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Africa: Facing Human Security Challenges in the 21st Century

Tatah Mentan

Publication Year: 2014

Africaís dynamic security environment is characterized by great diversityófrom conventional challenges such as insurgencies, resource and identity conflicts, and post-conflict stabilization to growing threats from piracy, narcotics trafficking, violent extremism, and organized crime taking root in urban slums, among others. This precarious environment jeopardizes security at the societal, community and individual levels. In a globalized and interconnected world, millions of people worldwide are affected by some form of human insecurity. Infectious and parasitic diseases annually kill millions. Internally displaced persons number millions, including 5 million in Sudan alone. In Zambia 1 million people in a population of 11 million are reported to be HIV-positive, a situation much worse in other countries. Potable water crisis looms almost everywhere. In this book Tatah Mentan points out the need to shift the focus away from a state-centric and military-strategic emphasis on security to an interdisciplinary and people-centric approach that embraces notions like global citizenship, empowerment and participation. The primary elements of economic, food, health, environment, personal, community and political security all comprise the broader understanding of human security in an intricately interconnected world.

Published by: African Books Collective

Title Page, Copyright

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I want to thank His Grace Archbishop Paul Verdzekov (RIP) because he helped me learn & practice using social science research tools at the very stages of my academic career. He was a brilliant, extraordinary, and inspiring mentor in human and moral security concerns as well as an intellectual and spiritual advisor. He was an...


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pp. v-vi

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pp. vii-xiv

In the middle of the 1990s the concept of human security was introduced as a reflection of a general change of the stress from the military state-centric issues (assumed by the realist and neo-realist orthodoxism) to non-military issues. This new narrative consists in the transformation of the individual into the reference object of...

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pp. xv-xviii

In the post-Cold War world, a series of horrendous internal conflicts have claimed the lives of millions of people in regions like Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe. The specter of genocide, ethnic cleansing, failed and lawless states, and massive refugee flows beg a coordinated international response. In an age of global...


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pp. xix-xx

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Part I: Prologue, Introduction and Conceptual Considerations

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pp. 1-8

Human security generally seeks to build upon and combine insights from other perspectives. Subsequently, in addition to examining the state security perspective, human security brings together the security, development and human rights agendas in an integrative, prioritized and strategic way. As a result, human security advocates...

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1. Introduction

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pp. 9-16

The current return to the horrendous human insecurity status quo ante in Africa following the economic crisis of the late 20th Century must entail, among many countries, a renewed desire to push through some of the broad reforms which do not seem forthcoming during 21st Century. The phrase through which these...

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2. Conceptualizing Globalization, Hegemony, and Human (In)Security

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pp. 17-46

Commentators on contemporary issues are divided on the meaning and impact of hegemonic globalization, which is the process of integrating the world community into a common system either economically or socially. Globalization is a hot topic for many people, especially educated professionals whose work focuses on...

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Part II: Challenges of Human Security In Africa

Human security in Africa is in a precarious situation. The challenges of attaining the security of African peoples are manifold and include poor relations between the military and civilian authorities, the prevalence of a politics of exclusion, the weakness of civil society, and the failure of states. Africa faces challenges caused by natural...

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3. Economic (In)security

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pp. 49-80

Poverty is the common denominator of economic insecurity. Globalization and poverty are two of the most pressing contemporary international development issues. Despite the enormous potential of globalization to accelerate economic growth and development, through greater integration into the world...

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4. Food and Nutrition Security

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pp. 81-128

Food and nutrition insecurity is an urgent public health issue for Africans because of high rates of poverty; the effects of global climate change and environmental pollution on traditional food systems and high rates of diet-related diseases. However, to date, public health has operated with conceptualizations of food security...

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5. Environmental Challenges to Human Security

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pp. 129-184

The fate of African countries and their citizens is inextricably bound to the natural environment that enables these states and citizens to survive economically through the exploitation and exportation of their natural resources. The natural environment further directly provides for the livelihood of some 80 percent of...

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6. Globalization and Challenges of Political Insecurity in Africa

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pp. 185-232

Africa has become associated with conflict, insecurity and human rights atrocities. In the popular imagination and the media, overpopulation, environmental degradation and ethnic hatred dominate accounts of African violence, while in academic and policy-making circles, conflict and insecurity have also come to...

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7. Challenges to Health Security

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pp. 233-276

The World Health Organization (WHO) says regardless of promises of better healthcare by governments and donor countries, millions of mothers, newborn babies and children continue to die each year in Africa from preventable diseases. The WHO has found that some of the continent’s biggest problems are getting worse and...

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8. Cultural Insecurity in Africa Today

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pp. 277-320

With the world rapidly becoming a global village through free trade pressures, many are raising questions about what will happen to Africa’s rich and diverse culture and people heritage. In essence, globalization is a phenomenon that seems to be based on the success of transnational corporations to promote a “new economic...

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9. Personal/Citizen Insecurity in Africa

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pp. 321-358

Africa’s dynamic security environment is characterized by great diversity – from conventional challenges such as insurgencies, resource and identity conflicts, and post-conflict stabilization to growing threats from piracy, narcotics trafficking, violent extremism, and organized crime taking root in Africa’s urban slums, among...

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10. Social Insecurity in Africa: Challenges and Prospects

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pp. 359-408

The global economic crisis of 2008/09 illustrated the importance of addressing social security across all African countries. Access to social security is an important human right that helps to alleviate poverty and improve standards of living. Through social security, the lives of the marginalized groups in the society are improved. The...

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11. Community Security

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pp. 409-468

One of the social effects of capitalist individualism is the destruction of community security. Colonial capitalism in Africa destroyed almost all non-economic or non-profit-related values and replaced these with a mere “cash nexus”. It made the market and therefore considerations of monetary profit and loss the sole criteria...

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Part III: Epilogue and Conclusion

Threats to human security do not necessarily take cataclysmic forms such as war or natural disaster. Nor does human insecurity exist solely within a suspended living environment like refugee camps. Often threats to human security are as subtle as a slowrising tide whose calamitous nature remains unknown till it breaks...

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12. Review of the Past and Present, Conclusions and Looking Ahead

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pp. 471-520

Human insecurity in Africa is not a problem of the future. There are many concerns in the world today, and human insecurity is currently in the front seat. Africa can only address so many problems at a time. But, the continent cannot afford to put human insecurity off until the need to find a solution becomes dire. All the...


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pp. 521-558

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9789956792368
Print-ISBN-13: 9789956791118

Page Count: 578
Publication Year: 2014