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Paper conflict and human security in west africa


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Paper conflict and human security in west africa

  1. 1. Preventing Conflict and Promoting Human Security in West Africa – Reflections 1 By J. ‘Kayode Fayemi2Introduction I have been asked to make my intervention on conflict prevention and humansecurity in West Africa, in light of the most recent experience in war-torn Liberia. While anassessment of current developments in Liberia is useful and necessary, the critical questionfor me, and which I believe should be of concern to fellow participants here, is the extent towhich we really share a common view of conflict prevention and human security in WestAfrica. If there is such a common perception – it would be important to ask the extent towhich it is collectively articulated? Can we identify the underlying consensus and thecommon value systems in the African perception of security with a view to developing clearparameters for conflict prevention? A quick review of recent developments in the region stillunderscores the continuing tension between a ‘national security’ – nation building approachand a ‘human security’ – peace building approach to conflict prevention. In trying to get to anarticulated vision of human security for West Africa, I see my task in this presentation asthree-pronged: first, to reflect on the nature of conflict and insecurity in West Africa,second, to highlight the challenges that must be confronted and third, to address theprospects for a human security agenda in West Africa.The Nature of Conflict and Prospects for Peace in West AfricaWest Africa’s story has been one of reversal, stasis as well as progress. The sub-region haswitnessed significant changes in the 1990s decade. Peaceful alternation of power in Benin,Senegal, Mali, Ghana, and Cape Verde, the emergence of constitutional governments inSierra Leone, Niger, Burkina Faso and the Gambia and the formal exit of the military fromthe political affairs of the region’s giant, Nigeria provide justification for some cautiousoptimism.In spite of the progress made on the civil and political rights front though, West Africaremains one of the poorest regions in the world and one of the most susceptible to crisis andviolent conflict, placing a huge question mark on the sustainability of the region’s electoraldemocracies. With the cold peace in Liberia, continued instability in Cote d’Ivoire, SierraLeone’s emergence from a decade of civil war with great uncertainty, Guinea Bissau andGuinea hovering between coup d’etats and cold peace, not to mention large numbers ofrefugees and internally displaced population creating a major humanitarian emergency inWest Africa, it is clear that pro-forma democracies represented by ‘free and fair’ elections willnot be enough and that the most paramount tasks facing the region now include finding1 Being paper prepared for presentation at the British Council/Human Rights Centre, Essex University heldat the University of Essex, March 1, 2004. DO NOT CITE!2 Kayode Fayemi is African Studies Scholar-in-Residence, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois,USA and Director of the Centre for Democracy & Development. 1
  2. 2. sustainable solutions to the current violent conflicts in the Greater Mano River Basin,stemming the ignition of potential conflicts by addressing fundamental political, social andeconomic root causes of the regional crisis. Social and Economic Indicators 2002Country Population GDP GNP per Human Devt Life Expectancy Adult (millions) ($bn)) Capita($) Index literacy (%)Benin 6.0 2.4 380 147 53.6 39Burkina Faso 11.0 2.6 230 159 46.1 23Cape Verde 0.4 0.6 1,330 91 69.4 74Cote d’Ivoire 16.2 10.5 660 144 47.8 46Gambia 1.3 0.4 330 149 45.9 36Ghana 19.0 6.8 350 119 56.6 70Guinea 7.0 3.3 450 150 47.1 35Guinea-Bissau 1.2 0.2 180 156 44.5 38Liberia 3.1Mali 11.0 2.6 240 153 51.2 40Niger 11.0 2.0 180 161 44.8 15Nigeria 127.0 32.8 260 136 51.5 63Senegal 9.3 4.7 500 145 52.9 36Sierra Leone 5.0 0.6 130 162 38.3 32Togo 5.0 1.4 300 128 51.6 56Total 233.3 70.9 304(av)Sources: World Development Report 2002 & UNDP Human Development Report 2002.Although it would appear that there is a greater understanding of the nature, causes andcomplexity of West Africa’s dire situation and the inextricable link between democracy anddevelopment; even so, it is important to emphasise this linkage, especially given how postcold war developments – have brought this into clear relief and how important it is to avoidsimplistic understanding of the problems.To understand the causes and nature of violent conflict, we must examine in a morenuanced manner the historic roots and contemporary trajectories of West Africa’s violentconflicts and move away from simplistic interpretation of causes based on notions such as‘greed’, ‘poverty’, or ‘ethnicity’. The incontrovertible evidence is that West Africa’s conflictsshare a common backdrop of economic stagnation