AFRICAN PEACEBUILDING IN A WESTPHALIAN CONTEXT: EXAMINING THE ROLE OF RELIGIOUS DIPLOMACY
Keywords:Westphalianism, diplomacy, religious diplomacy, peace building
This paper investigates the relationship between westphalianism, religious diplomacy, and peace-building in Africa. While the principles of state sovereignty and non-interference have long been regarded as the foundation of international relations, the attainment of independence by African states has highlighted new challenges related to settling conflicts within borders. Despite being a continent of diverse ethnic groups, religious diplomacy has emerged as a viable approach for addressing these conflicts by bringing distinct groups together under the umbrella of a shared faith. Methodologically, the research design adopted was descriptive, supported by a qualitative review of existing literature. The research finds that the independence of African countries from their colonial governments guaranteed their access to the principles of Westphalian Peace, however the African Union's dismissal of the concept of non-intervention challenged the principles set forth by the westphalian system. This was due to the increase in intra-state conflict that has resulted in the loss of millions of African lives and created a transnational refugee crisis. The paper identifies religious diplomacy as a valuable approach to address conflicts in Africa due to the significant role of religion in the lives of Africans. In addition, this paper underscores the role of religious diplomacy in addressing the security architecture of African states and the need for the African Union to re-evaluate its stance on non-intervention to promote peace and stability in the region.
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