West Africa is a highly complex region caught between affluence and affliction. The region is made up of 16 states: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo. Apart from Mauritania, the remaining states are members of the regional Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) formed in 1975. The region’s states vary in territorial size, colonial history, economic strength, internal cohesion, and external linkages. They also differ in terms of population size, levels of development, stages of state building, and nature of resource endowments. They are confronted with different levels of security, governance and development challenges that have made them poor despite being greatly endowed with natural resources.
Although West African states gained political independence before any other region in colonial Africa, they have failed to achieve a high degree of political stability due to corruption, weak or failed governance institutions, conflicts and porous borders among others. Overall, they all share a common feature of multiple layers of insecurity, associated with conflicts and crime at community and national levels, often across borders and with regional ramifications. Threats like terrorism, drug trafficking, illegal oil bunkering, piracy, and arms trafficking have acquired worrisome transnational dimension in recent times. Consequently, terrorism and TOC have emerged as formidable threats to human security and is now taking on a singular importance in terms of national, regional and international engagements…
Terrorism and transnational organised crime in West Africa
May 14, 2014