Confronting complex political crises in West Africa: An analysis of ECOWAS responses


This paper aims to explain how the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has attempted to address the crises in Niger and Côte d’Ivoire. It argues that, for once, in spite of its structural and political deficiencies, ECOWAS more or less remained within its normative and institutional framework in its attempts to resolve the two crises. The paper places the response of ECOWAS to the situations in Niger and Côte d’Ivoire in its proper political context and explores the strengths and weaknesses of the regional body in addressing two political crises, one emanating from constitutional manipulation and the other from contested electoral results. It concludes that ECOWAS policies on issues of peace and security are works in progress.  

About the authors

Dr Dossou David Zounmenou is a senior researcher in the African Conflict Prevention Programme at the ISS Pretoria Office focussing on West Africa. A graduate from the Ecole Nationale d'Administration (ENA-BENIN), option Diplomacy and International Relations, Dr Zounmenou completed his postgrauate studies (MA Cum Laude and PhD in International Relations at the University of the Witwatersrand and has worked on issues related to democracy and good governance, armed conflicts and human security. Recently he has become involved in a project that looks into political violence and issues related to elections and violence in Africa. 

Reine Sylvie Louaholds an Honour's degree in International Relations from the University of Pretoria. She is currently enrolled for a Masters degree in Multidisciplinary Human Rights at the same university. At the time she contributed to this publication, she was a research intern in the African Conflict Prevention Programme at the ISS office in Pretoria.

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