While candidly acknowledging that African governments, institutions, and societies need to take more responsibility and ought to do more to address their security challenges, they just cannot do it alone. Given the increasingly complex and interdependent nature of the African security environment the continent simply lacks the resources and capacity to tackle current and future problems. Thus, the active involvement and constructive participation of the wider global community is essential. This chapter calls for international involvement that is intelligently focused, prudently implemented, and done in partnership with Africans. Involvement that requires listening to African concerns and geared toward addressing African needs and not any external agenda. This will require an across the board overhaul of international programs, tools, and strategic vision. It also means a vastly reduced role for militaries and short-term fixes and a greater emphasis on finding the ways and means that empower people and societies through political, social and economic development.
Africa is a security environment fraught with many dangers, but one too that presents great opportunities for addressing the most pressing global—and not just African—challenges. With more than its share of fragile, unstable states, impoverished societies, and endemic conflict, the continent was once seen almost exclusively as an incubator of instability and insecurity; a venue for addressing rising challenges and an exporter of global security threats. But this is no longer the case. Africa, like everywhere else in the world, is becoming increasingly integrated into a globalized security system, whereby Africans are just as vulnerable to threats emanating from outside the continent as they are from home-grown ones. Thus, Africa—and what happens there—matters more than ever. Simply ignoring it and hoping for the best through a policy of containment and isolation is not a viable option in today’s globalized and interdependent world.