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Scholars Study the Political Dynamics of West Africa

 Africa is often portrayed as a continent ravaged by war, terrorism, poverty and political instability. But over the past five decades few violent conflicts have occurred between states. In Europe, for comparison, there have been more than 25 inter-state conflicts since 1945. It’s true that Africa has seen 214 coups, the most of any region; 106 have been successful. Out of 54 countries on the African continent, 45 have had at least one coup attempt since 1950. West Africa, a region of 16 independent states, has experienced 53 successful and 40 failed coups since 1950. There are also cross-border security challenges such as terrorism, banditry, piracy and the wide presence of arms. But, since independence in the late 1950s, the region’s countries have not gone to war with one another – except for a minor armed confrontation between Burkina Faso and Mali in 1985.