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The African Union as a norm entrepreneur on military coups d’état in Africa (1952–2012): an empirical assessment*

  • Issaka K. Souaré (a1)


Between 1952 and 2012, there were a total of 88 successful military coups in Africa. Of those, 63 occurred prior to 1990, and 10 cases since the adoption, by the defunct Organization of African Unity (OAU), of the Lomé Declaration in July 2000, banning military coups and adopting sanctions against regimes born out of this. The article shows that the African Union (AU) has followed in the footsteps of the OAU in this regard. Assisted by some African regional organisations and international partners, the combined effect of this policy of the AU – assisted by other factors – has been a significant reduction in the occurrence of this phenomenon. While not constituting a funeral arrangement for military coups in the immediate future, these developments – if they were to continue – may indeed make this eventuality achievable in the long run. But the article also reveals some challenges the AU is facing in ensuring this.


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I would like to thank Ato Onoma, Jacques François Aylestock, Charles Mwaura, Lansana Gberie, Solomon Ayelo Dersso, Berouk Mesfin, Aissatou Hayatou, General Jean Michel Mokoko, Godefroy Barandagiye and the anonymous reviewers at JMAS for their useful comments on earlier drafts of this article. The views expressed in this article are exclusively mine, strictly expressed in my personal capacity and they do not, in any way or form, represent the official views of the African Union Commission or those of any of its officials or Member States of the AU.



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