Viewpoint provides readers with unique perspectives of African peacebuilding from both leading and emerging scholars and practitioners working in the field. Inspired by attendance at various workshops, conferences, and events involving African Peacebuilding Network staff, these candid conversations offer alternative views and opinions to some of the most pressing issues facing Africa today. Meant to encourage further dialogue, these entries also seek to stimulate future research and necessary collaboration between all actors who continue to shape the continent’s ever-evolving peacebuilding agenda.
The following is an interview with APN 2013 grantee Professor Oluwafunmilayo J. Para-Mallam, on the sidelines of a policy dialogue jointly organized by the African Peacebuilding Network (APN), the Centre for Democracy and Development (CDD) West Africa, and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The event, which took place in Abuja, Nigeria, July 27–28, 2015, highlighted the current state of democracy, peace, and stability in West Africa. It also examined the role ECOWAS has played in the region and the challenges it faces, and offered practical suggestions to consolidating peace and democracy in the future.
“There is the belief that if you build competitive institutions and a structure of government, these elements of statebuilding will lead to state stability. It is more than just democratic competence of the state, however; it is also about the strength of the nation. The question to be asked is, How do you building a strong and stable state, but also a strong nation?”
Following the Wilton Park conference on “Peacebuilding in Africa: Evolving Challenges, Responses, and New Thinking,” African Peacebuilding Network staff had a chance to sit down with professor Michael Pugh and discuss his thoughts on the conference, where he thinks the continent is headed in terms of its peacebuilding agenda, and what room there can be for future collaboration between scholars and practitioners in the field of African peacebuilding.