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Security in Mercosur and Ecowas: The Role of Brazil and Nigeria as Sub-Regional Powers and the Maintenance of Peace Process

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DJAU, Malam [1]

DJAU, Rachido [2]

DJAU, Malam; DJAU, Rachido. Security in Mercosur and Ecowas: The Role of Brazil and Nigeria as Sub-Regional Powers and the Maintenance of Peace Process. Multidisciplinary Scientific Journal. Edition 06. Year 02, Vol. 01. pp 103-119, July 2017. ISSN:2448-0959


The Southern Common Market – MERCOSUR and the Economic Community of West African States – ECOWAS, established principles and regular mechanisms for analysis and dialogue on the prospects for regional defense and development. The two supranational institutions allowed a progressive advance not only in terms of its sub-regions, as well as in terms of the continental level. The Brazil held as a key actor in the MERCOSUR, and having served as a driving spring in the insertion of the geopolitical balance and peacekeeping in Latin America. On the other hand, Nigeria seen as a power in ECOWAS was also a leading contributor to the promotion of maintenance of peace keeping in Western Africa. At the beginning of the 21 century, the two countries have contributed significantly and decisively to the enhancement of sub-regional security strategy.

KEYWORDS: Ecowas, Mercosur, Brazil, Nigeria, Security, Integration.


Nigeria together with ECOWAS have been involved in various peacekeeping and regional security processes particularly in recent years, for example given the political crises in Liberia (1990-1999); Civil war in Sierra Leone (1997/2000); Coup d’état in Guinea Bissau (1999) and Côte d’Ivoire (2002), etc. ECOWAS efforts to address these challenges are the initial concerns of the institution, especially in the areas of security management, peacekeeping and economic cooperation. Nigeria as a sub-regional power, most often participated and commanded West African peacekeeping and security operations promoted by ECOWAS (ALL, 2012).

On the other hand, Brazil in MERCOSUR has stood out as one of the largest powers, and has taken initiatives to maintain peace, security and development. In recent years, the Brazilian government has made efforts in the process of maintaining peace and security on the continent, especially with the political crises in Haiti and Honduras, etc. Nigeria and Brazil have contributed strategically to their respective regions and have participated in peace processes and security over the years.

In the African region, Nigeria’s approach to sub regional security and development has been largely influenced by its behavior in international relations. That has become the paradigm of the definition for its foreign policy. According to this approach, the country is the “West African Leader” with the responsibility to promote and protect the regional interest, since what happens in the other countries of the region can affect its sovereignty. On the other hand, in South America, Brazil has positioned itself as a key player in international negotiations, involving MERCOSUR. This fact has a relevant meaning for the country to extend its influence and hegemony at the regional level, and instrumentalize its leadership (OLIVEIRA, A, J, 2000; OKUNI, 2000).

The purpose of our article is to analyze the security, peace promotion and development process in MERCOSUR and ECOWAS, with two main protagonists, Nigeria and Brazil, playing their roles as sub regional powers.


The term region as a natural space arose from geography. This academic discipline through its human dimension, defines regional spaces with specific criteria and objectives, which are most often provided by history, economics, ethnography, sociology, or politics, etc. Therefore, as the terms mentioned above sometimes do not coincide, some scholars in the areas of human science use the concepts of region to define certain historical, cultural, political, economic, and anthropological approaches (HAAS, E, B. 1964).

Over the years, the concept of the region has been gaining a greater profile, mainly by reference to the globalism of political, economic, cultural and technological relations. From this, the identity of each specific region gains a new meaning. Thus, in the last 30 years the new regionalism has acquired in the global political reordering the qualitative changes in the concept of international security and development in the post-Cold War period. According to Detlet Nolte (2010):

So on the one hand, the claim seems to be substantiated – namely, that regions will play an important role in the future world order, that we live in world of regions, that there is an emerging regional architecture of world politics, and that a multiregional system of international relations is in the making. On the other hand, the ongoing discussion about the rise of regional powers is gaining new steam.

