Olaf holds a BA, an MA (Distinction) in War in the Modern World, and a PhD in War Studies (King’s College London). He has undertaken extensive field research in Gabon, Cameroon, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.War studies is Olaf’s second career after many years in publishing and the book trade.
His thesis is titled 'Quasi-Armies: Obstacles to, or Vehicle for, State-building in Central Africa.'
Abstract: Any political construct is the result of a particular political culture. So is the state. However, state-building in Africa, whether externally-engineered or endogenously-led, is premised on the accelerated implantation of core elements that are foreign to its political culture. This includes the military, as a main pillar of the state, according to the classical, Weberian definition. The military, as a social and political actor, is part of its surrounding political culture, which it represents and often helps protect against change. In those conditions, can the African military adapt to play a constructive role in modern state-building or must it vitiate state-building at the root as there is a mismatch between its function as a social group and the standard role it is supposed to play as an anchor of the modern state?