Take interest in elections in West Africa, multilateral organisations told

A voter casts her ballot in Accra, Ghana, on Dec. 7, 2016. Ghana's general elections began from 7 a.m. (0700 GMT) on Wednesday, with more than 15 million registered voters casting their ballots at 29,000 polling stations across the country. (Xinhua/Shi Song)(gl)

Multilateral, National and International Organizations have been urged to take acute interest in elections in West Africa, as the outcomes can have an exponential impact on global peace and security.

Dr Jean-Marc Akakpo, an International Relations Expert, said inter alia, a significant portion of the migrant flows through the Sahara to North Africa were from western sub-Saharan Africa.

Dr Akakpo said this at a webinar organized by the Institute of International Affairs, Ghana, on the theme: “2020 Elections in ECOWAS.”

Quoting from a recent report from the Africa Centre for Strategic Studies, Mr Cherk Klutse of the Institute of International Affairs, Ghana, said that those flows were partly fuelling the Mediterranean migrant crisis.

“Instability in countries like Ivory Coast, Guinea or Burkina Faso could lead to a further exodus,” he said.

Dr Festus Aubyn of the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre, said the current challenges with the election in Guinea had resulted in a number of Guineans fleeing to Liberia, and with six contagious West African countries undertaking elections.

He said care should be taken to avoid a situation that could explode into a full blown humanitarian crisis.

Dr Aubyn said though the COVID-19 crisis was key and should be managed, it should not ordinarily be used as a basis to postpone elections.

The webinar, which had global participation, also addressed the questions of ‘3rd-termism’ in ECOWAS and Africa, the advanced median age of the contenders in elections vis-a-vis the demographic youth bulge.

It also discussed the impact of COVID-19 on elections and the lack of a female candidate for any of the high offices across the elections.

GhIIA.org is an Accra based, independent non-partisan think tank, with a core focus Ghana and ECOWAS international Relations analysis.

Its core thematic areas of research include International Trade and Economics, Foreign Policy and Diplomatic Practice, Diaspora Affairs and Strategic Studies.

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