Event sponsored by the School of Government and Society & The Institute for Conflict, Cooperation and Security, University of Birmingham

For over two decades Somalia has presented a range of development and security challenges for national, regional and international actors, becoming in recent years a source of considerable security threats for its immediate neighbours, the region, and the international community. These threats, which have combined to push Somalia progressively up the regional and international agenda, include: low human development indicators; high profile incidents of piracy by Somali groups; terrorist attacks claimed by the Somali group Al-Shabab in Uganda 2010 and Kenya more recently, and the formal alliance of Al-Shabab with Al-Qaeda.

Rather than simply re-visiting these challenges and problems, this half-day workshop will focus on solutions, and in particular a dilemma for which Somalia has become a key testing ground: what balance should be struck between the ‘African solutions’ which donor states and international organisations promote and international responses to such security challenges? The first session will focus on the motives for, and content of, international responses to the challenges Somalia poses, raising questions about the prospects for and limitations of African solutions to security challenges on the content. The second session will explore the responses of two states, Uganda and Kenya, illuminating the relationship between domestic politics in these states and the decisions they make regarding regional policy and participation in ‘African solutions.’ The workshop will therefore provide a multi-level analysis of the prospects for African solutions in stabilising Somalia, and an opportunity to explore the balance between African and international responses to crises on the continent.


13.00: Registration

13.30: Welcome by Professor Nicholas Wheeler, Director of the Institute for Conflict, Cooperation and Security

13.45-15.15: African problems? Somalia’s challenge to peace and security in Africa and beyond

  • Professor Paul Williams, George Washington University: ‘AMISOM's Challenges: A Hybrid Solution to an International Problem?’
  • Dr Knox Chitiyo, Chatham House: ‘Reflections on “African Solutions” in Somalia and beyond’

15.15-15.30: Break

15.30-17.00: African solutions? Motives for, and implications of, African intervention in Somalia

  • Professor David Anderson, Oxford University: ‘Kenya’s Somalia invasion: local indications, regional implications’
  • Dr Jonathan Fisher, ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow, IDD- University of Birmingham: 'Uganda in Somalia: Five years on, still the same story?'

17.00-17.15: Thanks and closing remarks.