SOVEREIGNTY OF STATES IN THE POST COLD WAR ERA: IMPLICATIONS FOR SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

  • Thomas Jørgenson Department of Development Research, Danish Institute for International Studies
Keywords: United Nations, post-independence history of sub-Saharan Africa, Westphalian concept

Abstract

The United Nations (UN) was founded to ‘to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war’.1 However, the post-independence history of sub-Saharan Africa has demonstrated that the international community, or lack of an international society, has so far been unable to protect the African continent from this ‘scourge’, or indeed from itself. A number of reasons may be suggested for this, including the organisation of the international community into a number of sovereign independent states, the inability of some of these territorial sovereignties to act and function as states, the formal political and economic crisis and marginalisation of especially sub-Saharan Africa, and finally the history of the continent. Accordingly, this article has two major objectives. The article will illustrate how state failure and intrastate asymmetric warfare alters and undermines the Westphalian concept of state in sub-Saharan Africa. Furthermore it attempts to show that the way in which the concept of ‘national sovereignty’ is understood is changing, and that this might have instrumental implications for future interstate relations in sub-Saharan Africa.
Published
2012-02-03
Section
Articles