International Journal of Humanities and Social Science

ISSN 2220-8488 (Print), 2221-0989 (Online)

The Political and Security Challenges Facing 'ECOWAS' in the Twenty-first Century: Testing the Limits of an Organization's Reputation
Napoleon Bamfo

Abstract
This paper examines whether ECOWAS will be able to address the challenges of governmental instability and national security breakdowns that its member states have been facing since the dawn of the twenty-first century. ECOWAS, formed nearly forty years ago to represent some of the most autocratic governments and poorest states in Africa, has not quite lived up to its original ideal of fostering greater economic cooperation among its members. Achieving the related goals of political stability and preventing the integrity of its member nations from being breached has even been more challenging. The incidence of military coups d’etat has dwindled but ECOWAS member states have borne the brunt of the military whimsically removing governments. ECOWAS’ member states have also endured an unprecedented number of rebellions whereby dissident groups have challenged the authority of the state by launching insurgencies. States have also felt their integrity breached by people unimpededly moving across national borders seeking places with better economic opportunities. Even though ECOWAS has not had a stellar track-record of addressing the problems which have entrapped its members, any blame for the organization must be directed, however, to the governments it represents because of they have persistently misgoverned.

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