Theses defended

O papel da CEDEAO na gestão de conflitos e construção da paz na áfrica ocidental: As intervenções na Serra -Leoa, Guiné-Bissau e Costa do Marfim

Mário Gonçalves

Public Defence date
November 20, 2023
Doctoral Programme
International Politics and Conflict Resolution
Paula Duarte Lopes
This thesis analyzes the role of ECOWAS in conflict management and peacebuilding in West Africa, taking as a case study its interventions in Sierra Leone, Guinea Bissau, and Côte d'Ivoire. It examines the internal, regional, and extra-regional dynamics that influenced ECOWAS decision to intervene in these conflicts and their impact on the type of peace built. Specifically, it studies the impacts of historical dynamics, namely colonialism and decolonization, on the conflicts in these countries, on the genesis and metamorphosis of ECOWAS and its peace processes; analyzes the external historical dynamics and their influences - the relations between the former colonial powers and their former colonies and the geopolitical disputes between the former colonial powers -, in the conflict and in the ECOWAS peace processes in these countries; and discusses the internal dynamics of ECOWAS - its financial, technical and institutional (in)capacity, as well as the disputes between its member countries, especially those with the ambition of regional leadership -, in the conflicting dynamics and its processes of peace. Therefore, the following question arises: what factors influenced the ECOWAS peace processes in Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau, and Côte d'Ivoire? For its effectiveness, it adopts as theoretical references, Peace Studies and Critical Security Studies approaches and adopts the qualitative/comparative research method. Its theoretical component is developed from the bibliographic review conducted through research in library catalogs and reference databases. The empirical analysis is based on primary sources - archives, newspapers, official documents and semi-structured interviews with personalities with knowledge in this area and those who were directly or indirectly involved in armed violence and in the ECOWAS peace processes in these countries. It argues that the latent threat to regional stability was one of the key elements of ECOWAS interventions in these countries, with such decisions based on regional security principles. However, these interventions did not sustainably build peace and security in these countries. This is due to 1) its weaknesses, mainly economic, technical, and institutional; 2) the geopolitical disputes and interests of the former colonial powers in the region; 3) and disputes, friendship-enmity relations, between countries/regional leaders, namely those who aspire to regional leadership.

Keywords: Violent Conflicts; ECOWAS; Conflict management; Peacebuilding; Western Africa