Africa’s international relations have often been defined and oriented by the dominant international and geopolitical agendas of the day. In the aftermath of colonialism the Cold War became a dominant paradigm that defined the nature of the continent’s relationship with the rest of the world. The contemporary forces of globalization are now exerting an undue influence and impact upon Africa’s international relations. Increasingly, the African continent is emerging as a vocal, and in some respects an influential, actor in international relations. There is a paucity of analysis and research on this emerging trend. This timely book proposes to fill this analytical gap by engaging with a wide range of issues, with chapters written by experts on a variety of themes.

The emerging political prominence of the African continent on the world stage is predicated on an evolving internal process of continental integration. In particular, there are normative and policy efforts to revive the spirit of Pan-Africanism: the 21st century is witnessing the evolution of Pan-Africanism, notably through the constitution and establishment of the African Union (AU). Given the fact that there is a dearth of analysis on this phenomemon, this volume will also interrogate the notion of Pan-Africanism through various lenses – notably peace and security, development, the environment and trade.

The volume will also engage with the emerging role of the AU as an international actor, e.g. with regard to its role in the reform of the United Nations  Security Council, climate change,  the International Criminal Court (ICC), the treaty establishing Africa as a nuclear-free zone, Internally Displaced Persons, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), international trade, the environment, public health issues, security, and development issues. This book will assess how the AU’s role as an international actor is complicated by the difficulty of promoting consensus among African states and then maintaining that consensus in the face of often divergent national interests. This book will in part assess the role of the AU in articulating collective and joint policies and in making interventions in international decision and policy-making circles.

The Handbook will also assess the role of African social movements and their relationship with global actors. The role of African citizens in ameliorating their own conditions is often underplayed in the international relations discourse, and this volume will seek to redress this oversight. Throughout the book the various chapters will also assess the role that these citizen linkages have contributed towards continental integration and in confronting the challenges of globalization.

chapter 1|7 pages


The evolution of Africa’s international relations

part I|39 pages

Theories and historical evolution

part II|63 pages

Institutional developments

chapter 7|11 pages

The AU New Partnership for Africa’s

Development (NEPAD) The next 10 years

chapter 8|9 pages

The African Union and regional economic communities

A partnership for peace and security?

chapter 9|12 pages

The African Charter on Democracy,

Elections and Governance Business as usual?

chapter 11|9 pages

Where global meets local

The politics of Africa’s emergent gender equality regime

part III|39 pages

Africa’s international relations Issues and policy areas

chapter 12|10 pages

Africa’s conception of security in transition

The continent’s approach to multilateral interventions, from Nkrumah to the Africa Standby Force

chapter 13|9 pages

Africa and international trade policy

Contesting the World Trade Organization and Economic Partnership Agreements

chapter 14|11 pages

Borders and boundaries

Containing African international migration

part IV|149 pages

Global governance and Africa

chapter 20|10 pages

The African Union and the protection of civilians

Can Africa protect its most vulnerable populations?

chapter 21|12 pages

Africa and international human rights

Assessing national human rights institutions

chapter 22|12 pages

Africa and global climate change

Impacts, vulnerabilities and adaptation challenges

chapter 27|10 pages

Africa and transnational organized crime

Financing insecurity and narco-terrorism

chapter 28|10 pages

Terrorism and the Islamist challenge in the

North African Maghreb A critical assessment

chapter 29|10 pages

Private military companies in Africa

part V|109 pages

Africa and international partnerships

chapter 30|11 pages

Africa and the European Union

An assessment of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy (JAES)

chapter 31|8 pages

Africa’s continental and regional integration

An assessment of EU-EAC trade relations

chapter 33|10 pages

Africa and China

Old stories or new opportunities?

chapter 34|13 pages

Africa and the US AFRICOM

chapter 35|11 pages

India’s sojourn to Africa

chapter 36|10 pages

Japan in Africa

From Cold War diplomacy to TICAD and beyond

chapter 38|10 pages


What is preferable for South Africa and Africa—both or none?

chapter 39|11 pages

Iran-Africa relations

The troubled bridge of Third World dialogue

chapter 40|4 pages


The prospects for Africa’s international relations