WHAT ECOWAS HAS ACHIEVED IN THE AREA OF POLITICAL INSECURITY IN WEST AFRICA

WHAT ECOWAS HAS ACHIEVED IN THE AREA OF POLITICAL INSECURITY IN WEST AFRICA

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1         BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is a regional organisation of 15 West African countries established on 28 May 1975. Its main goal is the promotion of the economic integration among its members. Indeed, ECOWAS is one of the five regional pillars of the African Economic Community (AEC). ECOWAS has three official languages: English, French, and Portuguese. Member states are Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d‟Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo, Guinea, Niger, Cape Verde.(www.ecowas.com 4/12/2013).

The West African sub region is one whose heritage continues to influence the political life of the region. Indeed, without the ECOWAS, West Africa would have been a region largely divided into two sections with each part aligning with either Great Britain or France depending on the individual country‟s colonial experience. Although the battle has not been fully won the ECOWAS has been trying to erode the line of demarcation created by colonialism in west Africa (Ogbeidi, 2010).

Given the very small size of many African countries in terms of population and in term of economic output particularly within West Africa, regional integration became an attractive option after the attainment of political independence in the region. A high degree of ethnic

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differentiation and ethnic politicization has contributed to an impoverished West Africa that is lacking in a reasonable level of infrastructural facilities. The implication of this situation is that left alone, many of the countries will not be effectively viable in a way to achieve the desired development (Anifowose and Enenumo 1999).

It‟s therefore because of these and other factors that the 16 West African states desired to form a regional integration body, the treaty was signed on May 28 1976. The membership extends from Cape Verde to Nigeria as it encompasses not only the West African Anglophone countries but also the Francophone west African countries too.(Anifowose and Enemuo, 1999).

The ECOWAS is made up of four institutions, namely: the Commission, the Community parliament, the Community Court of Justice and ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID). The ECOWAS Commission and the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development more often called “the Fund” are the two main institutions designated to implement policies, pursue a number of programs and convey development projects in member-states. Impact as a concept used in this paper implies the impression or the implication of ECOWAS protocols on political and economic development of West African sub-region, which can be negative or positive ECOWAS (2000). Established in 1975 originally as a regional organization to essentially promote the economic integration of the fifteen Member States, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has been gradually transformed, under the pressure of political events, into an organization also responsible for finding solutions to armed conflicts and other political crisis which were undermining peace and security within the community space.

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The nature of West African sub region is the driving force that gave impetus for the formation of the organisation to address the 3rd world problems / issues of the region. This is because of integration along regional line.

1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

The political insecurity among the ECOWAS countries and attendant consequences has become thematic issues which the ECOWAS either don‟t have solutions for or did not incorporate in its economic and security programmes. The attendant debate is whether ECOWAS has the ability and capacity to manage insecurity in the sub region. It is against this background, that this project tries to examine the role of ECOWAS in managing insecurity in the sub region.

1.3 OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY

The general objective of the study is to examine the ECOWAS challenges of managing insecurity in the West Africa sub-region. The specific objectives are:

a.                     Examine the role ofECOWAS achievement in the area of political insecurity in the sub

region

b.                  To identify the impact of these challenges on the sub-region

c.                     Determine how these challenges impact on development in ECOWAS region.

d.                  To determine the prospects of sustainable peace and stability in the sub-region.

e.                     Recommend ways of enhancing ECOWAS capability for achievement of security in sub

region.

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1.4 RESEARCH QUESTION

1.                  What is the role of ECOWAS achievement of political security in West Africa?

2.                  What impact has insecurity had on West African development?

3.                  What has ECOWAS achieved in tackling insecurity in the sub region?

4.                  What are the prospects of sustainable peace and security through ECOWAS in the sub

region?

5.                  In what way can the achievement of ECOWAS capability to maintain political security in the sub region be enhanced?





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