and faltering democratic rule thatundermined state capacity and legitimacy in the 1980s. Yet each conflict has followed itsown trajectory shaped by political and policy choices partly made by the ruling governmentsand partly imposed by the international and local context. Among the most critical elementsin understanding the new conflict equation arising out of the 1990s political transition in theregion are:• The shifts in global and geopolitical power relations; in particular the end of the cold war and the withdrawal of the metropolitan security umbrella which paved the way for serious challenges to some client regimes in a manner previously considered impossible;• With the demise of universalistic ideological battle between socialism and capitalism, new forms of conflict emerged in the form of identity issues anchored on religion and ethnicity in particular; 2
  3. 3. • The regional context of the new wars;• The withdrawal of assistance by big states also resulted in the search for new forms of sustenance leading to the exploitation of resources and criminal activity;• Increasing availability and privatisation of instruments of violence, transforming the military balance between the state and society. (A recent survey indicates that the permanent members of the Security Council were together responsible for 81% of world arms exports from 1996 – 2000. The G8 nations sold 87% of total arms exports to the entire world.)• New forms of violent and trans-national crime.Yet in this context of internal cleavages and external fuelling of conflicts, one could almostreach the flawed conclusion that the 1980s was a period of unbridled peace. The truth ishowever more complex than this. Examined critically, the most important lesson of the1990s conflict in West Africa is that the 1980s laid a solid basis for them - through the severeeconomic and fiscal compression exemplified by the structural adjustment shocks of theperiod. It is no longer in doubt that the erosion of social capital, political legitimacy andinstitutional weakening of many African states can be directly linked to the policy choicesthat informed governance during this period. For example, the State lost its centralrelevance due to the agenda of Structural Adjustment Policies, which was the choice of manystates in the 1980s. In turn, the resistance triggered by the SAP sufferings led to Statemilitarism largely driven by the authoritarian culture so widespread in the 1980s. This laid thebasis for the new and more deadly societal militarism represented by the warlords of the1990s and the violent nature of crime.In short, the nature of conflict and politics in West Africa was in essence redefined by thepeculiar context of the 1990s and the nature of partnership between Africa and itsdevelopment partners. Addressing violent conflicts in the region therefore requiresbroadening the notions of security and developing multi-faceted responses. Four pillars ofpeace and security ought to form the core of this agenda:1) human security as the bedrock for peace;2) democracy and open governance;3) transformation of violent conflicts through political processes; and,4) collective security for all African states and the Commonwealth should be playing roles inall of the four areas.At the heart of this conflict prevention agenda is the transformation of Africa’s securitysector governance. Until recently, the mantra among donors is to emphasise cost-cuttingapproach to dealing with security sector problems. However, the solutions required are firstand foremost political in nature and this relates essentially to the deepening of democracy byensuring that there is scope for involvement by all stakeholders in processes ofdemocratisation, both in terms of long term containment of conflict and in terms ofdemocratic consolidation.The above approach which places individuals at the centre of the security anddemocratisation equation has gained increasing acceptance in Africa, and indeed in manyparts of the world. While protecting the state and its citizens from external aggressionremains a key consideration, the most serious threats facing countries on the African 3
  4. 4. continent at the beginning of the 21st century tend to be those that either derives frominternal causes or trans-national and collective in nature. To many in Africa therefore, a safeand secure environment is a necessary condition for sustainable democracy and poverty-reducing development. This broader conception that articulates security and democracy in amanner that the individual, the group as well as the state may relate to its fundamentalobjectives of promoting and ensuring the right to life and livelihood and provision of a safeand secure environment in an uncertain world underscores the importance of theinextricable link between democracy and development in Africa and supports humansecurity as the appropriate framework for achieving proper governance.So, if human security provides the framework for achieving democratisation anddevelopment, regionalism