This article attempts to clarify some of the central questions and distinctions that provide the necessary backdrop for thinking in a sophisticated way about security in Africa. Drawing on the developing Critical Security Studies literature it suggests that an understanding of security based on people, justice and change offers the surest route to a stable future. It then sketches preliminary answers to some fundamental questions, namely: whose security should be prioritized? How have security dynamics in Africa been influenced by the wider processes driving world politics? What clusters of threats are the most salient? Where do such threats have the most pernicious effects? Which actors are best placed to alleviate those threats? And what sort of institutions should be built to assist in that process? The role of outsiders concerned with promoting security on the continent should be to try to ensure that as many Africans as possible are able to voice their opinions on these crucial issues.
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