Monday, November 24, 2014

AFRICA IN FOCUS >> Coming up on 25 November, 2014: 25th Edition SPECIAL: Celebrating the 25th Africa Industrialisation Day; and Unearthing Voices on Africa’s Development (1): “Seeing the Wood for the Trees”

25th Edition SPECIAL:
Celebrating the 25th Africa Industrialisation Day; and Unearthing Voices on Africa’s Development (1):
“Seeing the Wood for the Trees”

 Even as AIF is at the cusp of its 7th month, 25th November will be the 25th Edition of the show.

This special edition is dedicating the first part of the show to seeing the wood for the trees around Ghana, and Africa’s industrialization policy. In the light of the furore around chairs in Ghana’s parliament being imported from China, we will be speaking to a member of Ghana’s furniture and wood association who will tell us why they issued a statement only last week about their concerns on aspects of Ghana’s industrial policy.

Still on wood, we will speak to Coordinator of ForestWatch, Samuel Mawutor, who will give us insights into the relationship between the Chinese and Ghana’s Rosewood, and what specific policies the government has adopted on how to save Rosewood from being exploited by the Chinese who import no less than 96% of that wood. What does the attitude around Rosewood tell us about Chinese attitudes over Ghana’s industrial policy, and the country’s fight against climate change?

Finally, in the second part of the show, we will commence what will be a series on unearthing voices on Africa’s development. What this means is that we will be speaking to professionals who hold robust views on aspects of Africa’s development. This can be on any topic, so we are starting off with Araba Arhin, who once worked with the West Africa Commission on Drugs,  and has deep insights into the sub-region’s fight against narcotics and drug trafficking.

We will switch gears to speak to a lady who has dedicated the better part of her career to bringing NGOs together in what is an-otherwise very competitive and territorial sector.  And, as always, we will not only get an update on Ebola from Kobby Blay, but actually be picking his brain on the way forward on Africa’s health.

Guiding Questions to be answered:
·        What is FAWAG, and its message to policymakers, including the government, on the way forward on Ghana’s industrialization?
·        Are the Chinese helping or hindering Ghana’s development?
·        Why is Rosewood important to Ghana, and the fight against climate change?
·        What were major outcomes of the four-day Forest Forum held last week?
·        What is West Africa Commission on Drugs doing to contribute to regional drug policy?
·        Why is the fight against drug trafficking in West Africa especially important?
·        Why do NGOs need to collaborate? And why is there a sense of urgency around working together?
·        How is the EbolaWatch campaigning to sustain the momentum on awareness-raising on Ebola?

Guests in the studio:
Ø  Araba Arhin, translator, and former WACID official
Ø  Kobby BlayEbola Watch

On the line:
·        Enoch A Sackey, Office Manager, Furniture & Wood Products Association of Ghana(FAWAG) @13h20
·        Samuel Mawutor, Civic Response/Coordinator, ForestWatch @13h35
·        Nadia Zeine, Director, Wishes Alliance @14h00

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Post-Show video clip of ABANTU's Ellen Dzah

E.K. shared a video with you!

“""Dear friends,

To mark the 20th edition of the Africa in Focus show, we have commenced post-show video interviews that seek to both promote the work of the guests we invite, and some of their ideas on the themes we cover for the show.

In this post-show clip, Ellen Dzah, Programmes Manager at gender NGO ABANTU, encourages the government to accommodate the views of women at the decision-making table -- irrespective of the sector"”
View video
© 2014 Dropbox

E.K. Bensah Jr shared a video with you!

E.K. shared a video with you!

""Dear friends,

To mark the 20th edition of the Africa in Focus show, we have commenced post-show video interviews that seek to both promote the work of the guests we invite, and some of their ideas on the themes we cover for the show.

In this post-show clip, Robert Bamfo, Head of the Climate Change Unit, at the Forestry Commission, talks about the need for everyone to be involved in the REDD+ movement that seeks to help combat deforestation. ( 2 of 2)""
View video
© 2014 Dropbox

Post-show Video Clip of Forestry Commission's Robert Bamfo

E.K. shared a video with you!

“Dear friends,

To mark the 20th edition of the Africa in Focus show, we have commenced post-show video interviews that seek to both promote the work of the guests we invite, and some of their ideas on the themes we cover for the show.

