Good talk, not enough action: The AU's counter-terrorism architecture, and why it matters

Africa has a long history of terrorism, but it has only recently begun to acknowledge the problem and treat it as a threat that transcends borders. Despite the slow start, the African Union (AU) has implemented a fairly progressive counter-terrorism framework, pushing states to coordinate their responses in order to close loopholes and shut down potential safe havens.

This framework has limitations, however, especially in terms of implementation. Some states have been reluctant to adopt the continental policy, as shown by the poor ratification of key legal instruments and the slow adoption of the model law.

A lack of resources prevents the purpose built terrorism research centre from operating at full capacity, and there is still no functioning continental court. 

The AU should encourage states to meet their obligations, and take a more prominent role through its own institutions, such as the Peace and Security Council.

About the author

Simon Allison is a senior reporter for the Daily Maverick, a South Africa based digital publication, and a consultant with the Institute for Security Studies. He specialises in African news and analysis with emphasis on conflict, security and counter-terrorism. He holds degrees from Rhodes University and the School of Oriental and African Studies, and has lived and worked across Africa and the Middle East.