Boundary Disputes And Implementation Of NEPAD In West Africa; 2001-2014

Project and Seminar Material for International Relations

Boundary Disputes And Implementation Of NEPAD In West Africa; 2001-2014


The New Partnership for Africa’s Development is a pledge by African leaders, based on a common vision and a firm and shared conviction, that they have a pressing duty to eradicate poverty and to place their countries, both individually and collectively, on a path of sustainable growth and development and, at the same time, to participate actively in the world economy and body politic. The programme is anchored on the determination of Africans to extricate themselves and the continent from the malaise of underdevelopment and exclusion in a globalising world.

However, the plethora of border disputes across the West African region over the years appears to have undermined attainment of the goals of good governance, poverty eradication sustainable economic and political development. This study, therefore, investigates boundary disputes and the implementation of NEPAD in West Africa between 2001 and 2014. The Ex- post facto design was used as the research design. Date from secondary sources such as books, journals and official document were qualitatively analysed.

The findings show that before the adoption of NEPAD, various institutional framework for conflict resolution, including the international Court of Justice, UN Charter on Peaceful Resolution of conflicts failed to reduce high incidence of boundary disputes, such as Nigeria – Cameroun, Ivory coast Ghana, Mail – Burkian Faso, etc. In West Africa. It further shows that the African Peer Review Mechanism is an effective strategy for resolving boundary disputes in West Africa. The study therefore recommends the establishment of a permanent body or structure for the review of border issues in Africa. This will provide African States a venue to channel their grievances for mediation.

