n Conflict Trends - Peacemaking in the Ecowas Region : challenges and prospects

Volume 2009, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1561-9818


This article attempts to assess the impact of the peacemaking organs of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), with emphasis on the Council of the Wise and the special representatives of the ECOWAS president. Particular attention is paid to challenges hindering the work of the organs in the prevention and management of conflicts in the subregion, and opportunities for more effective interventions. This is imperative for two main reasons: first, 2009 marks 20 years of civil war in West Africa, starting in Liberia. Second, in the past six months, there have been serious threats to the peace being experienced in West Africa, as evident in recent happenings in Guinea-Bissau, Guinea-Conakry and Togo. Although there are no active violent conflicts in the subregion today, the fragility of states and the realisation that the fight against the era of coups d'état and unconstitutional takeover of power is yet to be fully over, is troubling. Despite the fact that ECOWAS is quite advanced in peace and security matters, there is the ever-constant need to reflect on what has been achieved and what challenges need to be surmounted to attain economic integration, development and prosperity - the main purpose for ECOWAS's founding in 1975.

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