A Test for West African Regionalism: Explaining ECOWAS Response to the Crisis in Niger
Facing the ongoing crisis in Niger, ECOWAS stands at a crossroads. On the one hand, ECOWAS initial threat of military intervention triggered a backlash from various quarters. Burkina Faso and Mali rallied to support the Niger junta, portending a regional split. On the other hand, a less coercive response might throw ECOWAS central role in maintaining peace, security, and democracy in West Africa in doubt. What explains ECOWAS actions in Niger? What can ECOWAS learn from this crisis?
Reviewing Undercurrents, Trends, and Insights in the 2023 Nigerian Off-Cycle Elections
A CDD Post-Election Report
Nigerians went to the polls for the third and final set of elections in 2023, with citizens in Bayelsa, Imo and Kogi electing state governors. These polls were conducted in the wake of contentious general elections that produced a new president, national legislators, and 28 state governors.
OFF-CYCLE ELECTIONS IN BAYELSA, IMO AND KOGI: AN EARLY REFERENDUM
The Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi off-cycle elections are scheduled to take place on November 11, 2023. Off-cycle elections are held outside the general elections schedule due to circumstances such as death, resignation, impeachment, annulment of elections by courts, and many more. The forthcoming off-cycle elections in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi, which are scheduled to take place in the aftermath of the 2023 Nigerian general elections, hold a pivotal place in the country’s democratic process. These elections provide a unique opportunity for a swift evaluation of the new government’s performance so far and offer a referendum on how citizens in these states respond to the leadership of the recently elected administration. The outcomes of these contests will significantly impact the political fortunes of the parties involved and lay the foundation for the upcoming general elections in 2027. The 2023 Nigerian general elections marked an important milestone in the country’s democratic journey, characterized by technological advancements, increased civil society participation, and identity-based divisions among candidates and parties. These factors influenced the election results and set the stage for the off-cycle governorship elections in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi.
A Situational Analysis of the Transition in Guinea Conakry: Two Years After the Coup
This report provides a situational analysis of the aftermath of Colonel Mamadi Doumbouya's 2021 coup that ousted President Alpha Conde. The report explores the transition period, highlighting both promising developments and challenges. It discusses the initiation of an inclusive dialogue, institutional reforms, anti-corruption efforts, and development projects.
Reviewing the Nigerian 2022 Electoral Act: What it Meant for the 2023 Elections
For the first time in many electoral cycles, Nigerians were optimistic about the prospects of the 2023 general elections being credible. While there are various reasons behind this unusual optimism, the enactment of the Electoral Act 2022 stood out as a key factor. Its enactment increased the credibility ratings of the Independent National Electoral Commission(INEC) and the electoral process resulting in a record number of new voter registrations ahead of the elections. Arguably one of the most anticipated pieces of legislation in Nigeria's Fourth Republic, the Electoral Act 2022 was expected to enhance INEC's autonomy, both functionally and financially, and amplify the transparency of electoral proceedings. Yet, as the 2023 election cycle unfolded, it became clear that the Act wasn’t living up to these expectations and the broad-based optimism. Contrary to expectations, the Act's implementation did not translate to a higher voter turnout, seamless elections or a reduction in post-election litigation. Given this backdrop of high expectations juxtaposed against increased discontent, this paper delves into the Electoral Act 2022 and its influence on the 2023 elections.
Analysis of Security Dynamics in West Africa from October 2022 to June 2023
The West Africa region has been impacted by violent conflict, often characterized by insurgencies, terrorism, intercommunal clashes, and criminal activities. Several factors contribute to the violent conflict in the Greater Sahel, including socio-economic challenges, political instability, weak governance, and competition over resources. The region faces numerous development challenges, such as poverty, high unemployment rates, limited access to education and healthcare, and food insecurity. These conditions, coupled with a lack of strong institutions and poor governance, create an environment conducive to conflict and exploitation by various armed groups. Jihadist and extremist groups have gained prominence in the Greater Sahel, aiming to establish Islamic states, implementing strict interpretations of Sharia law, and challenging state authority. Some of the prominent armed groups operating in the region include Jama'at Nusrat al-Islam wal-Muslimin (JNIM), affiliated with al-Qaeda, and the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (ISGS). These groups have conducted attacks on military and civilian targets, committed human rights abuses, and engaged in smuggling, kidnapping for ransom, and other criminal activities. The violent conflicts in West Africa have had devastating consequences for the affected populations. This situation led to mass displacement, loss of lives, human rights violations, and hindered socio-economic development. The conflicts have also exacerbated existing intercommunal tensions, leading to cycles of revenge and further instability.
