Diplomacy has been used in the conduct of foreign policies in Africa. However, a disconcerting trend in
the practice of diplomacy in Africa is the often limited successes, and sometimes failures, of states and
regional organisations in achieving foreign policy objectives. Remarkably, such failures are not only
typical of diplomacy targeting external actors, but are equally visible in intra-African diplomacy. By
and large the diplomatic skills of Africa are tested mostly during periods of conflicts and threats to
regional security. In most of these situations, diplomacy has proved to be ineffective in achieving desired
outcomes. Consequently, most conflicts remain unresolved, while threats to good governance persist.
The failures of diplomacy are largely due to a confluence of factors, including the quality of diplomacy
and mediators, the pervasiveness of conflicts, Africa’s lack of international influence, its dependence on
external actors and consequent lack of assertiveness, as well as Africa’s lack of courage to stand up to
errant leaders whose actions threaten good governance and regional security.