In this post-show clip, Robert Bamfo, Head of the Climate Change Unit, at the Forestry Commission, talks about the need for everyone to be involved in the REDD+ movement that seeks to help combat deforestation. ( 1 of 2)”
View video
© 2014 Dropbox

Monday, November 17, 2014

AFRICA IN FOCUS >> Coming up on 18 November, 2014: Deforestation, Climate Change; and Matters Arising(3)

Climate Change; Deforestation; and Matters Arising(3)


There is now what some might consider compelling evidence of the planet warming up.  Evidence recently released by scientists from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has shown that climate change is occurring at a faster rate than the world could ever have imagined.

Statistics from Ghana’s inventory of forestry stock indicate that Ghana has lost a chunk of its forest cover since 1994, despite the inevitable warming of the planet. It is believed that if sufficient attention is not given to redress this imbalance of loss of forest cover, the country will be all the worse for it. This is because lack of forest cover allows direct exposure of sunlight and the sun’s rays to dry up the already-polluted and fast-dwindling water –bodies.

Research indicates that developing countries are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change as their livelihoods are highly-dependent on climate-sensitive sectors, such as agriculture. Given that Ghanaian peasant farmers practice rain-fed agriculture, depending on weather patterns for their farming, and tend to include slash-and-burn methods that prove to be unsustainable and harmful to the Earth’s atmosphere, this significantly-contributes to global warming. Consequently, Ghana has witnessed higher temperatures than normal, as well as inconsistent rainfall patterns.

One way in which Ghana has been trying to deal with this has been through the use of the REDD+ mechanism, which is being coordinated by the National REDD+ Secretariat of the Forestry Commission.

On 29 July, AIF commenced what would be a series of editions examining and understanding Ghana, and Africa's forestry sector.

Having established from that programme, and from the 23rd September edition that reprised the issue of deforestation and climate change, that deforestation is a major issue in understanding the sector, we want to dedicate the 24th edition of Africa in Focus from the premise that apart from the fact that deforestation is an acknowledged challenge for the country, what is it that civil society groups like ABANTU are doing to sensitise Ghanaians about its impact on women.

Finally, in looking at the way forward, we will find out why Civil society organisation Civic Response is convening a National Forest Forum, and why it is important in facilitating governance on natural resources, and most importantly, helping nip deforestation in the bud!

Guiding Questions to be answered:
·        What do we still need to know about deforestation, and climate change, and some of the challenges associated with it in Ghana? (Forestry Commission/Forestwatch/ABANTU)
·        What were some of the outcomes of the Forestry Commission’s National Roadshow on REDD, and what is the way forward for the Forestry Commission?
·        What is the National Forest Forum, and how does it help facilitate governance on forests?

Guests in the studio:
Ø  Robert Bamfo, Head of Climate Change Unit, Forestry Commission, Ghana
Ø  Ellen Eyison Dzah, Programmes Manager, ABANTU

On the line
Ø  Samuel Mawutor, Civic Response/ForestWatch @14h00

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

PODCASTS>> "AFRICA IN FOCUS: Peace & Security in West Africa (2):Burkina Faso... (11 November, 2014)

Due to unforeseen technical challenges, the live show on Radio XYZ93.1FM was unable to come on. However, we were able to arrange recorded phone interviews with our guests, which are available for download -- as always -- for free!

Please find below the list of guests booked for the 23rd edition of the Show. Simply click on their names to start downloading a podcast of the interviews Emmanuel had with them.

Research & Co-ordination: E.K.Bensah Jr
Executive Producer: E.K.Bensah Jr

Executive Director Legal; Human Resource & Compliance Mr.Asiedu explains to Emmanuel why ECOBANK Day was celebrated on 8 November this year. Other questions answered included, what the future is for the Pan-African bank almost 25 years of its existence in Ghana. Mr.Asiedu assured observers uneasy about the recent acquisition of shares by Qatar National Bank, and South Africa's NEDBANK acquisition as in no way diluting the Pan-Africanist aspiration of the bank, but a way of the Bank learning from these non-West African entities. The future for ECOBANK is about consolidation -- not necessarily expansion. Asiedu maintains ECOBANK's two-fold vision includes building a "world-class financial institution", and contributing to "financial integration and development of Africa".

