WACSOF, deepening regional integration and fostering stability and development in West Africa



French Version




BEYOND RESOURCE VIOLENCE: Civil society and the challenges of peace building in West Africa.

The concept of conflict has almost become synonymous with the continent of Africa. While this might sound exaggerating and derogatory, for those who suffer the consequences of these conflicts, not even words express what they actually suffer. In Africa, nowhere has violent conflict become more virulent than in West Africa. The impact of the negative consequences of these conflicts is not lost on any one but when it comes to the interpretation, understanding and proffering of solutions to these conflicts, it becomes a problem. One of those common problems is the attempt to understand and explain conflict from a multi-causal prism without appreciating the magnitude of respective variables and the cross cutting relationships between them. “Beyond Resource Violence” is a book that offers a conceptual and methodological shift back to the ground-zero of resource conflict. It is an amalgam of works or well researched and written articles offering a new dimension to the understanding of resource-driven conflicts and how they can be resolved. It is particularly argued that the environment (or specifically, the resources therein) is the one-in-all factor responsible for resource conflicts as is the case in much of West Africa. What breeds conflict are attempts by individuals and groups to control these resources to the exclusion of other. Thomas Malthus was stated that it is the niggardliness of nature that causes us to conflict with others over scarce resources. In fact this is the most common view about the relationship between scarcity and conflict. This book revolutionarily reveals that it is parties competing for resources that most often make them artificially scarce and not that it is natural. The role of the state in conflict has been analyzed fully revealing that rather than being a neutral arbiter in the conflict between individuals and groups, the state in West Africa is partisan. It illegally seizes community resources for those managing it or intervenes on behalf of a party e.g. Multinational Companies (MNCs). The central theme is that the state having being compromised as an umpire is hardly in position to resolve conflicts. It thus needs complementing. This is where civil society organizations come in. They are coming in not replace the state but help it build a stable and peaceful society where development can thrive.



  Early Warning Early Response

 The inevitability of conflict and its huge consequences is not in doubt especially for the population in Africa. Arguably, where there is doubt, is what to do about conflict. Can we prevent conflict or do we wait to manage the consequences of an eventuality of conflict. In most cases we wait for conflicts to break out before we begin to act. Apart from huge consequences in terms of death and destruction of valuable assets that some conflicts bring making it difficult for society to recover from, others simply become protracted making them difficult to resolve. Prevention they say is better than cure is one of the oldest adages around. Nothing can be more factual than the substance and truism that this adage portrays. This book captures and magnifies the very essence of the need to prevent conflicts before they happen in West Africa through the concept and instrumentality of the Early Warning System. The book is a collection of scholarly written articles that not only offers new insights on how to exploit the early warning system but fundamentally highlights necessity to complement that with an Early Response to actually prevent conflict. This book will be of interest and an invaluable resource to individuals, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and government agencies with interests in conflict management and resolution.



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