An evaluation of the effectiveness of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in resolving intra- state conflicts in West Africa (2012- 2013)
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Confronted with political crises, undemocratic governments, civil strife and droughts, African sub-regional organisations have experienced growing challenges in resolving these problems. The Economic Community of West Africa, although it is regarded as the most successful sub- regional grouping has also been confronted by new emerging threats to security as the West African group has been a haven of terrorist linked groups. It is in face of these challenges that this research evaluates the effectiveness of ECOWAS in resolving intra- state conflicts in West Africa with specific focus on Mali. The study sought to establish whether ECOWAS has successfully addressed the problem in Mali which began in January 2012. The study also had the objective of examining the institutional frameworks available in ECOWAS that governs its response to crisis in the region. The other objective was to explore measures which have been put in place by ECOWAS in resolving the Malian crisis. The study adopted a case study approach based on Mali where interviews were conducted to gather information from key informants. The results of the study indicate that ECOWAS has not been effective in resolving the Malian conflict. African sub-regional groupings do not have a solution to problems affecting their member states. As such, they are prone to external manipulation which undermines their role as sub-regional organisations. There is need for ECOWAS and other sub-regional organisation to be self- sufficient in the future so that they are able to resolve problems on their own. However, in Mali, where the international community has already intervened, there is need for a concerted effort and coordination by the involved parties so that there is a lasting solution to the problem in Mali. There is need for training of ECOWAS soldiers as well as the Malian army. An inquiry on the operations of the Islamic militants should also be done to establish their sources of help and be able to monitor them.