Chapter One


1.1 Background of the Study

The promotion of peace and development is the overarching goal of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), an African-owned strategic framework for the continent’s renewal. Among NEPAD’s priorities, as preconditions for growth and development, are peace, security and good governance. The New Partnership for Africa’s Development is a pledge by African Leaders, based on a common vision and a firm and shared conviction, that they have a pressing duty to eradicate poverty and to place their countries, both individually and collectively, on a path of sustainable growth and development, and at the same time to participate actively in the world economy and body politic. The Programme is anchored on the determination of Africans to extricate themselves and the continent from the malaise of under-development and exclusion in a globalizing world. The programme is a new framework of interaction with the rest of the world including industrialized countries and multi-lateral organizations. It is based on the agenda set by African peoples through their own initiatives and of their own volition, to shape their own destiny. According to USAID (1999), the end of the Cold War has had contradictory influences on the nature and incidence of disputes and conflicts across the globe; while warfare, particularly boundary disputes, subsided in Asia and Latin America; it surged in Africa as the continent witnessed numerous cross boundary disputes. Intrastate conflict in Sub-Saharan Africa has reversed years, even decades of development progress and brought about environmental devastation, tremendous population movements, and political destabilization of neighbors, public health emergencies, economic collapse, and extraordinary human suffering. Almost without exception, writers on the subject of violent conflict in Africa discuss the continent’s development dilemmas, which include lack of economic progress, environmental degradation, poor soils and climates, abysmal health and education indicators, massive levels of population movements (both voluntary and involuntary), exploding urban growth, disintegration of state services, and so forth. Rock (1993) gives a gloomy historical account of Africa’s development performance as compared to the continents of Asia and Latin America. According to him, without question, Sub-Saharan Africa, with its crises in agriculture, environment, economics, and governance, poses by far the greatest development challenge the world now faces. Violent and boundary conflict is very much a part of this development dilemma. Traditionally, the development community lacked integrated perspectives on warfare, and characterized assistance in complex emergencies as “humanitarian” rather than developmental. USAID (1999) argued that it is now generally recognized that complex emergencies and sustainable development lie at opposite ends of a continuum and that both “development” and “relief” professionals must have a clear understanding of this connection. NEPAD (2001) notes that the impoverishment of the African continent was accentuated primarily by the legacy of colonialism, the Cold War, the workings of the international economic system, and the inadequacies of and shortcomings in the policies pursued by many countries in the post-independence era. For centuries, Africa has been integrated into the world economy mainly as a supplier of cheap labour and raw materials. Of necessity, according to NEPAD (2001), this has meant the draining of Africa’s resources rather than their use for the continent’s development. The drive in that period to use the minerals and raw materials to develop manufacturing industries and a highly skilled labour force to sustain growth and development was lost. Thus, Africa remains the poorest continent despite being one of the most richly endowed regions of the world. Maserumule (2011) opine that in other countries and on other continents, the reverse was the case. There was an infusion of wealth in the form of investments, which created larger volumes of wealth through the export of value-added products. However, Africa have not harnessed her resources to create wealth for the well-being of its peoples. Colonialism subverted hitherto traditional structures, institutions and values or made them subservient to the economic and political needs of the imperial powers. It also retarded the development of an entrepreneurial class, as well as a middle class with skills and managerial capacity. According to NEPAD (2001), Africa’s place in the global community is defined by the fact that the continent is an indispensable resource base that has served all humanity for so many centuries. These resources can be broken down into the following components: a. The rich complex of mineral, oil and gas deposits, the flora and fauna, and the wide unspoiled natural habitat, which provide the basis for mining, agriculture, tourism and industrial development; b. The ecological lung provided by the continent’s rainforests, and the minimal presence of emissions and effluents that are harmful to the environment. c. a global public good that benefits all humankind; d. The paleontological and archaeological sites containing evidence of the origins of the earth, life and the human race, and the natural habitats containing a wide variety of flora and fauna, unique animal species and the open uninhabited spaces that are a feature of the continent; e. The richness of Africa’s culture and its contribution to the variety of the cultures of the global community.Evbuomwan (2007) points that at independence, virtually all the new states were characterized by a shortage of skilled professionals and a weak capitalist class, resulting in a weakening of the accumulation process. Sambanis (2004) observed that post-colonial Africa inherited weak states and dysfunctional economies, which were further aggravated by poor leadership, corruption and bad governance in many countries. These two factors, together with the divisions caused by the Cold War, hampered the development of accountable governments across the continent. NEPAD (2001) observed that many African governments did not empower their peoples to embark on development initiatives to realize their creative potential. Today, the weak state remains a major constraint on sustainable development in a number of countries. Indeed, one of Africa’s major challenges is to strengthen the capacity to govern and to develop long-term policies. At the same time, there is also the urgent need to implement far reaching reforms and programmes in many African states and curtail the prospects of intraboundary disputes. According to Raleigh et al (2009) contend that the structural adjustment programmes of the 1980s provided only a partial solution to Africa’s development challenges. They promoted reforms that tended to remove serious price distortions, but gave inadequate attention to the provision of social services. The impact of structural adjustment and the harsh conditionalities it imposes is a topic that appears throughout the literature, with many authors concluding that it has contributed to political instability and violence. Martin and O’Meara (1995) note that austerity measures have required abrupt, drastic changes in monetary and fiscal policies that have led directly to political instability, and Conteh-Morgan (1994) noted how economic hardship and imposed austerity measures may undermine the legitimacy of a government. Rothchild’s (1995) examination of the state collapse in Ghana is yet another example. After the democratically elected Limann administration became mired in ineffectiveness, Rawlings seized power in a 1981 coup. Initially seeking to achieve legitimacy through populism, he abandoned this in favor of imposing an unpopular reform package. Although Ghana’s economic decline was halted, this did not translate into legitimacy for the Rawlings government; some sectors of the public were hard-hit, and the government’s reliance on external recommendations and funds heightened popular mistrust. Ake (1996) argued that Africa’s development has not been a failure –he posits that development has simply never truly been on the agenda of African leaders or the international community in the first place. Asserting that political conditions have been the greatest impediments to development in Africa, he constructs a sophisticated explanation of how African politics have been constituted in such a way as to prevent development. He argues that arbitrary and absolute power were two major features of the colonial era which carry over to the present day. Ake explores how intense, zero-sum competition arose over the capture of state power and how its use as the sole avenue for material accumulation came to dominate politics. In this context, cleavages were reinforced as leaders manipulated communal loyalties, transforming ethnicity into a menacing political force. In efforts to consolidate power and cut off opponents, the state became an agent for the appropriation of wealth and a tool to punish adversaries’ pocketbooks. The character of politics thus led to a economic crisis and violent competition.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

