In This Review

African Peacekeeping
African Peacekeeping
By Jonathan Fisher and Nina Wilén
Cambridge University Press, 2022, 272 pp.

Much has been published on international peacekeeping in Africa but very little on the role of African soldiers in peacekeeping operations there. Fisher and Wilén point out that three of the top ten and ten of the top 20 country contributors to UN peacekeeping operations around the world in 2021 were African. An insistence on “African solutions to African problems” in the 1990s led to a greater role for African troops in peacekeeping on the continent, typically subsidized by Western powers increasingly unwilling to put their own troops in harm’s way. The authors say little about the actual peacekeeping operations in which African troops have been involved and focus instead on how this involvement has shaped state building and Africa’s international relations. Fisher and Wilén argue compellingly that peace- keeping is attractive to many African states because it provides resources to the military, allows greater political control over the officer corps, and offers significant diplomatic dividends. An interesting historical chapter draws a parallel between the European colonial practice of shuttling African troops from colony to colony to quell instability and African peacekeeping missions today: that colonial legacy has “embed[ded] a distinctly undemocratic and unaccountable culture” in contemporary African militaries.