Non-state Actors, Peacebuilding and Security Governance in West Africa : Beyond Commercialisation
The governance of security in West Africa manifests numerous challenges which point to the need for a comprehensive security agenda to integrate various actors often operating from opposing perspectives. This article argues that the disproportionate focus on the role of commercial security actors in West Africa effectively eclipses research and policy interest in other non-state actors in security governance and tends to undermine sustainable peacebuilding. The article attempts a typology of non-state actors engaged in security governance beyond security contractors and argues that the governance of security should be seen to include ‘insecurity actors’ (such as criminal networks and local mercenaries) because they form part of the ‘push-and-pull’ – exerted by various security actors – whose end result is the de facto governance of security. The challenge of peacebuilding therefore is to bridge the gap between the normative value of security governance (predicated on democratic principles of accountability, transparency and participation) and the reality of diverse interests and perspectives.