Regional Coordinator of WANEP explained to Emmanuel the outcome of the two-day ECOWAS Summit, and how both the AU and ECOWAS have called upon Burkina Faso to follow the path of civilian rule. He maintains that, given it remains a popular uprising, the West African country has not been suspended from ECOWAS, with the diplomats preferring alternatives, including the appointment of Senegalese President Macky Sall as head of the Regional Contact Group to Burkina. It would not only be Sall who would mediate, but one who would help coordinate a multiplicity of efforts by ECOWAS, the AU, and the UN. 

He disputed Emmanuel's analysis that perhaps it is "time for UEMOA to shut down shop" given that for the past five years, ECOWAS' headache have all included UEMOA countries (Niger in 2008; Cote d'Ivoire in 2011; Mali in 2012; Guinea-Bissau also in 2012; and finally, Burkina Faso in 2014). Diallo believes Liberia and Sierra Leone (anglophone countries) were perhaps the most brutal. However, what can be said is that the crises experienced by UEMOA countries are perhaps a reflection of weak democratic institutions, especially that of electoral commissions. He calls for more of a harmonisation of West Africa's electoral commissions.

Mrs.Arhin proffers the genesis of the West Africa Commission on Drugs, describing it as "a baby of Kofi Annan Foundation and of Mr. Kofi Annan." The project visited countries like Senegal; Nigeria; Guinea-Bissau. A report was prepared, with recommendations made, and advocacy to be made using a report that was prepared. Drugs are affecting our society in ways in which we cannot imagine.

Emmanuel wondered how far WACID's work has been able to complement the efforts of ECOWAS' Intergovernmental Action Group against Money-Laundering (GIABA) and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. Arhin explains that they were not only working independently, but working alongside GIABA and other related agencies. The latest report by WACID believes West Africa is not prepared for legalisation of drug policy, but more of a degree of decriminalization to allow more of the big fish to be caught.

In this aviation update, Andoh confirms that regional airlines operating from Kotoka have begun to fly again to Ougadougou. These include ASKY; Air Burkina; Air Cote d;Ivoire. 

On the domestic airline front, it is now possible for Kumasi airport to operate flights at night, which will serve as an important economic boon for the airline industry there. It will help them make more revenue, and enable people move more freely in the evening. It is hoped that this will help airlines break even as more revenue is accrued it.

We also learn that works are ongoing for the Tamale airport, which has plans to become an international airport. 

In this latest update, we learn there is some good news, especially with decline of cases in Sierra Leone. Countries yet to be affected by Ebola include Burkina Faso; Benin; Ghana; Togo.

Kobby will be going to Liberia's Budumburum camp to help spread the message on understanding Ebola. The Ebola Watch team will also be in Cape Coast.


Monday, November 10, 2014

Ebola Watch, October,28th,2014

Ebola Watch, October,28th,2014
  • USA: Surprisingly fear has gripped more citizens in the US than cases recorded.
  • On October 23, the New York reported a case of Ebola in a medical aid worker who had returned to New York City from Guinea, where the medical aid worker had served with Doctors Without Borders. The diagnosis was confirmed by CDC on October 24.
  • Texas: On October 10, a healthcare worker at Texas Presbyterian Hospital who provided care for the index patient tested positive for Ebola. The patient has since recovered and was discharged from the NIH Clinical Center on October 24
  • On October 15, a second healthcare worker at Texas Presbyterian Hospital who provided care for the index patient tested positive for Ebola. The patient is receiving care at a hospital in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • A nurse, who had previously been working with Doctors Without Borders, became the first public test case for a mandatory quarantine. She has won the case, though it is reported she tested negative on investigation. She is presently out of quarantine.
  • CDC is implementing enhanced entry screening at five U.S. airports that receive over 94% of travelers from Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.
  • WHO convened a high-level emergency meeting on 23 October to look at the many complex policy issues that surround access to Ebola vaccines Ways to ensure the fair distribution and financing of these vaccines were discussed, as well as plans for the different phases of clinical trials to be performed concurrently rather than consecutively, partnerships for expediting clinical trials, and proposals for getting all development partners moving in tandem and at the same accelerated pace. Summary of report here
  • Nigeria & Senegal: WHO officially declared Senegal and Nigeria free of Ebola virus transmission on October 17 and 20,respectively.
  • Mali: On October 23, Mali reported its first confirmed case of Ebola in a child who had traveled there from Guinea. The child passed away on October 24.
  • New cases continue to be reported from Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.
  • Liberia: It is unclear whether the outbreak is getting under control in Liberia or about to explode again. Need coverage more than ever
  • Ghana: No Case YET. Healthcare workers received Trainer of Trainers program which ended last Friday. Operations of the UNMEER still ongoing as it operates from its hdqrs in Accra
  • The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has reported cases of Ebola. These cases are not related to the ongoing outbreak of Ebola in West Africa.
  • TOTAL: Total Cases: 10141 Laboratory-Confirmed Cases: 5692 Total Deaths: 4922
  • MESSAGE: The language over avoiding bats to avoid getting infected is should not be the central, what remains evidenced is having direct physical contacts with persons infected.