(NOLTE, D. p, 882, 2010).

Regionalism became a subject of study by several researchers, especially when the process of globalization of relations between countries, regions and hemispheres was characterized. In this way, the region or regionalism became the concept of public administration, more specifically as a principle of integration in a special way. In this circumstance, the concept of regional power also gained a new approach in the international arena and in comparative political studies.

Taking into account the above-mentioned term, the concept of regional power is also frequently used in studies of international relations, political science and economy. Due to its broad field, there is in fact no general consensus to define the characteristics of a regional power. Our conception of regional power is summed up in several aspects, although most of the time these concepts are applied in the two countries that we choose as powers in their respective regions, and they lack some mechanisms. We therefore need to combine different elements of the theory of international relations in order to provide an adequate adjustment. To paraphrase Detlet Nolte again (2010), we understand that:

When we analyse regional powers, it is necessary to combine different approaches in IR theory. A narrow realistic, liberal, or constructivist approach is not sufficient to capture the complexity of this subject matter. The structure of the international and the regional systems (the distribution of power resources and  the polarity) constitute an important stimulus for the rise of regional powers, so the realists and neo-realists may feel that their perspective is validated. But ideas about leadership, about the aspired international or regional order or about the boundaries of the region also matter. So our constructivist colleagues also have a point. Last but not least, from a liberal perspective, the political and economic dynamics within the prospective regional powers are important factors that have an impact on the exercise of regional leadership. Therefore, most approaches to conceptualising regional powers combine elements of different IR approaches; they include the internal power base (liberal), the power resources (realist) and their application (realist), role definitions and strategies (constructivist), and interaction patterns in the region with a special emphasis on the role of regional institutions Currently, there are few regions or sub-regions that demonstrate the clear dominance of a regional power.

(NOLTE, D. p, 883, 884, 2010).

Therefore, combining these elements mentioned above, we understand that the two countries that we want to study have at least some of these characteristics and approaches, both by the constructivist as well as the structuralist. Nigeria and Brazil have emerged as regional powers, more specifically in the exercise of their functions and leadership roles in international negotiations, especially in the processes of peacekeeping and security as explained above. Moreover, the two nations have demonstrated the efficiency of the higher economic resources compared to their neighbors; and have greater military power in their regions.

Brazil and Nigeria, having greater economic, political and military resources, gained a new regional highlight. Their leadership influences and monopolies in public and private institutions, national, regional and international have contributed significantly in this aspect. This has meant that some of these nations have been taken seriously in comparative studies of the regional leadership process, or as regional powers.

According to PECEQUILO (2010):

¹ The regional leaders are defined as pivot countries, central in their area of ​​influence, standing out Brazil, China, Mexico, Nigeria, India. They refer to nations without conditions to consolidate a greater world political action, being limited to an area of ​​regional influence. Its power depends on the combination of hard and soft power, added to its internal stability and that of its region, in which there may be strategic imbalances and disputes. Some classifications also denominate them of great peripheral countries, average powers, continental whales, or emerging nations. Such countries have resources and developmental conditions that place them above small nations that hold only local influence or even smaller partners. At the same time, however, they suffer internal and external bottlenecks that do not allow an advanced position in the face of limited and global power categories, being subordinated to the power of these most relevant actors and submitted to their power structure.

(PECEQUILO, p, 63, 64, 2010).

Moreover, NOLTE, DETLEF (2010), describes with precision and simplicity when it proposed to analyze the regional power of a certain region, place or hemisphere. In its approach to regional powers, he emphasizes that:

But what constitutes regional power, and which countries currently classify as regional power? At first glance it is not too difficult to identify the usual suspects: China, Índia, Brazil and South Africa. In addition, some analyst would also include México, Nigéria, Egypt, Iran, Indonesia and perhaps Israel.

(NOLTE, D. 2010, p, 883).

