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.
“Journalists should let the stories tell themselves; if you tell a compelling story, people will get it. They just have to trust that people will get it and be moved enough to do something.”
“Many Somalis now believe that there is no other direction but forward. Our people need to believe in their country and be committed to sustaining it. Somalia is for Somalis.”
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?”