Report courtesy Ebola Watch Ghana via AIF Radio XYZ edition
Sources: CDC, WHO, New York Times, Reuters

ARTICLE: The 6-7 November ECOWAS Summit on Burkina Faso is Historic, & ECOWAS/UN knew of Compaore’s intentions as far back as March 2014!

ECOWAS / UN knew of Compaore’s intentions as far back as March 2014!
The Accidental Ecowas & AU Citizen”:
The 6-7 November ECOWAS Summit on Burkina Faso is Historic, & ECOWAS/UN knew of Compaore’s intentions as far back as March 2014!
By E.K.Bensah Jr
It’s hard to believe that it is not yet even a fortnight – 14 November will be exactly two weeks — since former President Blaise Compaore was forced to leave office after a popular uprising, yet the diplomatic actors in ECOWAS, the African Union, and the UN have already activated their diplomatic machinery, with even an ECOWAS meeting having been convened almost a week after the Burkina Faso crisis. We have seen a more activist and interventionist UN Office for West Africa than the pusillanimous actor we saw in Cote d’Ivoire in 2011 under former UNOWA boss Said Djinnit.
Although we have yet to see him in action, we know that the Togolese former Finance Minister Edem Kodjo is the AU envoy to Burkina Faso (upon the recommendation of the AU’s Peace and Security Council); and Senegalese President Macky Sall is Chair of a regional Contact Group to facilitate the political transition process in Burkina Faso—and not the Special ECOWAS Envoy to Burkina Faso, as was being suggested by some Ghanaian media. The ECOWAS Commission President Kadre Desire Ouedraogo has yet to appoint one. At the time of writing, we learn that Senegal’s Mack Sall approved Sunday 9 November a UEMOA Envoy to Burkina – Professor Ibrahima Fall, who is a former Presidential candidate and former under-secretary General of the UN.
The celerity with which ECOWAS-AU-UN troika has done this comes as little surprise.
First, the experience of Cote d’Ivoire in 2011; Mali in 2012; and Guinea-Bissau also in 2012 has already given a template for ECOWAS to work with. But there is also a second and very important point, which has to do with the fact that between March and April-ending of this year, no less than President John Mahama, in his capacity as ECOWAS Chair, the former UN Secretary-General Representative to West Africa, Said Djinnit, and ECOWAS officials were cognizant of the fact that Compaore was intent on tweaking the Constitution.
In the 26 June, 2014 “Report of the Secretary-General on the activities of the United Nations Office for West Africa”, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon was explicit about Compaore’s intent when he wrote:
In preparation for further political engagement by my Special Representative,
UNOWA and ECOWAS conducted an early warning mission to Ouagadougou from
20 to 25 April. The team met with the leadership of the ruling and main opposition
parties, representatives of civil society, including religious, youth and women’s
groups, and international partners. Several interlocutors highlighted the prevailing
tensions over the possible amendment of article 37 of the Constitution. They warned
that the formal announcement of the date of the proposed referendum could trigger
violence since the population appeared deeply divided over the issue. “
Ban continues:
My Special Representative met with President Compaoré in Ouagadougou on
24 March, against a backdrop of growing political tensions in the country. My
Special Representative emphasized the need to preserve the democratic
achievements of Burkina Faso and the country’s social cohesion and stability.
President Compaoré indicated his willingness to pursue dialogue with the opposition
and cited the role played by the President of Côte d’Ivoire, Alassane Ouattara, who
had engaged with various Burkina Faso parties in March. My Special Representative
maintained contact with President Ouattara in that regard and also discussed the
situation with the President of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama, in his capacity as the
current Chair of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS. “
It is arguable that even if the ECOWAS Chair knew this as far back as March, as did ECOWAS officials and the UN, ECOWAS could have in no way intervened, and could only count on Compaore’s assurance of dialogue. It is also arguable that these diplomatic manoeuvres happen “all the time”, and it is futile blaming any interlocutor for the outcome of events. Without a shadow of a doubt, it offers a high degree of mental pabulum for the trust we repose in our leaders when they tell us one thing and act differently—and I am not only talking about the former Burkina Faso President!