Taking into account the statements of NOLTE, DETLEF (2010), about countries that he considers as regional powers, or paraphrasing PECEQUILO (2010), as a large peripheral countries, medium powers, or continental whales, Nigeria according to ALLI, (2012), Understands that:

As shown in the Table above, Nigeria has the largest, best equipped and trained armed forces in the sub-region. Accordingly, one of the realities of the political landscape of West Africa is the clear unquestionable and transparent preponderance of Nigeria as the leading and hegemonic local actor in the sub-region

(ALLI, 2012, p, 11.).

This perspective prompted Nigeria to adopt a security and development mechanism for the sub region.

Translated freely by the authors:

“Os líderes regionais são definidos como países pivôs, centrais em sua área de influência, destacando-se Brasil, China, México, Nigéria, Índia. Referem-se a nações sem condições de consolidar uma maior atuação política mundial, limitando-se a uma área de influência regional. Seu poderio depende da combinação do hard e soft power, somadas a sua estabilidade interna e á de sua região, na qual podem existir desequilíbrios e disputas estratégicas. Algumas classificações também os denominam de grandes países periféricos, potências médias, baleias, continentais, ou países emergentes. Tais países possuem recursos e condições de desenvolvimento que os colocam acima das nações pequenas que detêm apenas uma influência local ou parceiros ainda menores. Ao mesmo tempo, porém, elas sofrem pontos de estrangulamento internos e externos que não permitem uma posição avançada diante das categorias de potências mundiais e limitadas, estando subordinados ao poder destes atores mais relevantes e submetidos a sua estrutura de poder”.

(PECEQUILO, p,63,64,2010).

In view of these assertions and the above approaches, Nigeria has considered by the vast majority of international relations scholars as a regional power, depending on the mechanisms that the country has, as well as its position in relations among other countries and in ECOWAS, where Nigeria led much of the regional peace and security operations.

On the other hand, Brazil according to KAHLER, MILES (2013):

has also pursued a regional leadership role as an avenue for strengthening its global ambitions, beginning with the negotiation of a customs union, Mercosul (the Southern Comom Market), and accelerating during the presidency of Lula da Silva when Brazil played a leading role in creating the South American Community of Nations (Unasur) in 2004.

(KAHLER, M. 2013, p, 724).

The country has since played a key role in international negotiations involving the institution, in addition to having participated and led the United Nations Peacekeeping and Security Forces (UNPSF) in Haiti, Honduras, and in some Portuguese-speaking countries, such as Angola, Mozambique, East Timor, etc. This enabled Brazil’s sentiment and claim to demonstrate its ability to lead processes at the regional and international levels, especially with its claim to occupy a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). According to Lama, Bárbara Gomes (2004):

The Brazilian Government supports the idea that the number and composition of Council members should be reviewed in a broader context. According to the Brazilian Government, the change in the number and composition of the members of the Security Council is crucial and must satisfy the need to increase the legitimacy and representative character of the body, while preserving its operational viability. Brazil agrees with the need to reduce the current imbalance in the composition of the Council, which can be seen both in the ratio of developed and developing countries that are permanent members to the total membership. A permanent seat imposes additional responsibilities and costs. Brazil is prepared to assume these responsibilities and costs, if necessary summoned by the international community to do so.[3]

Lama, Bárbara Gomes (2004, p, 2).

If we look at Brazil’s position in MERCOSUR as well as in Nigeria in ECOWAS, we will verify the realities of the information contained above that the two nations have operated as key actors in international negotiations, peacekeeping, involving their institutions and their region.

Therefore, taking into account all the mentioned considerations and approaches, we understand that a regional power has three fundamental elements: Territorial extension, economic and military power. We consider these three elements to qualify a regional power, at least. In other words, to paraphrase KARL W. DEUTSCH (1967), the potential of the status quo of a regional power is merely a simple estimate of its human and material resources. According to that author, a country can be affirmed as a power the more it is extensive and numerous its population, its economic and military power. Therefore, we concluded that Nigeria and Brazil have these characteristics.