is the basic institutional scaffolding that we ought to pay particularattention to in West Africa since the gains of a human security approach are best realisedwithin a regional context. The importance of the Economic Community of West AfricanStates (ECOWAS) can hardly be overemphasised in this context and it is hoped that anyeffort at promoting human security and preventing conflict will have ECOWAS at thecentre-piece.This is not to suggest that the regional body is not without its own challenges. Indeed,questions abound as to the extent to which regionalism is grounded in reality in West Africaand can act as a mechanism for promoting human security. Some of the challenges oftenhighlighted include amongst others: the enduring legacy of the Westphalian nation-state, lackof common core values driving the regional project; a perpetual resource gap hamperingprogress and implementation of regionalism, the formalism of the regionalist project whichtend to emphasise a wide array of institutions with little or no capacity to manage them;issues of regionalism as leaderism in which people to people partnerships take the backseatwhilst regionalism is only happening at the Heads of States’ level and government realm,issues of regional hegemony – all of which tend to give the impressions of regionalism as anexternally driven agenda, and not the product of the people’s lived experiences.No doubt, regionalism still faces a critical problem of entrenchment in a region where effortsto build homogenous nation-states on the basis of artificially constructed boundaries haveresulted in forced unity. Since sovereignty of the nation-state is regarded as sacrosanct, statesthat have ceased to function as states in the traditional sense of providing basic needs for thecitizens still enjoy support and assistance in development circles even when it is known thatthese states are nothing but privatised entities. Even when regional and sub-regionalmechanisms put in place by Africans have developed autonomous capacity to handle localconflicts – as recently witnessed in ECOWAS’ successful efforts in Liberia, Cote d’Ivoireand Guinea Bissau, the critical issue remains how best to address the westphalian logic ofsovereignty and at the same time move away from leader-centric regionalism in whichregional integration is only recognised as happening at the level of leaders with scant regardpaid to the rising regional consciousness at the level of the citizens. It is only whenregionalism is taken seriously as a response to globalisation that Africans can define a newrelationship with the International community.Acknowledging the fact that an exclusive focus on the nation state has prevented anunderstanding of region specific determinants in the poverty-security-development complexmight help civil society actors and development workers to address some of the policy issues 4
  5. 5. and possibilities that can make a difference. If the foregoing analysis of the nature andcontext of conflict in the region and the challenges that must be confronted is reliable, whatthen are the prospects for addressing these challenges?Prospects for addressing current challenges to human security?For a start, it is important to acknowledge that West Africa’s violent conflicts and securityproblems can only be resolved through committed regional leadership and genuine globalpartnership. The decades of the 1980s and the 1990s were a testament to the dangers of‘broad brush’ approaches narrow nation-based nationalism, characterised by the externalimposition of macro-economic stabilisation and structural adjustment programmes that weresufficiently inflexible to account for the diversity of circumstances and need and thecontinental ‘non-interference’ policy. African leaders now argue for more locally drivenagenda, hence the launch of NEPAD. Yet, developing more ‘home grown’ approaches willrequire donors to relinquish greater responsibility to Africa’s leaders and their people.Unfortunately, this is more apparent than real in the NEPAD programme so far as it wouldappear that the drivers of NEPAD have hitched its success to enhanced partnerships withdonors, and paid limited attention to home grown partnerships. Given the differenttrajectories of democratisation that we have seen in the region, and indeed, the entirecontinent, it is important to develop a range of responses which fit the different typologiesof African states in the post cold war transitions, in order to avoid the failed broad-brushstrategies of the past. Given its knowledge of its member states, the Commonwealth standsa good chance to push this line of argument with other bi-lateral and multilateral agencies.For example, in analysing the human security situation in West Africa, at least five roughcategories can be identified, ranging from progress to stasis, and in a few cases reversal, andrequiring different responses from development partners. It is possible to talk of: 1) States in the process of consolidating their democracy – Benin, Ghana, Mali, Senegal; 2) States in various stages of transitions to democracy – Cape Verde, Nigeria, Niger, Gambia, Burkina Faso; 3) States in conflict or emerging out of conflict – Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone; 4) States in relapse or remilitarisation – Guinea, Guinea Bissau; and, 5) Authoritarian states – Togo and Mauritania.Without an exception, all the states continue to face various challenges to their humansecurity situation, and some of the central challenges they face include: poverty, political andeconomic governance, education, youth crisis, small arms proliferation and trafficking,manipulation of religion, citizenship and identity issues, gender, environmental degradation,migration, health, especially malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/Aids pandemic.While the identified issues above are common to all the states in question, it is important torespond to them differently. Ultimately, my argument is that given the “glocal” nature of theconflicts afflicting many of the states, state rebuilding and consolidation can only bereinforced in the context of regional integration supported by global partnership. None ofthe countries in question can respond to these problems on its own terms. Majority of the 5
  6. 6. states are only sovereign in the juridical sense, not in terms of making available basicprovision to their citizens and the most realistic way of addressing the problems theyconfront is by treating them as part of a regional system. If one were to review the direfigures in the table above and recent figures provided on aid dependence in West Africa(Afrodad, ‘The Reality of Aid, African Edition 2002), it seems evident that to continue tolive under the illusion of juridical sovereignty is not the way to go. Instead, our states mustbe reinforced through regional incentives and sanctions. A few ideas might suffice in tryingto respond to these challenges:Support for peace building and reconstruction: For states in conflict or those emerging out ofconflict such as Liberia is currently dealing with, State rebuilding after state collapse oftenrequires a strong support for peace building and reconstruction measures. Peace in thiscontext has often been interpreted as mere absence of war and state rebuilding is often seenonly in terms of physical reconstruction. While physical reconstruction may be a necessarydeparture point for state rebuilding, the defining characteristic of state rebuilding from ahuman security approach is the presence of holistic security and a model of conflictmanagement, which emphasises the fundamentals of military security, democratisation andconsensus building, development, economic reform, human rights and human dignity for thecitizens to engage their rulers. Therefore, although the conventional wisdom is to ignore it, the security required inthe immediate aftermath of conflict might also require higher rather than lower securityexpenditure to enable the state and citizens cope with the impact of conflict – rehabilitatingrefugees and the internally displaced, providing for a secure, safe and enabling environmentin which development initiatives can succeed and reintegrating former combatants intosociety and economy. In situations where conditions of poverty prevail after post warconflict, it is reasonable to predict a correlation between the lack of developmentopportunities in terms of direct income generation to survivors and an increase in criminalityand conflict. For policy makers, especially international organisations and donor agencies, there isalways the pressure to construe their role in terms of immediate restoration of peace andstability, rather than security and development. Almost to the letter, election was always thetop priority in the aftermath of conflict and we have seen it come up in Liberia as it has donein Iraq. The concentration on elections and elections monitoring, for example in say Liberiaor Sierra Leone in the past decade gives the impression that what mattered most was theelection, not democracy nor was there a recognition that elections are not enough toguarantee democracy and development. Experience has since shown that while there areimmediate tasks that must be addressed in terms of peace building and reconstruction inevery conflict situation – disaster relief and management, repatriation and reintegration ofrefugees and reduction in the proliferation of small arms and clearance of explosives, theseare not the most critical ingredients of a successful peace building strategy. To promote sustainable security and peace building strategies therefore – acomprehensive look at peace building and reconstruction strategies must be taken - treatingthem as a continuum with short term (relief and emergency aid and creating a secure andenabling environment); medium term (peace support operations) and long term(reconstruction, democracy & development) components in an integrated manner. Donorcountries should be encouraged to foster greater coherence amongst their own policies at aninter-agency level, as well as within their own regional structures (such as EU, OECD, etc).A good example as we pointed out in the preceding section is the fact that arms sales from 6