From the antiquity to contemporary times, competition and conflict are regarded as inherent phenomena in both nature and society. Latent or violent social confrontations have long been considered as the premium mobile for social changes and transformations. Arguments to support this proposition are that conflicts and competition are inevitable and ubiquitous in all societies at all times. Similarly, in the best of circumstances, conflicts and competition are bounded and circumscribed. Contending groups of people and rival nations get involved in violent conflicts either because their interests or values are challenged or because their needs are not met. The deprivation (actual or potential) of any important value, induces fear, a sense of threat, and unhappiness. Whether contending groups in a particular society are defined by ethnicity, religion, ideology, gender, or class identities, they have, by definition, different needs, interests, values and access to power and resources. Understandably, such differences necessarily generate social conflicts and competition. What is at issue, therefore, is how to manage and resolve inherent social conflicts before they degenerate into violent expressions and massive destruction.

1.3 Objectives of Study

The major objective of the study is to investigate the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) and boundary disputes in West Africa with focus on the Nigeria-Cameroun Bakassi dispute. However, the specific objectives include:

  1. To determine if the New Partnership for Africa Development (NEPAD) has led to reduction in boundary disputes in West Africa.; and
  2. To establish if NEPAD’s African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) has enhance good governance in Africa, particularly Nigeria.

1.4 Research Hypotheses

  1. H0: New Partnership for Africa Development (NEPAD) has not led to reduction in boundary disputes in West Africa
    H1: New Partnership for Africa Development (NEPAD) has led to reduction in boundary disputes in West Africa.
  2. H02: NEPAD’s African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) has not enhance good governance in Africa, particularly Nigeria
    H2: NEPAD’s African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) has enhance good governance in Africa, particularly Nigeria

1.5 Significance of the Study

The study has theoretical and practical significance. Theoretically, it examined the role of New Partnership for Africa Development (NEPAD) and boundary disputes in West Africa. This is necessary considering the resources African nations invest in prosecuting disputes which would otherwise have been invested to improve the lot of the citizens of African countries. The study therefore is a contribution to show how boundary disputes in Africa contributed to underdevelopment in the continent, particularly in the western axis, as well as the instrumentality of NEPAD and its APRM in mitigating boundary disputes and poor governance.

Practically, it is expected that the study will be of immense benefit to political leaders, diplomats, students of international relations and all who have interest in the development of the African country as the study highlighted the benefits and mechanisms of good governance contained in the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM).

1.5 Scope of the Study

The focus of the study is Boundary Dispute and Implementation of NEPAD in West Africa since 2001. Therefore, the study has as its scope, boundary disputes that involve West Africa States. It includes disputes involving one or more nation state in the West African sub region. Consequently, the study is limited to development in boundary disputes in the region since the beginning of the implementation of the New Partnership for African Development, NEPAD, in 2001.

1.6 Operational Definitions of Terms


New Partnership for Africa Development. It is a call for a new relationship of partnership between leaders/nations Africa and the international community, especially the highly industrialised countries, to overcome the development chasm that has widened over centuries of unequal relations


It is a line dividing land territory over which states exercise full territorial sovereignty


Is the manner in which power is exercised in the management of a country’s economic and social resources.

Good Governance:

Is also effective, equitable, participatory, transparent and accountable governance


Is as a boundary region, zone or tract which forms a belt of separation, contact or transition between political units.


Involves institutionalized mechanisms and processes for working in partnerships of public, private and civic actors in conducting the business of governance at all levels


Is an official augment or disagreement between two or more parties, especially between nation-states


Is the process of improving the socio-economic and political welfare of a people.

1.8 Organization of the Study

This research work is organized in five chapters, for easy understanding, as follows

  1. Chapter one is concern with the introduction, which consist of the (overview, of the study), historical background, statement of problem, objectives of the study, research hypotheses, significance of the study, scope and limitation of the study, definition of terms and historical background of the study.
  2. Chapter two highlights the theoretical framework on which the study is based, thus the review of related literature.
  3. Chapter three deals on the research design and methodology adopted in the study.
  4. Chapter four concentrate on the data collection and analysis and presentation of finding.
  5. Chapter five gives summary, conclusion, and recommendations made of the study

Chapter Five

Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation

5.1 Introduction

It is important to ascertain that the objective of this study was boundary dispute and implementation of NEPAD in West Africa.