These facts notwithstanding, it is important to press on with the compare-and-contrast for the sake of a history that will seek to help historians better-understand ECOWAS policy around peace and security in the sub-region.
Burkina Faso 2013 vs Mali 2012 vs Cote d’Ivoire 2011
While comparisons are likely to abound by observers, I would like to think comparisons are acceptable but unnecessary and, in fact, futile.
Burkina Faso is in no way Mali; and Mali was in no way Cote d’ivoire. While the genesis of the Ivory Coast question stems from an electoral crisis, the situation in Mali stems from a crystal-clear coup; and Burkina Faso straddles the divide between a constitutional crisis and a popular coup.
In Mali, ECOWAS responded predictably: first requesting Mali to restore constitutional rule before suspending her from ECOWAS, and ultimately threatening sanctions within 72 hours. This contrasts with Burkina Faso where there has yet to be any talk of the country being suspended from ECOWAS activities, with even a call by ECOWAS leaders for the international community to refrain from imposing sanctions – even at a time when the AU gave an ultimatum of two weeks for a transition to civilian rule.
Mali 2012 saw the prospect of hot war looming large, or at least that’s what had been portrayed. Unlike in Cote d’ivoire, where that prospect of “hot war” was confounded by observers who felt military intervention was tantamount to a hot war, in Mali, ECOWAS was relatively clear that it was an Ecowas Standby Force that would be deployed, and that it would comprise 2000 troops.
In 2011, many observers did not know whether it would be the defunct ECOMOG or some hooded West African intervention force ready to take out Gbagbo. While neither the AU nor ECOWAS, in my view, had communicated clearly what both an Africa, and ECOWAS Peace and Security Architecture involves for the respective regions, my reading of the situation suggested that more people were talking of a peacekeeping force for Mali, which was probably more accurate than was averred in 2011.
What a blitzkrieg-week after the Mali coup in the ECOWAS sub-region in 2012!
With almost lightning speed, ECOWAS sought to systematically reinforce a regional drive to restore constitutional order.
On 22 March, the day of the coup, ECOWAS reacted immediately, calling for immediate restoration of the constitution. Four days later—on 26 March–, ECOWAS would convene an “Extraordinary summit” in Abidjan, and issue a strong statement condemning the “usurpation of power by the military junta.” Not only did the sub-regional leaders consider it a gross “violation of [the] Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance”, but worried about how Mali’s behavior was a far departure from the sub-region’s attempt to isolate coup-makers. In order to reverse this illegality, ECOWAS decided on additional measures for the restoration of constitutional order to Mali.
The following day—on 27 March—ECOWAS leaders would make movement on how to handle the crisis. All ECOWAS leaders attended the summit in Abidjan – but so did special guests, which included AU Commissioner for Peace and Security Ramtane Lamamra; the head of the UN Office for West Africa Said Djinnit; the UEMOA Commission boss; and Algerian and Mauritanian representatives.
By close of the meeting, Mali had been suspended, and a high-level delegation was to be sent to Mali within 48 hours. In the meantime, ECOWAS had instructed members of its Chief of Defence Staffs Committee from the following countries—Benin; Burkina Faso; Cote d’Ivoire; Niger; Niger; Nigeria; Senegal’ and Togo—to go to Mali in the furtherance of peace and restoration of the constitution. The ECOWAS Standby Force would be put on high alert, as Burkina Faso president Blaise Compaore would be elected mediator to Mali. The Summit would also instruct the ECOWAS Commission head Kadre Desire Oeudrago to notify the decisions made by ECOWAS to the AU Chairperson, as well as to the Peace and Security Council of the African Union.
