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If you've been following the global news, or more specifically the West African Region, there seems to be a disturbing trend emerging. Nearly 6 Countries have experienced successful or unsuccessful Coups. I know that there might be frustration or dissatisfaction towards the government. But I can't help but wonder, are there State(Countries) or Non-State Entities involved? We know Coups are rather difficult to execute and finance, a certain level of outside help is needed. Or is it just a Negative Consequence of the Covid-19 Pandemic?

Why does West Africa seem to destabilize?

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  • Some scholars certainly seem to suspect a modest degree of foreign involvement in some of them, or at least tacit support after the fact. It won't let me put in the link, but China, the USA, France, and Russia all have been accused of supporting at least one.
    – Obie 2.0
    Feb 18, 2022 at 18:14
  • One factor is probably the various Islamic insurgencies in those regions: the central governments don't seem all that good at putting them down which upsets both the population at large and the militay. Now, whether you'd consider those insurgencies backed by state actors or not is debatable. Feb 18, 2022 at 23:16
  • Which six are you referring to and in what time period?
    – ohwilleke
    Feb 19, 2022 at 2:54
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    @ohwilleke The countries are Mali,Burkina Faso,Guinea Bissau,Chad,Guinea. There were 2 coups in Mali,1 successful and 1 unsuccessful during the past year.
    – user41995
    Feb 19, 2022 at 7:01

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It's possible (as it always is of course) that State entities are involved (as seen below especially the likes of China, Russia, France, and the US at least being accused), as to Non-State that's a little hard to determine and not something I could speak on. It seems many of these coups have been military lead or backed which would give them the resources necessary. As mentioned below Covid-19 also likely played a decent impact on aiding the necessary conditions.

Below are several articles, studies, quotes, and opinion pieces concerning factors and the situations going on and contributing.

Claims of democratic progress in Africa are overrated. Despite some emergent developments in the right direction, a more accurate picture of democracy in the continent is that of one step forward, followed by two back. In one assessment, for example, researchers conclude that democratisation in Africa between 1990 and 2010 saw progress but also setbacks. It found democracy in the continent to be ‘increasingly illegitimate’. Within that period, there were regular elections but also democratic rollbacks; democratic institutionalisation but also endemic corruption; institutionalisation of political parties but also widespread ethnic voting and violent politics; increased number of civil societies but also local realities of incivility and violence; and political freedoms and economic growth but also political controls and inequality.

A survey of voting intentions in 16 African countries found that, in countries with few dominant parties, voters preferred certain parties to avoid post-election retribution. Another study concludes that,

(political) succession in African states indicate trends towards illegitimate and unpopular self-succession, hereditary trends, the appointment of proxies and only a few instances of emerging liberal democratic regimes.

Across the continent, one of the world’s leading democracy researchers, Emmanuel Gyimah-Boadi, finds that,

the exercise of authority enjoyed by presidents and their appointees effectively negates the voice of the people, as expressed via elections, print and electronic media, and even lawsuits.

He adds that the proportion of Africans who believe they live in a democracy falls almost every year since mid-2000. The Ibrahim Index of African Governance shows that democratic progress in Africa is below citizens’ expectations. There is also a decline in people’s trust in key institutions. These may be problems that a more consolidated democracy could eventually address. However, they also represent an affront on the validity and desirability of current democratic principles in the continent. https://www.e-ir.info/2021/09/24/towards-a-better-understanding-of-the-underlying-conditions-of-coups-in-africa/

And yes Covid does likely have an impact.

“The timing of these events — two years into a Covid-19 pandemic that has been devastating for the informal economy and already cash-strapped Africans — is likely no coincidence.” https://www.cnbc.com/2022/02/10/west-africas-political-system-could-see-complete-shakeup-as-coups-spike.html

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13510347.2011.554175?journalCode=fdem20

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/03056244.2012.658717?casa_token=sXsXfxgaPwcAAAAA%3AXkV-wvcW3DGCYPg0WJGwzR_7IGx7-UehkuRw9TpSYliQOQEjtk4Ox4tU8Vvj7qW5NQV-towboLbk

https://www.reuters.com/world/africa/recent-coups-west-central-africa-2022-01-24/

Foreign influence and state sponsored actions are certainly plausible, but from the above matters, it could also be due to internal strife. https://www.fpri.org/article/2020/09/why-russia-is-a-geopolitical-winner-in-malis-coup/

This is an opinion piece but has some interesting insight: https://www.aljazeera.com/opinions/2022/2/11/why-have-civilians-welcomed-the-recent-coups-in-west-africa

Blog post from the Council on Foreign Relations: https://www.cfr.org/blog/coups-are-back-west-africa

Further analysis and commentary from the US Institute of Peace: https://www.usip.org/publications/2022/02/sixth-coup-africa-west-needs-its-game

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