African Journal of
Political Science and International Relations

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Pol. Sci. Int. Relat.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0832
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJPSIR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 403


Regional conflict resolution mechanisms: A comparative analysis of two African security complexes

Essuman-Johnson A.
Department of Political Science, University of Ghana, Legon, Accra, Ghana. 
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 12 June 2009
  •  Published: 31 October 2009


The need for regional organizations to take up the resolution of the conflicts in their region or security complex has become important especially following the end of the cold war. Two regional security complexes in Africa, namely ECOWAS and SADC are examined in the light of conflicts erupting in their regions - Liberia and Sierra Leone in the ECOWAS and Lesotho and DR Congo in the SADC sub regions. The paper examines the efforts of the two regional bodies to resolve the conflicts and concludes that intervention in conflicts succeed or fail depending on the level of regionness or the existence of structures for conflict resolution in the regional security complex. In the case of the conflicts in the ECOWAS security complex the organization’s conflict resolution efforts were ad hoc, even though they were bold and innovative, the efforts were not set within an effective conflict resolution mechanism and they were not very successful. In the case of SADC its conflict resolution effort in Lesotho was botched and in the DR Congo it did not make any meaningful effort at helping to resolve the conflict save some mediation efforts by South African leaders.


Key words: Security complex, new regionalism, regionness, black holes, overlay, amity, enmity, ECOWAS, ECOMOG, SADC.