In the preceding chapter, the relevant data collected for this study were presented, critically analyzed and appropriate interpretation given. In this chapter, certain recommendations made which in the opinion of the researcher will be of benefits in addressing the challenges of boundary dispute and NEPAD implementation challenges in West Africa.

5.2 Summary

the principles and practices for good governance and development contained in the NEPAD and the APRM refer to popular participation, and actually open a space for civil society and business, calling for partnership in the new vision of Africa’s development through inputs and initiatives to tackle the many challenges, such as border conflicts, civil wars, corruption, diseases and worsening poverty situations in the African region. Even though these initiatives were developed without the input of African society, their implementation is based on participation and makes the participation of all stakeholders —government agencies, private sector and civil society organisations —a must Subsequently, the African peer review process requires each participating country in the APRM to establish a national coordinating structure that embraces all stakeholders, including government officials, parliamentarians, opposition representatives, business community, media, NGOs, community—based organizations, women’s associations, and youth groups. The APRM process provides African society with opportunities not only to evaluate the performance of their governments but also to be part of the policy-making process, through the development of a Programme of Action to address the identified shortcomings in governance and socio-economic development. Consequently, the APRM, by improving macroeconomic environment, boosting economic growth and inter-trade integration, and crucially promoting dialogue among African states, the APRM is crucial in the process of containing the perennial challenge of border disputes in West Africa. Despite its shortcomings, the APRM has set in motion a process of dialogue among government institutions, civil society and the business sector about governance and development issues and how they can be addressed. Notwithstanding, One of the issues that have become apparent is that the structures of many of the NEPAD organization, particularly its African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) are unsuited for border conflict management roles. As an organization’s level of response develops along the continuum of previous organizations like OAU, ECOWAS, ECOMOG, etc., the structural problems become more difficult to manage. For example, when the response to a conflict situation is at the level of mediation and other diplomatic activities, such structural problems are less noticeable than when a major peacekeeping or enforcement operation has been initiated.

5.3 Conclusion

In the light of the findings of the study, it conclude that the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD) is a viable framework for conflict resolution in Africa, particularly in the West African sub region, which has witnessed various border induced conflicts. The reduction, particularly in terms of intensity, in the occurrence of border conflicts between West African regions since the adoption of the NEPAD framework in 2000 by African head of states and governments lends credence to this view. The emphasis on dialogue, interaction and integration of regional governments and economies, which are core values of NEPAD significantly contributed to this development. The increasing focus on dialogue, instead of confrontation, show of force and external arbitration that defined conflict resolution prior to the NEPAD regime, accounts for the decreasing rate and intensity of border disputes and conflicts in the region. The study therefore accepts the hypothesis that the New Partnership for Africa Development (NEPAD) led to reduction in boundary disputes in West Africa. More so, the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) can play a leading role in resolving border disputes in the West African region. This can be achieved through the instrumentality of the meetings of African heads of state and APRM expert reviews which serve as effective voice in relating to various parties on the issues bordering on peace, cooperation, good governance and stability of Africa. This, therefore, affirms the hypothesis that the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) played significant roles in resolving boundary disputes in the West African region.

5.4 Recommendations

To enhance the effectiveness of NEPAD in boundary disputes resolution, particularly through the instrumentality of APRM, the study recommends:

  1. The establishment of permanent body or structure for the review of border issues in Africa is paramount. This will provide African states avenue to channel their grievances for mediation;
  2. The need to develop African economies so as to deemphasize over-reliant on natural resources, which have often fueled border disputes as was the case between Nigeria and Cameroun in the dispute over Bakassi.
  3. The ideals of good governance promoted by NEPAD through the APRM should be elevated from rhetoric to political norm in order to ensure well-being of the people and promote cooperation and integration of African states.

This will in no doubt reduce the tendencies to resort to conflicts in the face of disputes, which has drained African states of the much needed resources for development.

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