After the independence and consolidation of African countries, many regimes have resulted in military and single-party dictatorships, in which some have had to undergo military incursions or civil war. The emergence of a process of peace and security not only at the domestic level but also at the regional level has provided a new political landscape on the African continent. This fact allowed a new political, economic and cultural perspective.

The process of integration and peacekeeping for the continent has received considerable assistance from regional, national and international organizations. Among them, the African Union – AU, and the Regional Economic Communities – REC, such as ECOWAS – Economic Community of West African States, Peacekeeping and Security Forces – PSF. Thus, the most prominent countries have emerged as key players in their respective regions. In West Africa, according (ALLI, 2012).

one such actor is the Federal Republic of Nigeria, whose commitment to regional integration in the field of peace and security has been essential in such a sense that it would not have been possible without, even less against it. The sheer size of Nigeria’s population, hence market, the amount of natural resources as well as her considerable military capabilities bestow on her, as it were naturally, the role of a regional hegemon.

(ALLI, p, 5 2012).

In this perspective, Nigeria has a population of about 174 million, rich in mineral soil, such as gas, oil (one of the largest oil producers in the world), and West Africa’s largest economy. Country often referred to as the “giant of Africa”, identified as a regional power on the continent, more specifically with its hegemonic peculiarity on the region. Having stood out as a regional leader, Nigeria has one of the largest active military contingents among ECOWAS members. As can be seen in the table of nº1:

Table nº. 1. Number of active military personnel per ECOWAS member between 2005/2017

Benin 4750 2012 Guinea/Conakry 45000 2006
Burkina Faso 11200 2012 Liberia 2100 2014
Cape-Verd 1200 2005 Mali 12150 ——–
Ivory Coast 9,000 2005 Níger 12000 2009
Gambia 2500 2010 Nigeria 162000 2017
Ghana 13500 2009 Senegal 10000 2000
Guinea-Bissau 4000 2012 Sierra Leone 13000 2006
Togo 7000 ——

SOURCE: Prepared by the authors based on: data on the wikipedia page. Org countries listed above. Hosted on 03/03/2017.

The country together with ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States), through its security body, ECOMOG, have participated in various peace and security agreements over the years. The main agreements that were established, the first ECOWAS section on the peacekeeping process on the continent, occurred on August 8, 1990 with political crises in Liberia (1990-1999). Considering the principles of non-intervention in internal affairs and the tragic situation the country was experiencing, ECOWAS under the leadership of Nigeria established principles of non-violence and normalized the peace process in Liberia. From this moment on, the Monitoring and Peacekeeping Group / Cease – Fire Monitoring Group of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOMOG), a multilateral armed force, was created a formal arrangement for separate armies to work together. Supported in large part by the resources of the Nigerian armed forces, also with sub-battalion force units contributed by other member’s states of the organization, ECOMOG has the purpose not only of maintaining peace, but also with the aim of resolving the emerging conflicts on the African continent. From this period, ECOWAS began to participate in conflict resolution and military security in various regions and localities of the continent, and that for the most part military actions were led by Nigeria. The country has commanded much of ECOMOG’s forces in Liberia since (1990-1999).  See Table nº2 below:

Table nº. 2. Chronological list of ECOMOG commanders in Liberia between 1990/1999.

Commanders Country Titles Years
Lt-Gen. Arnold Quainoo Ghana Force Commander 07/1990 – 09/1990
Maj-Gen. Joshua Dogonyaro Nigeria Field Commander 09/1990 – 02/1991
Maj-Gen. Rufus Kupolati Nigeria Field Commander 02/1991-10/1991
Maj-Gen. Ishaya Barut Nigeria Field Commander 10/1991 – 11/1992
Maj-Gen. Tunji Olurin Nigeria Field Commander 11/1992 -11/1993
Maj-Gen. John Shagava Nigeria Field Commander 11/1993 – 12/1993
Maj-Gen. John Mark Inienger Nigeria Field Commander 12/1993 – 8/1996
Maj-Gen. Victor Malu Nigeria Force Commander 08/1996 – 01/1998
Maj-Gen. Timothy Nigeria Force Commander 01/1998 – 03/1999
Maj-Gen. Felix Mujakperuo Nigeria Force Commander 1999

