n African Security Review - Conflict prevention and early warning mechanisms in West Africa : a critical assessment of progress : essays

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The popular adage has it that 'prevention is better than cure'. Given the heavy and enduring costs of armed conflicts, there is no disputing the fact that making efforts to prevent them from breaking out in the first place is better than waiting until it is too late. This entails two things: conflict prevention measures and early warning systems. Anything that could be done to effectively address the root causes of a conflict before it turns violent may fit into the former, while the latter aims to identify threats to these elements so that effective conflict prevention measures can be taken. In other words, ensuring 'human security' is the thrust of the former, while the latter serves as a surveillance camera for any deficit in providing the different components of this 'human security'. It is with these two important issues that this essay deals, with particular reference to West Africa.


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