One of the fundamental questions in Africa’s search for meaningful political and economic integration is how small states with limited resources promote change in their regional neighborhoods. This study looks at Africa’s Frontline States—Angola, Botswana, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe—to assess their role in southern African security since the 1970s. Several issues formed the basis for collaboration among these Frontline States (FLS) in the 1970s and 1980s: advancing Zimbabwe’s and Namibia’s independence, building regional economic institutions, and managing South Africa’s dominance. The FLS contributed to decolonization and economic integration by aggregating their collective strengths and attracting external actors into the region.
Through the eyes of principal African actors, this study explains local and international efforts at resolving conflicts across the racial and economic divides of southern Africa. It complements the myriad studies on security, conflict resolution, and regional integration in an area undergoing tremendous transformations as it attempts to leave the decolonization conflicts of the 1970s behind.