Author(s): Akin Iwilade, Johnson Uchechukwu Agbo
This article attempts to understand the role of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in the regulation of regional security in West Africa. In doing this, it takes a critical look at the internal dynamics of West Africa and how they shape the organization, as well as at ECOWAS' responses to a highly volatile and unpredictable region. It also examines the responses of ECOWAS to some of the security challenges it has faced and attempts to determine to what extent the organization has been able to act as a regional regulator of security. The article uses two critical case studies; the first, Liberia, represents the nature of responses in the immediate post-Cold War era, and the second, Côte d'Ivoire, represents the evolution of ECOWAS' security thinking and architecture in the contemporary period. This approach to analyzing ECOWAS' role in subregional security allows us to appropriately map not just the peculiar international conditions that shape the organization, but also the way its institutions have responded to this dynamic.