Peacebuilding and Statebuilding in Africa


The overarching aim of this research is to contribute to a reframing of the narratives that surround peacebuilding processes in Africa. Contemporary narratives underpinning the making of Africa’s states and the process of ensuring their viability are inadequately understood in academia and in the world of policy and practice. The potential or actual outbreak of intractable conflicts, which sometimes threatens the very survival of African states and the efforts to reconcile affected societies and set them back on the course of state building are rarely constructed as part of a continuum. This research project aims to capture and document these narratives and in so doing it interrogates common and established understanding of statebuilding and peacebuilding processes in Africa

Research Objectives:

This research will be guided by four key objectives:

  1. To draw new and comparable insights about the trajectory of countries that have pursued their statebuilding conversations in part through violent conflict.
  2. To develop conceptual grounding of peacebuilding and statebuilding in Africa.
  3. To draw lessons for peacebuilding processes in countries undergoing violent conflict in the course of statebuilding; and in particular for actors seeking to intervene in those contexts.
  4. To deepen the knowledge of next generation academics and researchers on this subject – through participation in this research and development of curriculum for the study of peace and statebuilding processes in Africa.

Research Questions:

This research seeks to address this central question:


  • To what extent, do particular forms of peace settlements lead to sustainable peace and statebuilding?


In addition it will seek to examine the following:


  • How has the conduct and management of the conflicts in the target countries transformed statebuilding discourses and processes – for good or bad?
  • What forms of political settlements have demonstrated potential for success or sustainability in terms of peace building and state building? What key features separate one form of peace settlement from others?
  • Have the political settlements contributed meaningfully to reconciling society, thus altering the conversations between ruling elite and the populations they govern toward building systems that make the state more responsive while creating alternative channels and means for the pursuit of conflict in society? Or have they reversed this trend, doing more harm than good?
  • To what degree have the political settlements contributed to redressing the imbalance in the quality of attention given to gender inequities in society vis-à-vis other identity issues that underline national conversations in statebuilding?
  • What degrees of legitimacy and societal trust underpinned each form of political settlement? Was there widespread support for the leading proponents and actors? What impact did this have on the peace efforts?



This study targets five main country case studies namely; Ethiopia, Rwanda, Côte d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone and Kenya, in order to compare the outcomes and impact of various forms of peace settlements.

Research Team

Principal Investigator

Dr. ‘Funmi Olonisakin

Senior Programme Advisor

Professor. Winnie Mitullah

Côte d’Ivoire:

Professor. BoubacarN`diaye – Lead Researcher:

Boubacar N’DIAYE is a Professor of Political Science and Pan-African Studies at The College of Wooster, OH, USA. He specializes in civil-military relations, security sector governance, and democratization. He is an author, co-author, co-editor of or contributor to several journal articles and books the recent being–West Africa and the US War on Terror (2013). Dr.N’Diaye is involved in various academic and advocacy initiatives designed to reform security establishments in Africa and currently he is training of policymakers and members of armed forces in the governance of security in West Africa.

Sonja Theron – Research Assistant

Nayanka Perdigao – Research Assistant


Prof. Medhane Tedasse – Lead Researcher

Alagaw Ababu – Research Assistant


Dr. Godwin Murunga – Lead Researcher

Rachel Sittoni – Research Assistant

Clement Sefa-Nyarko – Research Assistant


Dr. 'Funmi Olonisakin – Co-lead Researcher

David Mwambari – Lead Researcher.

Alfred Muteru Ndumo – Research Assistant and Research Coordinator

Barney Walsh – Research Assistant

Sierra Leone:

Dr. Abiodun Alao – Lead Researcher

Dr. Eka Ikpe – Researcher

Jacob Kamau – Research Assistant and Assistant Research Coordinator


This study is supported by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).


 For further information, contact the Research Coordinator – Alfred Muteru Ndumo

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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