In February 2023, PRIF researchers Sophia Birchinger, Simone Schnabel and Antonia Witt together with Sait Matty Jaw and Amado Kaboré held a workshop in Ouagadougou to present and discuss insights from a research project on local perceptions of the African Union (AU) and ECOWAS and their 2014/15 interventions in Burkina Faso. The discussion was facilitated by Dr Abdoul Karim Saidou from the Centre pour la Gouvernance Démocratique (CGD). The workshop is part of the project “Local perceptions of regional interventions: AU and ECOWAS in Burkina Faso and The Gambia” led by Dr Antonia Witt and funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. The case study on Burkina Faso builds on two phases of field research conducted in February/March 2020 and January–April 2021 by Simone Schnabel and Adjara Konkobo, together with Dr Amado Kaboré from the Institut des Sciences des Sociétés (INSS).
The workshop provided an opportunity to share the study’s main results with research participants and to learn from their feedback on the study. Among the invited participants were key actors from the 2014 uprising and the following transition from various cities of the country: representatives from civil society, social movements, from the country’s former ruling and opposition parties as well as the ECOWAS resident representative. Despite vast critique of the regional interventions in Burkina Faso in 2014/15, the discussion showed a clear demand for more regional intervention in various policy fields and a better performance in implementing regional mandates. The dynamic interactions between the participants of the workshop underlined the need for AU and ECOWAS to engage more with local civil society in order to bridge the gap between the organizations and African citizens.
The PRIF Report resulting from the project is available for download in French (PRIF Report 11/2022: Les « syndicats des chefs d’État » sur le terrain) and in English (PRIF Report 14/2022: The “Clubs of Heads of State” from Below).