Governance as Conflict Management: Politics and Violence in West Africa

Governance as Conflict Management: Politics and Violence in West Africa

Governance as Conflict Management: Politics and Violence in West Africa

Governance as Conflict Management: Politics and Violence in West Africa

Synopsis

The authors examine the efforts of Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, and Nigeria to manage their conflicts and evaluate the prospects of the three nations for effective regimes for managing conflicts in the future. By suggesting explanations for their past successes and failures, this study of West Africa contributes to an understanding of governance and conflict management. The lessons are far-reaching and applicable well beyond the African continent.

Excerpt

Governance, according to the authors of this volume, is about managing conflict. In contrast to prevailing images of Africa as a continent defined by violent chaos, West Africa presents a record of relatively successful conflict management. This book examines the efforts of Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, and Nigeria and evaluates their prospects for the future. The cases depict how leaders and parties of the three key West African states have conducted governance and managed conflicts-- sometimes badly, sometimes well--among various groups in their respective societies.

The volume's conclusions could not be more clear. Unmanaged, conflicts can escalate into violence; managed, they give governments choice, direction, and energy to carry out their programs. To handle conflicts well, states need a consensus on norms relating to how conflict should be managed, legitimate institutions, and resources. Even with these, regimes will face substantial challenges as they attempt to manage conflict. If the regime fails to meet this challenge, the ability to quickly establish alternative institutions and principles that enjoy legitimacy is critical if violence and state collapse are to be avoided.

This volume is part of a series of publications in the Brookings Institution's Conflict Resolution in Africa Project. Previous volumes were devoted to South and Southern Africa, Somalia, and the Sudan. The concluding volume of the series focuses on the notion of sovereignty as responsibility. Now, with this work on West Africa, we hope we have made an important contribution to understanding what has happened in Africa and to generating a body of ideas that, if implemented, has the potential to promote stability and discourage violence throughout that continent.

I. William Zartman, editor, is Jacob Blaustein professor of conflict resolution and international organization and director of the African Studies Program . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.