Monday, November 10, 2014

AFRICA IN FOCUS >> Coming up on 11 November, 2014: Peace & Security in West Africa: Burkina Faso, and Matters Arising (2)

Peace & Security in West Africa: Burkina Faso, and Matters Arising (2)

 AIF is exactly six months old this week.

Our second show, on 13 May, was on "Peace & Security in West Africa: the missing girls; free movement; Boko Haram; and the role of ECOWAS". 

Guests included a researcher from the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Centre(KAIPTC); a Nigerian diasporan Counter-terrorism expert who is a lawyer/former METROPOLITAN Police Officer, and author on Boko Haram; and a Nigerian journalist.

The last time ECOWAS had a meeting in Accra was to discuss Ebola. Last week’s two-day meeting proved the exception to the rule because of the popular uprising in Burkina Faso. ECOWAS has yet to appoint a Special envoy to Burkina Faso, but the world knows of the AU and the UN’s envoy. After last week’s ECOWAS meeting, we also know that Senegalese President Macky Sall will head the Regional Contact Group monitoring affairs in Burkina Faso, and it will include Ghanaian President and ECOWAS Chair President Mahama.

It is barely two weeks, yet there have already been a lot of diplomatic movements underway to ensure Burkina heads down the road to civilian rule. That said, it is not going to be an easy ride. It is for this reason we will be speaking to Accra-based West Africa Network for Peace-building(WANEP)’s Mr.Diallo to give us the latest update, and prospects for the country returning to some degree of normalcy.

Our experts from KAIPTC were unavailable this time, but we were able to get a former KAIPTC official to give us her insight into the region’s peace and security challenges, and consider the way forward on some of the biggest threats to the region’s peace and security.

In October 2013, an ECOWAS summit was dominated by issues relative to its financial health – the EPAs; the CET; and the Community Integration Levy, which helps finance ECOWAS institutions. A year later, hard peace and security issues have resurfaced, prompting speculation as to whether ECOWAS will ever get the opportunity to focus more than one of its summits on the regional economy?

We want to use the 23rd edition of the programme to reprise the issue of peace & security – not because it has not been an important talking point for the past five-and-a-half months, but primarily because it has loomed even larger at this time than ever before.

Guiding Questions to be answered:
·        What was ECOWAS’ decision on Burkina, and what is the way forward towards civilian rule?
·        What about peace and security in West Africa as result of Burkina? Will there be any blowback from the Sahel – as in Mali?
·        Since 2008, ECOWAS has been fire-fighting crises in UEMOA countries. Should ECOWAS continue to expend inordinate resources fighting to keep the “ECOWAS peace” at expense of economic development?
·       Is UEMOA still a good idea within ECOWAS when the latter spends most of its resources resolving electoral crises in the UEMOA countries?

Guests in the studio:
Ø  Alimou Diallo, WANEP @13h30 
Ø  Araba Arhin, former KAIPTC official
Ø  Prof. Djeneba Traore, West Africa Institute, Cape Verde @ 14h00 
Ø  Dominick Andoh, Head of Aviation desk, Business & Financial Times Paper @14h15
Ø  Kobby BlayEbola Watch @14h30

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