African security and development in the 21st century

The concept of security is subject to many definitions, based on different schools of thought. For example, the realist conceptualisation of security is state-centric, which essentially means that military action must be geared towards the protection of the territorial sovereignty of a nation-state against threats (Walt, 1991). According to realists, the international state system is characterised by anarchy because of the existence of different nation-states which compete with each other to attain security, resulting in state-centred approaches to security (Gilpin, 1986; Walt, 2003). The realist conceptualisation has faced mounting criticism in the form of different definitions of security which depart from the state-centric underpinnings. An example of this is the constructivist school of thought, which asserts that security is not an objective reality but a shifting and subjective construction by people (Wendt, 1992, 1999). Likewise, Marxists assert that security is linked to the structure and consequences of global capitalism and should not be simplistically linked to the concept of nation-state (Hobden & Jones, 2001). There are other perspectives on security which do not privilege the state in terms of definition and conceptualisation. For instance, Buzan (1983) introduced socioeconomic and environmental matters to the definition of security in which issues such as environmental degradation, economic problems, and other socio-cultural threats come to the fore.

The views by, among others, Buzan (1983, 1991), Hobden andjones (2001), and Wendt (1992, 1999) suggest that there is need for a definition of security which transcends the realist paradigm (state-centric approach). With this in mind, in this book, we accept the view that security should ‘be interpreted as: security of people, not just territory. Security of individuals, not just nations. Security through development, not through arms. Security of all the people everywhere -in their homes, in their jobs, in their streets, in their communities, in their environment’ (U1 Hag, 1995, p. 115). This means that security has implications on development. This is because development is defined as a multidimensional process aimed at improving the human condition. In this sense development includes social, economic, political as well as human development aspects (Burkey,

1993). Differently stated, development should not only be measured in terms of economic growth but must of necessity include and/or lead to qualitative and quantitative changes in the quality of life of people, political stability, and the involvement of people in the development process itself (Mohan & Stokke, 2000; Todaro & Smith, 2006). Consequently, this book adopts the expanded concepts of security and development in Africa, in which the emphasis in the former is not only the state but also the security of people down to the individual level. Similarly, in the latter, development, for it to be authentic and meaningful, must cascade to the people and lead to a holistic improvement in their social, economic, political, and other facets.

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