East Africa Factsheet

East African Countries

Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania and Uganda.

Peace and security dynamics in East Africa

  • Geopolitically, East Africa is part of at least two interlinked regional security complexes: the Horn of Africa and the African Great Lakes complex. This fact sheet will consider influences of both complexes in the sub-region, with the implication that some conflicts will span beyond member states of the EAC to others constituting the Great Lakes and Horn of Africa.
  • Two of the five least safe and most insecure countries in the world are from eastern African: Somalia and South Sudan.
  • Somalia since 1991-devasting for both national and regional security and has become a safe haven for international terrorism
  • Kenya-since return to multi-partyism in 1992-ethnic violence in electoral years coupled with rise of criminal gangs-Mungiki, SLDF, MRC, numerous militias.
  • Rwanda-Genocide and the after effect.
  • Burundi-Ethnic rivalries
  • South Sudan – Ethnic and Leadership rivalries
  •  In Eastern Africa, the major terrorist threat derives from the salafi-jihadist organisation al-Shabaab, which functions primarily out of Somalia. Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Burundi have been directly involved in trying to counter the organization.
  • There was a coup in Sudan in April 2019 and failed remote insurrections that triggered inter- and intra-ethnic tensions in Ethiopia in June 2019 and South Sudan in December 2013.
  • There have been varying degrees of civil strife in Kenya (in 2013 and 2017) and Uganda, led by youthful Robert Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi Wine. In Burundi, the late former president Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision in April 2015 to run for a third term led to a failed coup in May 2015 and long-running civil strife.
  • In the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) there has been political volatility and fighting in the eastern regions for over two decades.

Eastern Africa’s peace and security structures 

  • Eastern Africa is home to two key regional economic communities (RECs).

          -The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD)
          – The Eastern African Community (EAC) Eastern

  • African Standby Force Secretariat (EASFSEC)

Youth in East Africa

  • East Africa has one of the youngest populations in the world. With such a large population of young people, supportive policies and programs on inclusive youth development are critical now more than ever.
  • A majority of the youth-led organisations operate with limited funding, with 49% operating under USD 5,000 per annum and only 11% over USD 100,000
  • Youth believe their main strength and motivation is in working with peers for a common vision of preventing violence and promoting peace in communities. This peer to peer trust is confirmed by a recent study, which reports that 60% of young people see peers as highly credible.
  • Youth-led organisations are applying different skills to overcome funding challenges by finding alternative sources such as through their members, crowd funding, donations and in-kind support. Some push for visibility by participating in and actively joining local, national and international networks and social media. Others solicit funding through traditional sources such as through institutional donor proposals, partnership with CSOs, media houses (radios, TV), and others.
  • A recent study showed that youth-led organisations partnering with civil society members helps pool limited resources.
  • It is primarily Governments and political leaders who seek to mobilize, and often to manipulate, the role and function of youth for political ends. Research findings indicate that such stereotypes are also widely sustained and reinforced by the media.
  • Partnerships are consistently highlighted by young people and their organisations as a key priority and means for expanding their impact in peacebuilding.
  • The climate of mistrust is deeply entrenched in the region, and even if moving towards the same agenda, this mistrust has also been present between young people and the government.

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