Regrettably, the meeting of the six-member delegation would prove abortive as pro-putsch demonstrators would prevent the ECOWAS plane from landing. This has far-from-deterred ECOWAS from bringing the crisis to a logical conclusion. To this end, on ECOWAS’ return to base in Abuja, the bloc would meet and re-call their seven-point agenda.
First, to “deny any form of legitimacy to the Comité National de Redressement pour la Démocratie et la Restauration de l‘Etat, and to demand the immediate restoration of constitutional order in Mali”. Second, to remind the CNRDRE of its responsibility for the safety and security of President Amadou Toumani Touré. Third, to “demand that the CNRDRE release all political detainees”; fourth, “suspend Mali from all decision-making bodies of ECOWAS with immediate effect, in accordance with Articles 1(e) and 45(2) of the Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance, and the provisions of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance, until such time that constitutional order is effectively restored”; fifth, “demand the CNRDRE to take immediate steps to restore constitutional order in Mali, in line with ECOWAS Protocols, and bearing in mind the decisions adopted by the AU Peace and Security Council on the suspension of Mali”; sixth, “ instruct the ECOWAS Commission to put the ECOWAS Standby Force on high alert for all eventualities.” Finally, “in the event of non-compliance by the CNRDRE with these Decisions, invite all Member States to impose a travel ban, as well as a diplomatic and financial embargo, on the members of the CNRDRE and their close collaborators with immediate effect.”
The ECOWAS Heads of State and Government(Authority) would eventually adopt the following sanctions on Mali: With respect to “Political and Diplomatic Sanctions”, it states: “ i) Suspend the membership of Mali from ECOWAS; ii) Recall all ECOWAS Ambassadors accredited to the Republic of Mali for consultation; iii) Impose a travel ban on members of the CNRDRE and their associates within the ECOWAS space; iv) Close all borders of ECOWAS Member States with Mali, except for humanitarian purposes.”
On “Economic Sanctions”, it resolves to “i) Freeze the assets of the leaders of CNRDRE and their associates in ECOWAS Member States; ii) Deny Mali access to seaports of ECOWAS Member States”; and on “Financial Sanctions”, it resolves to “i) Freeze the accounts of Mali held at the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO); ii) Deny the procurement of funds from BCEAO to accounts held by the Malian State in private banks; iii) Freeze all financial assistance to Mali through the West African Bank for Development (BOAD) and the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development (EBID).”.
These sanctions read like a text-book template of how ECOWAS sought to cripple Cote d’Ivoire back in 2011. For the second, time, the freezing of an UEMOA country’s assets would be a noteworthy sanction to be enforced. In October 2011, I wrote in my piece analyzing the Cote d’Ivoire crisis that : “West Africa’s unique case of having an AU-recognized regional economic community (REC) under ECOWAS coexisting with the smaller UEMOA (comprising eight francophone ECOWAS members) has been a reality of the sub-region since 1994. Since then, there have been crises in the UEMOA countries, including Guinea-Bissau, Niger, and Togo. Interestingly, this was the first time UEMOA would be proactive in sanctioning a member state. Given that the West African Central Bank is located in the country, it was even more significant, as it spoke volumes about how far UEMOA was apparently prepared to go in economically-strangling the economy of Cote d’Ivoire to ensure it would comply with demands of ECOWAS. When this was coupled with efforts of ECOWAS, it symbolized a veritable force against the obduracy of Gbagbo.” Needless-to-say, the instrumentality of UEMOA’s institutions in economically-strangling the Malian junta was not to be sneezed at, for while it is difficult to say really that this is a template, it is conceivable and arguable at another level that when UEMOA’s member countries take the lead in messing up in the sub-region, it is not only ECOWAS that picks up the pieces, but UEMOA as well. In this respect, we can say that an ECOWAS-UEMOA nexus on resolving coups in the sub-region is beginning to emerge. As to whether it will be reflected in the ECOWAS protocols on democracy and governance is moot, for at the end of the day, ECOWAS and UEMOA are separate institutions with separate mandates.