  7. 7. developed countries is often at variance with the emphasis the same countries place onconflict prevention and security sector governance. Equally, in this respect, there is a need for stronger cooperation between the regionalbodies, the Bretton Woods institutions, the UN Systems and other multi and bi-lateraldevelopment agencies as well as independent development institutions to reduce theoverzealous focus on achieving fiscal discipline and macro-economic stability at the expenseof efforts to protect social cohesion. Donor responses have often involved conditionalitiesrelating to automatic decreases in military spending and reductions of military and othersecurity forces with no attention paid to the expensive nature of security and the objectivesecurity threats that each country faces. Especially in post conflict situations, this realizationshould inform international attitudes towards security sector transformation on the onehand, and post conflict reconstruction on the other. Third, it is extremely important that international institutions should seize themomentum provided by the weak capacity of the state to align external assistance with localneeds and efforts, not an opportunity to impose received wisdom and new theories ofdevelopment. This is extremely important in the context of claims that NEPAD is Africaowned. Where state institutional capacity is weak, an immense burden of responsibility isplaced on international organisations like the Commonwealth, IFIs and developmentagencies in which real dialogue with the people and wide consultations underscore whateveractions are taken. Finally, international donors cannot ignore the international context in their responseto peace building and reconstruction efforts. How, for example, has the often convolutedlinkage between trans-national corporations, proliferation of arms and promotion of neo-liberal globalising trends by the industrial world undermine the success of security anddevelopment reforms in countries emerging out of conflict, especially within the context ofan unstable region in which domino effect is real rather than imagined. These are some ofthe issues that are central to any discussion of the policy lever on peace building andreconstruction efforts in countries like Liberia. The above is crucial in the case of Liberia given the recent successes that had beenattained by the international community in its fundraising efforts for post-conflictreconstruction in Liberia. It will be absolutely crucial to ensure that not only do the pledgesmade are delivered, but also to ensure that they are not ‘tied’ in a way that they lose theirsignificance to the Liberian post conflict reconstruction efforts. Critically in this regard, it ishoped that greater synergy will be sought between the United Nations, ECOWAS and thevarious bi-lateral development agencies interested in assisting the Liberian process.The Challenge of strengthening the territorial state: As argued above, this thinking itself is a productof the state-centric notions of security that dominated traditional thinking in the cold war era.Since the state is increasingly seen as unrepresentative and illegitimate, are there conditionsunder which war might be seen to be a legitimate means of removing regime types thatpromote conflicts and in which leaders have encroached upon common pool resources? Tothis end, some questions might suffice in any consideration of complex political emergenciesrather than focus exclusively on state monopoly of means of coercion. This is not to suggestthat states do not have legitimate needs for security which might necessitate legitimateprocurement and monopoly of means of coercion, but that this has to be demonstrated toensure that security is treated as common public good, not just regime good. It maytherefore be necessary to consider: 7
  8. 8. • Under which circumstances, if any, is war necessary to remove bad governments? That is how do we distinguish between justifiable rebellion and needless conflict? • How is regional economic and political co-operation built between and among states to address the pathology of militarism? • How can state-centric definitions of security be de-emphasised, and the role of civil society in peace building increased in the quest for common values? • How is democratic control of the military to be built in states undergoing political transition or moving from war to peace – through parliamentary oversight, effective institutions of governance and genuine interaction between the military and the rest of society?Again, two examples from West Africa in recent times have demonstrated the maturity ofthe leaders in grappling with this dilemma whilst underlining the importance of developingan effective regional system. Unlike before when leaders