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

Full Length Research Paper

African’s sub-regional bloc’s challenges in coordinating collective security amidst the influence of external state powers in African security governance: The case of ECOWAS and the roles of Nigeria, France, and the UNSC in the civil wars of Liberia and Mali

Amobire Akolga
  • Amobire Akolga
  • Department of Political Science, Faculty of Social Sciences, University for Development Studies, Ghana.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 05 August 2023
  •  Accepted: 01 March 2024
  •  Published: 31 March 2024


This paper analyzed regional collective security cooperation and ownership challenges under the auspices of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) vis-à-vis regional organizations' responsibilities as outlined in the UN Charter. The paper situated these challenges in the conflicting interests of Nigeria, a sub-regional hegemon or aspiring hegemon, France as an extra-regional counter-hegemony, and the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) as an arbiter. The research employed neo-realism and counter-hegemonic theories as analytical lenses. Qualitative methods, specifically desk review and interviews, were utilized. The research found that, on the one hand, Nigeria influences ECOWAS for cooperation internally and externally during interventions in Liberia and Mali to enhance ECOWAS' ownership of sub-regional security in line with the UN Charter. On the other hand, France has undermined sub-regional security cooperation in Liberia and ownership in Mali. Paris opposed Nigerian-led ECOWAS security actorness in the former with its indifference to the UNSC and manifested state-centrism under the cover of multilateralism in Mali, backed by UNSC decisions. It is recommended that, in the short run, a continental united front is needed at all times at the UNSC on African peace and security issues, and more resources should be allocated to Regional Economic Communities (RECs), particularly the African Union (AU). In the long run, Africa needs to continue its call for a reformed UNSC, and Nigeria needs to get its domestic politics right and maintain its political will to lead the sub-region and continent.


Key words: ECOWAS, AU, UNSC, collective security, cooperation, ownership, Liberia, Mali.