Africa is known as a continent of conflict. Entire regions have been caught up in violent conflicts that have sometimes resulted in state collapse. Yet during its nearly four decades of independence, West Africa has known comparatively little violent conflict and has had diverse experiences in managing the conflicts of demand-bearing groups. As this book demonstrates, governance is conflict management. Governments are needed to handle the conflicting demands posed by groups in society and to reduce the conflicts that arise among the groups themselves. Unmanaged, these conflicts can escalate into violence; but managed, they give governments choice and direction, as well as energies to carry out essential programs. The authors examine the efforts of Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, and Nigeria to manage their conflicts and evaluate the prospects of the three nations for effective regimes for managing conflicts in the future. By suggesting explanations for their past successes and failures, this study of West Africa contributes to an understanding of governance and conflict management. The lessons are far-reaching and applicable well beyond the African continent. In addition to the editor, the contributors are Tessy D. Bakary, Laval University, Quebec; A. Adu Boahen, University of Ghana at Legon; Alex Gboyega, University of Ibadan, Nigeria; and Donald Rothchild, professor of political science at the University of California, Davis.
I. William Zartman is director of the African Studies and Conflict Management programs at the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of the Johns Hopkins University, Maryland, USA. Tessy D. Bakary is professor of political science at Laval University, Quebec, Canada. A. Adu Boahen was Emeritus Professor of History at the University of Ghana, Legon. Alex Gboyega is senior fellow at the Foundation for Development and Environmental Initiatives. Donald Rothchild is professor of political science at the University of California, Davis, USA. He is the coauthor of Sovereignty as Responsibility: Conflict Management in Africa (Brookings, 1996), author of Racial Bargaining in Independent Kenya (Oxford University Press, 1973), and coeditor of The International Spread of Ethnic Conflict: Fear, Diffusion, and Escalation (Princeton).