Centre For Capacity Development
West Africa has become infamous as one of the most volatile and violent prone regions in the world. In addition to the protracted civil wars that engulfed Liberia , Sierra Leone , Guinea Bissau and the Ivory Coast , countries such as Guinea , Senegal and Nigeria are entangled in conflicts of different degrees of intensity while others are confronted with similar threats. The lack of access to resources and justice in a transparent and affordable manner, economic inequities, massive unemployment, extreme poverty, social inequalities and bad governance constitute the major factors of conflicts in the region. In General, high levels of poverty, economic deprivation and failed political institutions constitute the proximate causes of these conflicts.
But on the other hand conflict is a constraint on development and institution building as a result of the destruction of economic and social infrastructure , the loss of lives and property and the economic, political and social dislocation. Post-conflict reintegration and reconstruction is further handicapped by the disintegration of the traditional family and community structures, including the community-based economic and social “safety-nets” and the traditional mechanisms of conflict resolution rooted in the cultures of the respective communities, while genuine healing of the deep emotional wounds and trauma is pushed to the background as communities pursue survival needs. Addressing these complex issues is a daunting task that requires concerted efforts and partnership between state and non-state actors and the international community.
A positive development is the emergence of a vibrant Civil Society, Non-Governmental Organisations, Community and Faith-based organisations and a thriving private sector. Their presence can no longer be ignored as they are developing networks at community, national and sub-regional levels and strong alliances with the international community that was hitherto hardly the case. These non-state actors are constituting themselves into channels to develop and strengthen popular participation in governance, nurturing the development of the fledgling democracy and providing for accountability and efficiency as well as assuming greater role in strengthening community initiatives and approaches in rebuilding economic and social structures, reconciliation, peace building and socio-economic development
At the same time, various countries in the sub-region are now looking for new foundations upon which to build a peaceful future, based on participation, responsibility and accountability, justice and transparency and developing strategies for poverty reduction and sustainable development. These developments require non-state actors and State institutions and agents alike to establish and maintain functional partnership and good relationship in order to make these efforts work effectively in promoting sustainable peace, security and development.
The West African Centre For Capacity Development (CENCAD) is established against this background, by a group of West Africans with considerable experience in Academia, Civil Society and Government covering a wide range of areas of expertise including development, strategic planning, policy formulation and analysis; conflict management, mediation and resolution; human rights, advocacy and good governance in order t o promote the process of peace building and human development in the West African sub-region. It was born out of the realisation that efforts by State and non-state actors to promote peace, security and development require institutions to build and/or reinforce their capacities if the fruits of their efforts are to be harvested sustainably. The Centre will help develop the capacities of different local, national and sub-regional (State and non-state) actors to initiate more focused approaches to peace building, security and human development.