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The Mano river basin area: formal and informal security providers in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone
Nordiska Afrikainstitutet, Conflict, Displacement and Transformation.
2007 (English)Report (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

For the past 20 years the Mano River Basin (MRB) has been an area of violent upheavals and political instability. Although the area today enjoys peace in formal terms, life for many citizens of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea is one of immense struggle in poverty for a decent livelihood. Both Sierra Leone and Liberia are currently recovering from a decade of devastating civil strife that tore countries apart and caused massive death as well as destruction of private property and state struc-tures. Despite ample emergency and development funds from Western donors being dispensed into the region, surprisingly little real development can be observed. This can have a real effect on long-term security and stability. Guinea awaits the death of its President, and with him a totalitarian ruling system. The abundance of different strategy papers, development blueprints, comprehensive approaches, multidimensional Security Sector Reform (SSR) attempts and other donor-orchestrated development efforts indicate a great deal of international interest in dealing with the post-conflict situation in the MRB region. Unfortunately, direct outcomes remain uncertain and results from donor investment have not led to the social stability and security that have been wished for. This study describes the functions of the formal structures of the MRB states, the MRU, ECOWAS and the AU. It also looks into the informal networks that enmesh this formality. The study shows that it is the informal that pursues and carries the formal forward. It argues that without a thorough understanding of the concept of Big Men and informal net-works external actors will never be able to make any real contribution to how political and social matters unfold in the MRB area. If we do not support this knowledge with comprehensive capacity-enhancing assets, and if we do not continue doing this for a substantial length of time, there will be no real change in the security situation in the region.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Defence analysis, Swedish defence research agency (FOI) , 2007. , 112 p.
FOI-R, ISSN 1650-1942 ; 2418
Keyword [en]
West Africa, Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Mano River, ECOWAS, African Union, Security sector reform, Informal sector, Regional security, Peacekeeping, Development strategy
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Social Anthropology Humanities
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-261356OAI: diva2:850452
Available from: 2015-09-01 Created: 2015-09-01 Last updated: 2015-09-29Bibliographically approved

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Utas, Mats
Social Sciences InterdisciplinarySocial AnthropologyHumanities

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