But, in 2014, there is an interesting dynamic also taking place.
I wrote on Facebook a few days ago that “Burkina Faso will be resolved by a veritable posse of West African diplomats.” This has nothing to do with the fact that it is an ECOWAS matter, but more to do with the fact that fortuitously, all the actors in this Burkina Faso headache are West African. This includes the Head of the UN Office for West Africa who is no less than seasoned West African diplomat Dr.Ibn Chambas (Said Djinnit, an Algerian, was the boss during Cote d’Ivoire and Mali crises).
In Cote d’Ivoire, a flurry of envoys from both the African Union and its regional counterparts in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) shuttled up and down the two headquarters of the AU and ECOWAS in Addis, and Abuja respectively.
In December 2010, the AU was quick to appoint South Africa’s Thabo Mbeki, whose mediation efforts had been instrumental in the 2005 peace accord that brought about cessation of hostilities. Mbeki would be replaced soon after by the Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga as the AU envoy. This was indeed unprecedented given his erstwhile combative comments that Cote d’Ivoire should be dealt with a strong hand with rapid, military intervention.
The appointment by the AU of Odinga was from the outset highly problematic as it suggested to the outside world that the AU was in favour of power-sharing—despite protestations to the contrary. Secondly, given that Gbagbo had dealt with his presidential “equals” five years prior, it was quizzical for the AU to dispatch what Gbagbo’s entourage would later call a “mere Prime minister”. Though Odinga was quick to talk of peaceful measures to resolve the crisis, all his many attempts to enable concessions from the incumbent leader of Cote d’Ivoire proved futile.
As stated earlier, the former Togolese Prime Minister Kodjo who is now AU Special Envoy has yet to be seen in action, but his pedigree is not to be sneezed at.
Since July 2013, Kodjo has been member of the AU’s “Committee of Wise Men”, which role is to support the AU’s Commission on the prevention and resolution of conflicts on the continent. He is also founder of “PAX AFRICANA” Foundation, which seeks to resolve Africa’s crises through dialogue.
Make no mistake: ECOWAS has what is recognised not just among the seven other AU-recognised regional economic communities (RECs), but worldwide, what is acknowledged to be a sophisticated Peace and Security Architecture.
As the world celebrates 25 years of the fall of the Berlin Wall, it is worth remembering that, when a then-timorous USA and prevaricating UN Security Council was reluctant to act in Liberia, ECOWAS got involved itself in conflict management on an ad hoc basis, thanks, according to academic Dr. Niagalé Bagayoko, “to the set up in 1990 of a sub-regional intervention force, ECOWAS Monitoring Group (ECOMOG)”. He continues that ECOMOG ‘acted as a buffer force in Liberia (1990-1998), in Sierra Leone (1997-2000) in Guinea-Bissau (1998-1999), in Côte d‟Ivoire (2003) and again in Liberia (2003)’. It would be in 1999, that a Protocol creating the ECOWAS Mechanism for Conflict Prevention, Management and Resolution, Peace-keeping and Security would be adopted.
Emmanuel, an ECOWAS Policy Analyst, is Host & Executive Producer of “Africa in Focus” Show on Radio XYZ93.1FM. It is airborne every Tuesday from 13h00 to 15h00. Tuesday 11 November’s edition examined peace and security in West Africa, with a focus on developments in Burkina Faso. You can download podcasts of all 23 editions on 
In 2009, in his capacity as a “Do More Talk Less Ambassador” of the 42nd Generation—an NGO that promotes and discusses Pan-Africanism–Emmanuel gave a series of lectures on the role of ECOWAS and the AU in facilitating a Pan-African identity. Emmanuel owns “Critiquing Regionalism” ( Established in 2004 as an initiative to respond to the dearth of knowledge on global regional integration initiatives worldwide, this non-profit blog features regional integration initiatives on MERCOSUR/EU/Africa/Asia and many others. You can reach him / Mobile: +233.268.687.653.

Source: Emmanuel K. Bensah Jr.

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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