The line, at the AU summit inThe line, at the AU summit in

The failed experiment of “African Solutions for African
Problems (AfSol)” within the context of Oromo Protests in Ethiopia

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Even though the precise meaning of the concept “African Solutions to African
problems” is debatable, it is at least agreed as a concept that offers Africa a
leading role in defining its problems and providing solutions to the problems
facing the continent. Literatures show that African solutions are usually based
on either ownership which is rooted in African identity manifested in its
culture, values and realities of societies. The questions of ownership can
again be discussed in the forms of African states, political leadership and
institutions, and peoples at the grassroots level.

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The transformation of the OAU to the AU was as response to the global demands
as a policy shift by which the new organization would become an effective
mechanism to deal with the numerous problems afflicting the continent. Thus,
the notion of “non-interference” was replaced with that of “non-indifference”,
were the member states of the AU should be concerned with events happening in
the neighborhoods (Omoiya, 2011) and (Apuuli, 2011).
According to Bergholm (2010), the AU structures and the support for the African
solutions to African problems agenda are significantly influenced by the notion
of self-reliance, which is about lessening external interference and forging
Africa-owned solutions to Africa’s disadvantaged position and the notion calls
for Africa’s leaders to unite and assume responsibility and ownership for
Africa’s future. In this way, the AU, African Regional Economic Communities
(RECs), and civil society are calling for African-led solutions to address
African conflicts. These are expected to be more effective, efficient and
sustainable than those initiatives that are driven by non-African institutions
(IPSS, 2009).

In this line, at the AU summit in 2012 the outgoing AU-Commission President
Jean Ping stated that “the solutions to African problems are found on the
continent and nowhere else”. So, the Peace and Security Architecture attached
in the AU and directed by its Peace and Security Council since 2004 stands as
the central building block of this approach. The AU officially builds on the
concept of “human security” and has adopted the principle of
“non-indifference”, breaking away from the previous dominance of the principle
of “non-intervention” on the continent (Vorrath, 2012).

Currently, IPSS is offering a platform for critical debate on the concept of
African-centered Solutions and its practical implications based on the mandate
extended to it by the African Union and the Memorandum of Understanding signed
between IPSS and the AU Peace and Security Department (IPSS, 2014). Then the
2014 first workshop held on December 26-27 answers the question: “Where do we
categorize AfSol?”, and it was reached on consensus that, AfSol is an ideology,
philosophy, and a policy in the making. Consequently, AfSol is placed in the
category of idealism but with blend of realism. Where “ownership”,
“commitment”, and “shared values” are serve as common grounds to accomplish the
project(Ibid).