Review of the Security Situation in the West African Sub-region: Advocating for Security Improvement to Promote Regional Development

West Africa and Ghana face serious security challenges that have consequences for public safety. The sub-region over the years has encountered several unresolved security problems that are further compounded by emerging threats and health pandemics. The spread of terrorism and religious extremism in the Sahel, increasing poverty and inequality, youth bulge and the increasing unemployed, democratic decline and inadequate provision of public services have all affected the security of West Africa. As West Africa’s population booms and its economy continues to expand, the opportunities for growth across the region are vast. Despite economic gains recorded for many of the countries in the sub-region, which has obviously been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, economic growth rates in most of the countries are lagging and poverty remains high alongside widening inequality. Essentially, the economic growth has not translated into improved economic and social wellbeing of the people leading to strains in society. Many of the citizens are not benefiting from the growth which has resulted in grievances from a large section of the population. When people are unable to meet their basic needs or obtain what they want from the government, they generally resort to either peaceful means such as mass protests, or illegal and criminal practices or to unbridled violence that can lead to public unrest and instability. The report starts with the introduction followed by an overview of the regional and country context. The third section presents the analysis of the overarching conflict dynamics, highlighting the key challenges in West Africa and Ghana. It then focuses on the specific drivers, offering a granular analysis of the issues of concern, and the prominent actors who affect conflict trends. The report then outlines the counterbalancing factors that work for peace in both contexts. It concludes with strategic recommendations.