tended to ignore the internalconditions of states and the repressive edge of their leaders, West African leaders and theregional body, ECOWAS have demonstrated in their handling of recent crises in Liberia andGuinea Bissau that it is possible to recognise constituted authority and still address genuineyearnings of the people. By their collective and decisive approach to the removal ofPresident Taylor of Liberia and critical role in the resignation of President Kumba Yala ofGuinea Bissau from office, regional leaders were espousing the importance of common corevalues to which all leaders must subscribe – whilst disabusing the minds of others whooften see regional institutions as clubs of leaders dedicated to patting one another on theback. Since there is evidence to suggest that African leaders and their international partnersnow accept the argument about broadening the human security agenda to include theaccountability of leaders(Africa Peer Review Mechanism), this paradigm shift should beencouraged. The fact that the commitment to the mutually reinforcing interaction betweenthe values of proper governance, democracy, equity and sustainability still remainsubordinate to the core need for macro-economic stability and integration in theinternational political economy ought to remain a source of worry. This is why many are stillsuspicious of African leaders’ and their development partners’ commitment to a humansecurity approach in spite of the new rhetoric about local ownership, peer review and socialcapital promotion.Promoting social coherence through civil society development and multi-cultural tolerance If we take peace-building as the sum total of activities that will support peace makingand conflict transformation: demobilisation, re-structuring of the local security system –police and the military; resettlement of refugees and the internally displaced persons;removal of dangerous weapons – mines and other unexploded firearms, reconstruction ofshattered infrastructure and humanitarian and disaster relief – very few still advocate that thiscould be done without the inclusion of civil society. Indeed, even African leaders andinternational development agencies now see civil society as key to the successfulimplementation of these various aspects of post-conflict peace building process. Indiscussing rights based approaches to governance and security sector transformation, localownership and development of social capital rests with the civil society, but it is important toplace this within the context of developing institutional mechanisms for the management ofdiversity and difference and incorporating international human rights framework into 8
  9. 9. domestic law. Hence, the rights of the people to their resources should not be compromisedat the altar of encouraging foreign direct investment, especially where this underminesenvironmental security. It was assumed in policy and development circles that support forneo-liberal democracy will help achieve this objective, hence there was the enthusiasm fordemocracy assistance and ‘good governance’ in the early 1990s and donor countries madesome efforts to move economic assistance away from former concerns about stimulatingeconomic growth to an emphasis on political objectives, including support for processes ofdemocratisation and building of civil society. Although the above represented a shift from the days of the super-power ideologicalrivalry, even this shift in the leadership’s thinking and IFIs’ assistance has concentratedprimarily on the reform of the public sector and involvement of the ‘civil society’ to theextent that it promotes the neo-liberal paradigm, not on an alternative vision of bottom-upreforms driven by societal consensus. The fact that many of the transitions of the last decadein Africa now approximate to – at best electoral democracies and at worst electeddictatorships, has raised new questions about how to deepen the democratic content ofcurrent reforms in a process oriented, participatory and accountable manner. At every level,the idea of constitutionalising democratising polities that have largely functioned as‘virtual’ democracies along multifaceted lines is taking shape. Today, the fact that the struggle for reconstituting the African state is taking place inno fewer than twenty African states in Angola, Kenya, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Cote d’Ivoire,Swaziland and Lesotho, to mention but a few, underscores a paradigmatic shift fromconstitutionality to constitutionalism, a situation where constitutions are now seen as toolsfor building bridges between the state and civil society, a social compact based upon afoundation of consensus among the constituent elements within the polity and betweenthem and the state in the quest for common value systems. What has to be emphasisedhowever for the purpose of human security is the importance of an organic link between theconstitution as a rule of law instrument incorporating international human rights frameworkand