what's happening in west africa?

what's happening in west africa?

Regional Overview

Release Peace works on conflict prevention projects in West Africa. We believe it’s time to prevent the next country  in the region from falling victim to the spread of violence.  

Has West Africa always been marred by conflicts? No.

Despite a sometimes different image of the general public, many countries in West Africa have developed remarkably well in recent decades.. By the mid-2000s, most of the region’s 14 countries enjoyed peace and growing prosperity. What changed all this dramatically was the aftermath of the Arab Spring: With Libya’s strongman Gaddafi removed from power, the country plunged into chaos. As a consequence, military hardware from Libya’s well-resourced army spread across West and Central Africa. Without that, the current conflicts in Mali and Burkina Faso would simply not be happening. Unfortunately, that shows the value of our work: By preventing weapons from falling into the wrong hands, we can help prevent wars.

country fact box: burkina faso

The West African nation of Burkina Faso has been hit hard by an Islamist insurgency over the past 3 years. Almost completely unnoticed by the international press, an overwhelming 500,000 people have become refugees as a result of the conflict. Over 2,000 schools had to close to keep children safe. The arms used in the conflict come from Mali, Ghana and as far afield as Nigeria. 

country fact box: ghana

Ghana is a shining star of peace and stability in West Africa. In a region troubled by conflict, Ghana stands out as a positive example. Despite this achievement, speaking to people in many parts of Ghana reveals an uneasy feeling of tensions simmering below the surface. Along the border with Togo, the communities of Alavanyo and Nkonya have fought a low-intensity armed conflict for decades with homemade guns. Meanwhile across the country, many people are fearful of election periods and potential gun violence as a result. We believe that people should live free of such fears! Please read more about our preventive work in Ghana:

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Our Motto: "Conflict prevention is better than intervention"

Sources of more information

To provide you with some in-depth academic literature and other information on this subject, we have assembled a short list of texts on this topic. Some of this literature inspired our work on the ground. Release Peace has no association with the literature provided below

Spotlight on Africa

This analysis provides a broad overview on the subject of  small arms in Africa.

Oxfam Research

Research carried out by Oxfam that sheds a light on the human costs of conflicts.

Saving Lives

This amazing piece shows practical solutions to the issue of illegitimate small arms proliferation.

Gender and Guns

This excellent piece examines the connection between women’s rights and gun cultures.

Solutions for Ghana

The German Friedrich-Ebert Stiftung had a close look at the issue of homemade guns in Ghana.

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