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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:From 'voluntary' to a 'binding' process: towards the securitisation of small arms
Author:Aning, KwesiISNI
Periodical:Journal of Contemporary African Studies
Geographic terms:West Africa
Subjects:arms trade
small arms
African agreements
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02589000802124706
Abstract:This article analyses the issue of small arms and light weapons (SALW) proliferation in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), notably in Ghana. Specifically, it assesses the extent to which both Ghana and ECOWAS have 'securitized' this particular issue through an initial 'voluntary' instrument in 1998, which was extended in 2001, until the signing in June 2006 of a legally and politically binding ECOWAS Convention on Small Arms and Light Weapons, their Ammunition and Other Related Materials. The article begins by setting out the scope and history of the SALW problem in West Africa. It analyses and traces the discourses and processes of transforming the availability of SALW into a 'security problem' by providing some of the official language used to discuss this issue. The article then focuses on Ghana in order to illustrate some the challenges and dilemmas in dealing with this threat, especially given the extent of indigenous manufacture. Such recognition of the dangers of SALW proliferation has resulted in a raft of legislation criminalizing both the manufacture and possession of small arms but with minimal impact. The article explains the resilience of SALW manufacture and trafficking through a social capital approach. In the concluding section, it explores the differing perceptions of SALW and security and points to the apparent schism between State and community perceptions of the level of threat posed by SALW. Bibliogr., sum. [Journal abstract]