primarily concerned with restraining government excesses, and the constitution as alegitimisation of power structures and relations based on a broad social consensus and thevalues in diverse societies. In short, if human security is to promote the mutually reinforcingrole of development, security and democracy, the task today is largely between bridging thegap between “juristic security” and “political and socio-economic security” in the search for commoncore values. The core issues around values can only be addressed in the context of principles towhich all Africans willingly subscribe - values of representation, ownership, accessibility toall levels of government, accountability, openness and collective responsibility. CSSDCA hasdone a lot of work on developing a consensus driven value systems which is what would bethe subject of its peer review mechanism. NEPAD is also developing similar parameters andindicators. While this is welcome by all, the scepticism that has attended the search forcommon values to be promoted across Africa has been informed by the anti-democratic andreprehensible behaviour of some of the leaders who are at the forefront of the NEPADcampaign and their total contempt for some of the supposed values to which they havecommitted themselves. In spite of this general scepticism, constitutionalism as a socialcompact remains the best route for forging the kind of value system and reorientation thatcan deepen our democracy in order to prevent conflict and build peace.Building assets that provide security against disasters and economic shocks 9
  10. 10. Conventionally, most international organisations and development agencies have promotedthe building of assets against disasters and economic shocks by focusing on macro-economicstability strategies like Structural adjustment reforms, electoral democracies and support ofmeasures that seek to provide the enabling environment for foreign direct investment andthe global integration of the economy – a mutual pursuit of political and economicliberalisation. This is the fundamental principle guiding most post conflict state-rebuildingprojects. Yet, the logic of trickle down economics has failed to produce an integrated worldeconomy in which all zones are winners. Indeed, as Caroline Thomas and Peter Wilkinargue, In the process of globalisation, the continent (Africa) has quite literally been left behind in terms of the distribution of the spoils of the process. The promised advantages of economic restructuring, as hailed by the IMF, World Bank and individual developed countries, have not been borne out. Foreign investment fails to flow in; debt burdens continue; commodity prices fluctuate; environmental degradation proceeds…and industrialisation fails to occur. (Thomas & Wilkin: 1998). This clearly contradicts the core assumption of globalisation that wealth wouldautomatically be created when the free market gains universal acceptance in the world. Byarguing that the way to build assets against shocks is not via the creation of local selfsufficiency, but national economies should concentrate on what they can contribute to theworld economy, globalisation ignores the comparative advantage of the North, locks Africanstates further into relative powerlessness by creating conditions for conflict which furtherweakens the mediatory role of the states. Instead, it empowers those elites within the statewho can form part of the network in business and government capable of actingindependently of the juridical state. The fallout of this globalising trend is the unregulatedtrade in mineral resources, proliferation of arms and narcotics and the illicit trade in banneditems all of which ultimately undermine food security, environmental security and thesecurity of the individual – factors responsible for conflict today in many African states. Ithas also helped in deepening the rural-urban divide, fostered inter-generational strifeoccasioned by youth frustration and exacerbated the scourge of refugees and the internallydisplaced, all of which have moved the hapless below the poverty line and moved themcloser to violence and conflict. In our view therefore, the greatest assets against shocks and disasters ultimately liewith the development of human resources, better management of natural resourceendowment and respect for local ownership of the post-conflict reform agenda - whether indetermining the role of the State or in arriving at the most effective tension relievingmechanisms. In fairness, the Commonwealth has always paid attention to this distinction,but only within the context of a free and unregulated market. Hence, it is also useful toexamine and analyse individual situations on their merit, rather than assume that the marketis the answer to every problem. This is of course not to suggest that market has no role inreforming states structures. It is to say that there are no universal models of the market asproviding the best assets against shocks and disasters, hence civil society leaders and donoragencies must learn from these highly differentiated experiences of the market in formulatingrealistic policies.In pursuit of human security and human development in West Africa 10
