Africa: AllAfrica Launches Peacebuilding Focus

Women led pressure groups for peace across Liberia (file photo)
25 January 2019

Cape Town/Dakar — Over the next two years, the AllAfrica Foundation will be examining issues of peacebuilding in Africa, in collaboration with African media partners and African researchers and research organizations. The reporting, which will be published on and made freely available to online, print and broadcast media, is supported by a philanthropic grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York.

A key element of the initiative is giving voice and visibility to the work of African scholars and researchers in universities and policy institutes. The need for more informed, research-based peacebuilding strategies for Africa­ – conflict prevention and interventions and post-conflict peacekeeping – is known to specialists in the field, but even they often lack facts and data from areas outside their specialized expertise.

Africa has hosted at least three-quarters of UN Peacekeepers globally in recent years. And despite a substantial decline in the number of Africa's armed conflicts and their death tolls after the 1980s, the positive trends are at risk from multiple pressures, and progress is threatened.

"The failure of media­­­ – including AllAfrica­­­­ – to focus attention on peacebuilding has marginalized the issue and neglects the many promising efforts by local and national entities," says managing editor Juanita Williams. "As a pan-African news organization, we hope to be part of the change that our responsibilities require."

"As Africans we have many strengths that can help solve the problems we face," says Marieme Ba, AllAfrica's director of French services. "We are grateful for the opportunity to give more editorial attention to the role of building peace in our continent."

Andrea Johnson, a Carnegie Corporation program officer who oversees the philanthropy's strategy to expand the pool of African peacebuilding scholars and to connect them to international scholarly and policy communities, says: "The Corporation has supported the research of several hundred African scholars, many of them still quite early in their careers. These scholars face barriers to getting their research findings into national and global peacebuilding debates and negotiations as well as into media. We believe that AllAfrica has the reach to elevate these voices and enable their research to inform the public about solutions to the pressing problems facing the most conflict-prone parts of the continent."

A widely cited statistic is that more than half of the world's conflicts in 2014 occurred in Africa, which had only 16 per cent of the global population. But only five countries accounted for roughly 90 per cent of conflict deaths across Africa during 2015. Common factors include extreme poverty, an exploding population of young people without jobs, weak states with legacies of extended conflicts, the displacement of millions of people who need humanitarian aid, contests among elites for wealth and power, and a lack of women in policymaking and peacekeeping.

This initiative aims to communicate the extent of the challenges and fracture lines, which are global problems, and to explore their causes. At the same time, stories of courage and progress will be told and tracked.

A related goal of the initiative is to connect insightful African experts with media in their own regions, and to acquaint national and international policymakers with the knowledge and resources those experts possess.

AllAfrica invites ideas and suggestions for the peacebuilding reporting project. Please tweet your thoughts to @allafrica or comment on our Facebook page.

AllAfrica is a pan-African voice – of, by and about Africa – aggregating, producing and distributing news and information from participating African news organizations, civic institutions, public entities and our own reporters to an African and global public. We operate from offices in Cape Town, Dakar, Nairobi, Abuja and Washington DC.

Carnegie Corporation of New York is America's oldest grantmaking foundation, established in 1911 by Andrew Carnegie to promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding. In keeping with this mandate, the Corporation's work focuses on the issues that Andrew Carnegie considered of paramount importance: international peace, the advancement of education and knowledge, and the strength of our democracy.

AllAfrica publishes around 800 reports a day from more than 100 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

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