Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Marcel I. Kitissou


The onset of new and emerging threats to peace and security in West Africa has added another layer of threat to security in West Africa. There is a need for research on the interconnectedness among existing and new and emerging threats to security in the region. The purpose of this study was to explore the Economic Community of West African States' (ECOWAS') approach to its regional security management strategy. The punctuated equilibrium theory and policy feedback theory were used to conceptualize the problem within the context of ECOWAS' policy inertia and the wide range of security and sociopolitical dynamics in the region. The research questions focused on assessing the effectiveness of ECOWAS' approach to security management in West Africa. The research was a qualitative exploratory case study based on a grounded theory design. Purposive and snowball sampling techniques were used to recruit 12 regional security experts from ECOWAS headquarters and regional peace and security institutions in Ghana and Nigeria. Data collection techniques included in-depth interviews and document analysis. The findings showed that the ECOWAS' security management strategy, which was effective during the internecine conflicts, was no longer successful with the advent of new and emerging threats to security in the region. Recommendations of this study include developing ECOWAS strategic concept for security management and drafting an ECOWAS framework for accountability. The study has implications for positive social change (e.g., improving perceptions of security among West African citizens) and policy making and professional practice (e.g., supporting an integrated conceptual approach to security management that is threat focused).