West Africa Research Paper

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West Africa is an United Nations subregion that includes eighteen states located in the westernmost part of the African continent. Up to the end of World War II, the region was under the colonialist influence of Europe, specifically France, and the newfound independence left many states suffering from severe political instability, leaving the doors open for a series of brutal conflicts such as the Nigerian civil war, two Liberian civil wars, or the Sierra Leone civil war. Extreme levels of poverty and interests, both local and foreign, in resources of the region (such as the globally renowned Sierra Leone diamond mines) are all factors that contributed to the violence that has raged across the region in the last decades. The constant
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Following the end of the war, nationalistic movements began to spread throughout West Africa. Ghana, a British colony, became the first to achieve independence in 1957, attracting major international attention and becoming, together with its first prime minister and president Kwame Nkrumah, a symbol for other west african states. As soon as the following year, Ghana was followed by France's colonies which effectively made most of the region independent. By 1974 all of West Africa was now autonomous, a testament to this was the founding of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), comprising 15 west african states and with the objective of promoting economic integration throughout the area, one year later. Some early signs of political instability had already been seen in the first state to achieve independence, Ghana, with Kwame Nkrumah being overthrown in a coup in 1966, and a second one within twenty-seven months due to economic difficulties. The first main struggle, the Nigerian civil War (1967-1970), occurred a couple of decades before most of the other local wars, and was fueled in part by ethnic tension that had preceded British colonialism (it was fought to counter…show more content…
Therefore, the United States (which had held control over Palau ever since capturing it from Japan in the Second World War) provides Palau's defense. Although being a sovereign nation Palau conducts its own foreign relations, there is a general conformity between its foreign policies and those of the United States (in the United Nations General Assembly resolutions Palau often votes together with the United States). Being the dynamics that drive the trade of SALW extremely complex, Palau affirms that the issue cannot be solved simply by trying to directly and physically stopping the production and distribution of light weapons and ammunition, but it is mandatory to tackle the much larger issues that drive the uncertainty and political upheaval that have afflicted the region, in order to restart social and economic development and hopefully slowly improve conditions of life for the millions of people suffering and living in poverty. Palau firmly endorses the creation of better ties between the governments of all member states of the ECOWAS, with very strong hopes that if such a unity is achieved a conflict, coup, or any threat to the peace in a state could be resolved with substantial help from other ECOWAS. Another major hindrance to the small weapons trade that would derive from such a situation would be a great increase in the
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