March 3, 2011

Côte d'Ivoire - Is Current Crisis A Threat To West African Stability?

Though the problem is certainly harmful to in-country Ivorians, I am not convinced like the ICG that the crisis in Ivory Coast threatens the stability of the entire West African sub-region.

Clearly, Liberia and Sierra Leone do not have the economic clout of CI, the crises that they underwent in 1990s are the only real recent precedents to consider.  Both of these tragedies had important ramifications for neighboring countries in the sub-region but they led to nothing close to widespread instability.

A blow to CI's economic power and central government stability would no doubt negatively effect the large number of expatriate farm laborers in CI.  However, there is little to support a view that it would have a destabilizing impact on the surrounding nations and beyond in the sub-region.

In the ICG's report are we once again seeing an NGO exaggerate in order to draw attention to a crisis in order to provoke greater international action, or, again, an unjustified Western view of Africa as a country - the United States of Africa - that links and minimizes the importance of each African nation-state?

Still, the ICG's recommendations for resolving the crisis in CI are on target....

Côte d'Ivoire: Is War the Only Option? a report by the International Crisis Group (ICG).  [Begun in 1996 and based in Brussels, the ICG describes itself as "an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organization committed to preventing and revolving deadly conflict."]

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