African Solutions to African Conflicts: Rethinking Eurocentric Conflict Management Strategies in West Africa
Various initiatives have been undertaken to manage conflicts in Africa at the subregional, continental, and multilateral levels. While sub-regional institutions like ECOWAS have commendably taken up initiatives to ensure peace in countries such as Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, the effectiveness of such efforts has been hampered by lack of internal cohesion among member countries. Another key gap is the lack of efficient conflict mediation mechanisms and structures spearheaded by credible representatives to mitigate internal conflict in member states. This paper highlights the need to rethink the Eurocentric conflict management strategies often adopted to manage African conflicts. It makes a case for more creative, contextual, and innovative approaches to conflict resolution in West Africa. Drawing on extant literature, the paper argues that the complex and multifaceted nature of many of the internal armed conflicts in the subregion necessitates hybrid conflict management strategies that combine African traditional approaches with Eurocentric conflict management strategies in the bid to entrench enduring peace, security, and development in West Africa and Africa in general. The paper concludes that concerted efforts geared towards reviving, adapting, and strengthening relevant indigenous conflict management strategies to complement the western methods are required to achieve such goals.