"The stability of a country in terms of physical security is necessary for economic development when considered within the context of inter-state rivalry and competition. However the relationship between security and development reverses when the sources of insecurity emanate from within the borders of a country. [...] While the end of the cold war saw a dramatic decline in inter-state conflicts, the number of civil wars increased. This is especially true in the poor regions of the world; particularly Africa as attention of ordinary people shifted more towards seeking economic, social, political and environmental conditions that will lead to improvement in their lives. Where such aspirations could not be met through normal political process violent means were used, resulting in instability in the region. This is particularly true in the West African sub-region. The object therefore of this research paper is to show how underdevelopment has played and continues to play a significant role in intra-state conflicts in West Africa with the view to suggesting what could be done to reduce such conflicts in the sub-region. To do this, the paper will define which countries constitute West Africa, and examine the characteristics of underdeveloped nations vis a vis those of developed countries. The paper will also examine political, economic, social and environmental insecurity in West Africa and how they relate to underdevelopment. The role of key regional and external actors (Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and African Union, the United States, Britain, France and the United Nations) in conflict prevention and resolution in West Africa and finally propose some solutions to intra-state conflicts in West Africa."
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