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The security challenges of West Africa

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West Africa has been faced with a multitude of wide‐ranging security challenges. This article provides a comprehensive assessment in understanding some of the region's security challenges. It highlights their negative impact to the stability, development and economies of the region. Three concurrent factors are identified: 1 ‐persistent internal conflict emphasised by the structural weakness of governments; 2 ‐ jihadist terrorism as a manifestation of the rise of radical Islam and the presence of AQIM in the Sahel; and 3 ‐ the growth of organised crime including drug and human trafficking and piracy. The role of key regional and external actors in fueling insecurity in the region is also analysed. It concludes that security challenges can no longer be solved in a national or regional framework. The transnational connection between the Sahel and West Africa with North Africa is an important element that supports the expansion of such a framework. Regional, transnational and international co‐operation are effective and long‐term solutions that will improve the security landscape of the region as a whole.
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Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: February 1, 2012

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