Why Burundi intervenes in the DRC: Self-interest or Pan-Africanist considerations?
Keywords:peace intervention, Burundi, DRC, EAC, Great Lakes region, Pan-Africanism
Questions have abounded as to what Burundi’s motives and interests have been in sending troops, and spearheading the intervention in the eastern DRC. With reference to the case of Burundi’s intervention within the East African Community’s (EAC) response to the growing conflict in the eastern DRC, this article considers a broad range of what Burundi’s motives and interests might be. This includes security and stability, both nationally and regionally, regional political dynamics and the position of Burundi within this, and trade and business opportunities.
This article discusses that in terms of intervention, while the realist perspective can help us to understand Burundi’s intervention in DRC to a large extent, an additional layer of complexity is the multifaceted relationships that African neighbouring states have with one another, and to the continent as a whole. Manifestations of this can be seen in the emphasis by the African Union and individual African states on ‘African Solutions to African Problems’, the principle of subsidiarity, and the Responsibility to Protect. These considerations not only place people at the centre of intervention as opposed to placing the state at the centre, but they also speak to issues of African agency, African resistance to external ‘interference’, Pan-Africanist interests and the decolonial concern of addressing the ongoing colonial legacy.