  11. 11. There is definitely a sense in which a deep feeling of disillusionment is widespread in Africawith the current democratisation and development agenda and this threatens to underminethe quest for sustainable development. Indeed, many now feel that the hype surroundingdemocracy is more than what the eventual product offers. Hence, one can see a majoropposition to the current slow pace of democratic and economic development. Indeed,deepening democratic development remains an uphill task in several African countries,especially in the aftermath of the global shock occasioned by the 9/11 tragedy in America.There are indications that even the enthusiasm that greeted the NEPAD initiative in the G8countries has been enveloped in another global shift which is now in favour of despoticpeace in place of democratic, even if unsettling, freedom. The greatest challenge of course isto understand that despite the frustrations and impatience of the people with this democraticdeficit, there is awareness that transitions are inherently unstable and unpredictable. Based on the above reflections on conflict prevention and human security dynamicsin West Africa, a number of measures seem to suggest themselves, especially in terms ofdeveloping a human security approach that promotes human development:1. There is an urgent need for clarification of values and norms subscribed to by Africans and adopted in a widespread manner by the citizens. The ECOWAS’s Supplementary Protocol on Democracy & Good Governance goes to some extent in tacking this, but the African Peer Review Mechanism as developed by both CSSDCA and NEPAD offers an opportunity in this regard.2. There is a need for conceptual clarity through a comprehensive approach to peace and security in policy and development circles – one that recognises that while there is no teleological link between elections and democracy and between democracy & development, deepening democracy offers the best chance of preventing violent conflict and building durable peace, but this must be accompanied over the long term by economic development;3. The importance of strengthening regional integration and promote regional mechanisms that can help sustain democratic development and consolidation through the adoption of a regional approach to conflict prevention must be understood and promoted;4. The need to reconcile economic and social development and enhance the input of non- state actors – in policy formulation to enhance social capital rather than entrench the leverage of IFIs and donor agencies on States must be underscored;5. The recognition of legitimate security needs of nation-states must be factored into the human security approach through the promotion of governmental and non- governmental peace-building strategies;6. We must problematise the link between globalisation and conflict, rather than assume that it is always going to be positive in the promotion of pro-poor growth in the search for and implementation of sustainable livelihood and poverty reduction strategies;7. Let us locate the security agenda within the democracy and development framework and reflect the link between politics and economics, and between security and opportunities; 11
  12. 12. 8. Human security approach is a process, whose results will not necessarily be immediate; hence the need for a long term view by interested stakeholders and anti-poverty strategists.I hope these thoughts can stimulate debate and generate useful responses that can takeAfrica forward.I thank you. 12
  13. 13. REFERENCESAFRODAD, Reality of Aid – African Edition 2002.Buzan, B. et al. 1998. Security: A New Framework for Analysis. Boulder, Colorado: Lynne Rienner.CODEP, 2000. Report on the outcomes of the consultation on globalisation and conflict for the White Paper on International Development: Globalisation & Development. London, June 2000.Commonwealth Foundation, 2003, Kampala Vision: Communiqué of the Pan-Commonwealth Tri- Sector Conference on Partnerships for Governance, held in Kampala, Uganda in August 2003DFID, 2000. Security Sector Reform and the Management of Military Expenditure: Risks for Donors, High Returns for Development, Report on an International Symposium, February 14-16, 2000.Ebrahim, Hassen, Fayemi Kayode & Loomis Stephanie, 2000, Principles and Mechanisms of Constitution Making in Commonwealth Africa, Delhi: CHRIFayemi, J.K. 2000. “Security Challenges in Africa”, Seminar: Indian Journal of Opinion, Special Issue on African Transitions 490, June 2000.Martin, B. 2000. New Leaf or Fig Leaf? The Challenge of the New Washington Consensus. Report prepared for Bretton Woods Project and Public Service International.NEPAD Strategy Document –;, C. & P. Wilkin (eds.) 1998. Globalisation, Human Security & the African Experience, Boulder, Colorado: Lynne Rienner. 13