chapter  1
Introduction:African security in the twenty-first century
ByJames J. Hentz
Pages 6

The purpose of this book is to help the reader understand Africa, with a particular focus on the security issues confronting twenty-first-century Sub-Saharan Africa. Africa, south of the Sahara, consists of forty-eight countries, so generalizations are difficult and possibly dangerous. After all, the distance between Cape Town, South Africa and Khartoum, Sudan (5,242 miles) is roughly the same as the distance between London and Beijing (5,291 miles). As Tim Shaw notes in Chapter 4, Africa has both fragile and developmental states, as well as a chartered member of the BRICS – South Africa. Nonetheless, all forty-eight countries belong to the African Union (AU). Almost all were colonized by European powers; most are the progeny of the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885.1 The Organization of African Unity (OAU), the precursor to the AU, certified the Berlin rules under Article II, paragraph III of its Charter; resolution 16 of the OAU states that it: “solemnly declares that all member states pledge themselves to respect the borders existing on their achievement of national independence”.2 As Herbert Howe explains:

Indeed, the Berlin Conference of 1884-1885 established Africa’s boundaries in part to avoid European conflict in Africa. The absence of antagonisms in Europe after 1918 among the major colonial powers – Britain, France, Portugal and Belgium – and the weak military capabilities of the colonies meant that colonial states in Africa did not fight each other.