West African International Studies: Approaches to Regional Security

Cover Page

Cite item


This article covers the most significant theoretical schools in West Africa in the framework of the international relations analysis, with special focus on the regional security. Major respective theoretical approaches to the given issues are assessed based on the writings of local experts that frequently reevaluate the major articles of faith connected with neo-Realist, neo-Liberal and Marxist views. Particular attention is drawn to the examination of various interpretations of the role that belongs to supranational regional structures in West African conflict resolution using the case of the Liberian civil war. The most crucial part of the research presented is an analysis of publications issued by Adekye Adebajo and Ismail Rashid, two leading West African specialists in the field of regional security. Their appraisal of collective security mechanisms’ perspectives in the most poverty-stricken and unstable regions of the world is elaborated upon. The aim of the article is to determine the extent of uniqueness present in Adebajo and Rashid’s approaches compared to their Western and African colleagues but also to figure how West African 1990-2000’s conflicts’ analysis did have an impact on the scholars’ theoretical views and more broadly what was its contribution to the regional understanding of international relations. The research is based upon comparative and historical-genetic methods as well as case studies. The major elements composing the scholars’ analysis of successes and failures in the path of West African integration are presented along with their appraisal of the ECOWAS security component. A comparison is made between their views and those of their regional colleagues belonging to other schools of thought as well as Western theories that had the greatest impact on these authors.

About the authors

Alexander Yurievich Shipilov

Institute of World History, Russian Academy of Sciences

Author for correspondence.
Email: alexmo1994@gmail.com

postgraduate student at the Institute of World History (Russian Academy of Sciences), junior fellow researcher at the Laboratory for the Institutional History of the 20th Century, Institute of World History (Russian Academy of Sciences)

Moscow, Russian Federation


  1. Adebajo, A. (2002). Building Peace in West Africa: Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea Bissau. Boulder, London: Lynne Rienner.
  2. Adebajo, A., & Rashid, I. (Eds). (2004). West Africa’s Security Challenges: Building Peace in a Troubled Region. Boulder, London: Lynne Rienner.
  3. Adeleke, A. (1995). The Politics and Diplomacy of Peacekeeping in West Africa: The ECOWAS Operation in Liberia. The Journal of Modern African Studies, 33 (4), 569-593.
  4. Amin, S. (1972). Développement et transformations structurelles. Tiers-Monde, 13 (51), 467-490.
  5. Amin, S. (1968). Le dévelopрement du capitalisme en Côte d’Ivoire. In: Poirier, J. Dans l’Économie Ostentatoire. Etudes sur l’Économie du Prestige et du Don. Paris: Editions de Minuit. P. 208-209.
  6. Aning, K. (2004). Investing in Peace and Security in Africa: the Case of ECOWAS. Conflict, Security & Development, 3, 533-542.
  7. Aning, K., & Salihu, N. (2011). Accountability for Intervention: Negotiating Civilian Protection Dilemmas with Respect to Economic Community of West Africa States and Africa Union Interventions. African Security, IV (2), 81-99.
  8. Boateng, A.D.A., & Osei-Hwedie, K. (2017). Empowering Others: Motives and Strategies Successful Women Adopt. Review of Social Studies (RoSS), 4 (1), 41-58.
  9. Bull, H. (1977). The Anarchical Society: a Study of Order in World Politics. London: Macmillan.
  10. Gbagbo, L. (1983). Côte-d’Ivoire: Pour une Alternative Démocrtique. Paris: Harmat-tan.
  11. Geveling, A.L. (2009). Foreign Capital in the Economy of Tropical African Countries (on the Example of Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS) [dissertation]. Moscow.
  12. Ginio, R. (2006). French Colonialism Unmasked: the Vichy Years in French West Africa. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press.
  13. Kabia, J.M. (2011). Regional Approaches to Peacebuilding: the ECOWAS Peace and Security Architecture. Paper presented at the BISA-Africa and International Studies ESRC seminar series: African Agency in International Politics. African Agency in Peace, Conflict and Intervention at the University of Birmingham, 7th April, 2011. URL: https://www.open.ac.uk/ socialsciences/bisa-africa/files/africanagency-seminar2-kabia.pdf (accessed: 20.01.2019).
  14. Keohane, R.O. & Nye, J.S. (2001). Power and Interdependence: World Politics in Transition. 3rd edition. New York: Longman.
  15. Koulibaly, M. (2007). Côte d’Ivoire. A French Exception. New African, February, 40-42.
  16. Lugard, F.J.D. (1922). The Dual Mandate in British Tropical Africa. Edinburgh, London: William Blackwood and Sons.
  17. Mensa, K.M. (2014). Progressive Formation of Economic Community of Western Africa Countries (EKOVAS) for the Purpose of Economic Integration. Business in Law, 2, 245-246.
  18. Moncrieff, R. (2012). French Relations with Sub-Saharan Africa under President Sarcozy South. African Institute of Interna¬tional Affairs. Occasional Paper No 107, Johannesburg.
  19. Nkrumah, K. (1967). Neo-Colonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism. Science and Society, 31 (1), 78-81.
  20. Obi, C. (2009). Economic Community of West African States on the Ground: Comparing Peacekeeping in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau, and Côte d’Ivoire. African Security, 2, 119-135.
  21. Sankara, T. (1988). Thomas Sankara Speaks: The Burkina Faso Revolution 1983-87. URL: https://vnn4h672d211.storage. googleapis.com/EgrjHtibl8ngeB4XYj11.pdf (accessed: 10.01.2019).
  22. Sawyer, A. (2004). Violent Conflicts and Governance Challenges in West Africa: the Case of the Mano River Basin Area. The Journal of Modern African Studies, 42, 437-463.
  23. Searing, J.F. (2005). Senegal: Colonial Period: Four Communes: Dakar, Saint-Louis, Gorée, and Rufisque. In: Encyclopedia of African History. Vol. 3. Ed. by K. Shillington. New York, London: Fitzroy Dearborn, p. 1334-1335.
  24. Uexkull, E. (2012). Regional Trade and Employment in ECOWAS. In: Policy Priorities for International Trade and Jobs. Ed. by D. Lippoldt. OECD, 2012. URL: https://www.oecd.org/site/tadicite/50288711.pdf (accessed: 20.01.2019).
  25. Watson, A. (2009). Hedley Bull, States Systems and International Societies. Review of International Studies, 14, 147-153.
  26. Wauthier, C. (2002). Jacques Foccart et les Mauvais Conseils de Félix Houphouët-Boigny. Les Cahiers du Centre de Recher¬ches Historiques. Archives, 30, 1-3.

Copyright (c) 2019 Shipilov A.Y.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

This website uses cookies

You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website.

About Cookies