Sending peacekeepers abroad, sharing power at home: Burundi in Somalia
This article attempts to answer how Burundi has become one of the main troop-contributing countries to international peacekeeping missions. To do this, it examines how the post-conflict political settlement between Burundian parties and external partners has impacted on the decision to deploy Burundian troops in multilateral peace operations in Africa. The authors claim that Burundi’s decision to deploy troops, which took place in the midst of an overarching security sector reform, had a temporary stabilizing effect on the internal political balance due to several factors, including professionalization, prestige, and financial opportunities. From an international perspective, Burundi’s role in peacekeeping has helped to reverse the image of Burundi as a post-conflict country in need of assistance to that of a peacebuilding state, offering assistance to others who are worse off. These factors taken together have also enhanced the possibilities for the Burundian Government to continue its trend of demanding independence from international oversight mechanisms and political missions, while maintaining good relations with donors, despite reports of increasing authoritarianism and limited political space. The article draws on significant fieldwork, including over 50 interviews with key actors in the field and complements the scarce literature on African troop-contributing states.
This article was first published on Tandonline, 09 Mar 2015, pp. 307-325.
(Photo credit: Minsuca)