progress, Prospects and Challenges


  • Theo Neethling Faculty of Military Science, Stellenbosch University, South Africa


It is commonly accepted that there is a pressing need for African and other role-players to register progress on the need to address, manage and resolve conflicts around the troubled continent. The African Union made significant progress in the development of a cohesive African peace and security system in 2003 when African Chiefs of Defense Staff agreed on the modalities of an African Standby Force (ASF). The ASF concept seems to represent a serious intention on the part of African leaders to set up a multi-national force empowered to intervene militarily in conflict situations. It is also significant as the establishment of such a force will be the manifestation and development of a long-standing pan-African ideal to mobilize a standby (peacekeeping) force on the continent. In brief, the main aim of this paper is to outline, assess and discuss the rationale and some of the key elements for establishing and developing the ASF, and also to reflect on some of the challenges of implementation.

Author Biography

Theo Neethling, Faculty of Military Science, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

Theo Neethling is an Associate Professor of Political Science in the Faculty of Military Science at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. He holds a doctorate in International Politics from the University of South Africa and currently teaches International Relations and Security Studies. He has a special interest in African peacekeeping requirements and regional co-operation.