Building and sustaining peace in Africa has featured extensively in communiques among BRICS member states. Stability, security and silencing the guns are significant African aspirations – and central to Africa becoming more efficient and competitive.
South Africa has played a significant role in peacekeeping missions in African countries such as Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Sudan. It has deployed troops as part of the United Nations peacekeeping force in the eastern DRC since 1999, when the Second Congo War broke out.
South Africa also took over command, in January 2015, of the UN Force Intervention Brigade, a military formation which constitutes part of the UN Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the DRC. This was mandated by the UN Security Council, acting on the recommendations of former UN secretarygeneral Ban Ki-moon.
South Africa has proposed that a BRICS peacekeeping working group be established. This will be deliberated during the meeting of the BRICS heads of state at the 2018 summit. Silencing the guns by 2020 is an ambitious target proposed by the AU.
This would require significant funding, which begs the question: To what extent can the AU, through it engagement with the BRICS bloc, leverage the permanent seat held by China and Russia on the UN Security Council to end all conflicts in the region? And, can it do the same with South Africa, which was reappointed to the council as a nonpermanent member for the period 2019 to 2020?
There is room for deeper engagement between the BRICS and the AU’s Peace and Security Council.
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