Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Sub-Regional Conflict Management and Peacekeeping Missions in West Africa
This paper titled “Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and Sub-Regional Conflict Management and Peacekeeping Missions in West Africa” focused mainly on ECOWAS’s involvement in the resolution of intrastate conflicts in West Africa. The paper therefore seeks to bring to the limelight and analyze the basic problems with respect to Conflict management in Africa. The first is the inability of Peace keeping operation’s to adequately resolve Africa’s conflicts. The study analyzed most of the conflicts in the sub-region but major emphasis was only on examples drawn from the ECOMOG intervention in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau. After reviewing the evolution of UN peacekeeping and peacemaking missions in Africa during the Cold War era and post-Cold-War periods, the paper analyzed ECOWAS' first three interventions, in Liberia, Sierra Leone an Guinea-Bissau, setting out it achievements and shortcomings. Through an analysis of more recent interventions in Cote d'Ivoire and Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissu by ECOWAS, the paper revealed that sub-regional intervention to enforce law and order is a complex task, even in such small states. The unpreparedness of ECOWAS to engage in peace keeping operations was evident in the lack of rule-enforcing mechanisms to deal with such cases of indiscipline amongst its troops. The study found out that the reaction of the international community through the aegis of the UN, AU, ECOWAS and other multilateral bodies to conflicts in Africa was found to be ineffective to achieve lasting peace and stability for the continent. While the ECOWAS have been making efforts to deploy troops to Africa to contain conflict situations and nip fresh conflicts in the bud, the organisation has lacked the necessary funding required to execute this mission on time. The paper recommended the creation of awareness on peace agreements, developing professional security forces, Provision of expert training for mediators, Adoption of realistic frameworks and implementation schedules and Exposure those who foment insurgencies as the way-forward for ECOWAS and conflict management and Peace-building in West Africa.
Keywords: Conflict, Management, Peacebuilding, Peacekeeping, Regional Integration