Coup d’État in Niger: How Did We Get Here? What is Next?
Mohammed Bazoum, the staunchly pro-Western president of Niger, fell victim to the latest coup d'état in West Africa. In the early morning of July 26, reports on social media from Niamey, the country's capital, hinted at a mutiny, but many inhabitants reassured others that there was no cause for concern. However, by midday, the rumors were confirmed, and President Bazoum found himself detained by his presidential guard, with General Omar Tchiani implicated as the instigator. General Tchiani has since July 28 assumed the leadership of the National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland (CNSP in French), the new Niger military government.
Political Reforms And Democratic Inertia in West Africa: Context, Implications and the Way Forward
With the restoration of democratic order in The Gambia in early 2017, the West Africa region gained the attention of the world as a site of democratic consolidation in Africa. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) vehement rejection
West-Africa in 2023- Votes and volatility
Across the region, hard-won progress in press freedom and civil liberties are in decline with journalists arbitrarily detained and disinformation is on the rise. Addressing these challenges in the context of economic stagnation will be a significant challenge.
Increasing influence: China in West Africa
Tobi Oshodi and James Barnett start by providing an overview and analysis of the role Confucius Institutes, of which there are now 15 in West Africa, are playing in support of China's soft power agenda in the region.
New Leaders, New Direction
In recent elections across West Africa opposition mantras of change have succeeded in convincing voters to oust incumbent governments. The five countries focused on in this edition of West Africa Insight - Nigeria, Ghana, The Gambia, Sierra Leone and Liberia - have all seen an opposition presidential candidate emerge victorious since 2015. But faced with significant challenges and high expectations how are they doing in office?
Polls in Peril?: West Africa's 2020 Elections
In the last quarter of 2020, five of the 15 Economic Community of West African States member countries are facing important elections. In October, presidential elections will take place in Guinea and Cote D'Ivoire (October), with general elections to follow in Burkina Faso (November), Ghana and Niger (both December).
Illiberal Influence Fuels Disinformation In West Africa
West Africa is undergoing a period of significant transition. Demographic changes, rapid urbanisation, the spread of new technologies and the launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area have created new development pathways for the resource
Media Matters in West Africa
This special issue of West Africa Insight offers reflections on the challenges facing the media industry and offers some initial thoughts and reflections about how they might be overcome. Mercy Abang looks at models available to media houses in Nigeria that can allow them to develop more sustainable and less dependent business models without compromising on the independence and quality of the output. Drawing on research from Northern Ghana Yahaya Masahudu highlights the critical importance of indigenous language radio to information flows and development in the region. Arguing that greater investment is needed to support this vital communication tool.
Fake News In West Africa: Flows, Facilitators And Fixes
The spread of falsehoods across information ecosystems in West Africa is growing. Although enabled by increasing access to social media and the internet across the region, the flow of fake news is not simply confined to online spaces but moves between offline and digital environments with regularity and ease.
Climate Change: Recognising the Impacts on West Africa
“Climate change is the defining issue of our time and we are at a defining moment. From shifting weather patterns that threaten food production, to rising sea levels that increase the risk of catastrophic flooding, the impacts of climate change are
Justice On Trial: Courts & Commissions In West Africa
Former Chief of Staff of the Presidency, General Gilbert Diendéré, who took the responsibility for the coup, was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Alongside him, General Djibril Bassolé, head of diplomacy of the Blaise Compaoré government, was
Regional Strategy Meeting on Enhancing Traditional Justice in Traditional Justice Process in the ECOWAS Region
The Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD-West Africa), in collaboration with the Department of Political Affairs of the ECOWAS Commission, organised a regional strategic meeting on ‘Enhancing Traditional Justice Mechanisms in Transitional Justice Process in the ECOWAS Region’ from 27 to 28 January 2022 in Cotonou, Republic of Benin.
Requiem for Democracy? Interrogating Democracy Decline in West Africa
Democracy in West Africa, and Africa in general, has been on a worrying decline in the last five years. The democracy index of the Economic Intelligence Unit (EIU) shows that democracy declined globally in 2019. The average score for Africa fell from 4.36 in 2018 to 4.26 in 2019, its worst score in over a decade.
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