Source: Prepared by the authors based on: Accessed on 20/02/2017

Among the contingents of ECOMOG Force commanders in Liberia from 1990 to 1999, 99 per cent of these are Nigerians, all of them including Ghana, are generals, which means that ECOMOG commanders in Liberia between 1990 and 1999 are constituted by generals. The efforts and challenges of ECOWAS and ECOMOG, especially in the case of Liberia, were an example of success and transformation in the sub region. The concern with regional security has become part of the bloc’s agenda with the aim of cultivating mechanisms capable of safeguarding the institution’s task and promoting peace. According to ALLI, (2012):

Nigeria the richest country in the sub-region has had to carry the huge burden of providing leadership and logistic for most of the ECOMOG operations. It has become characteristic for the sub-regional organisations to try in each case to promote the principle of cooperation and sub-regional solidarity as key elements in the efforts to achieve Peace and security even as criticismo as mounted against ECOMOG operations.

(ALLI, p, 9, 2012).

Liberia’s experience has boosted not only ECOWAS but also Nigeria itself in engaging peacekeeping processes and establishing regional security. In fact, the contribution of Nigerian activism had been experienced since the 1970s and 1980s in South Africa during the apartheid segregationist regime, in which Nigeria was one of the peacemaking members in that country. The doctrine of “The Pax Nigeriana” made it prevail among the realist theorists who believed in Nigerian leadership on the African continent, more specifically eloquently manifested in West Africa.

The case of Liberia has further enabled Nigeria to exploit its ambition and sub-regional leadership capacity, since no other nation in the region contributes explicitly or equally. These facts have been important for a country that saw itself as leader of the continent, and has invested massively in the defense of its territory and the region. As a result, it allowed Nigeria to modernize its armed forces, military equipment, train contingents and security forces.

Since the Liberian civil conflict, some West African countries have experienced unprecedented civil war and tenacity. For example, the cases of Sierra Leone (1997/2000), Guinea-Bissau (1998/1999) and Côte d’Ivoire (2002) have become more challenges for ECOWAS and ECOMOG. In Sierra Leone, with the deposition and insurgency against the Samuel Doe´s government and with the return of the democratically elected Tejan Kabbah, Nigeria led ECOMOG forces to restore order and return of a democratically elected government. The contingents sent, Nigerians once again led the groups in that country as can be seen in table nº 3.

Table nº. 3. Countries and number of soldiers sent to maintain peace and security in Sierra Leone.

Nigeria 4.500 troops /soldiers 02/2000
England 90 Soldiers
ECOMOG – Mali, Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria 5,500    02/ 2000/
UNO 11,100   02/2000

Source: Prepared by the authors based on: and and  Accessed on 03/10/2017.

Finally, it is interesting to note the engagement and articulation of Nigeria as one of the countries in West Africa in participating and discussing issues of regional security and defense, and this does not mean in any way that other nations have not participated or contributed in the process of maintenance of peace and security in the region. But Nigeria’s interest in solving the problems of regional conflicts and other forms of armed insurgency is evident in order to demonstrate its leadership and power in that region. Therefore, Nigeria explicitly demarcates West Africa as its area of political, economic and military influence. Thus, both Nigeria and ECOWAS, also strengthens its position in favor of multilateralism to cope with the other institutions or nations.


Brazil, located in Eastern South America, with 8,515,767,049 km², has a population of 207, 1 million (estimate in March 2017 – source: IBGE – Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística ), which is the largest in the South America region, almost 50% of the South American population, the country rich in natural resources such as oil, natural gas, water resources. Economic indicators show that Brazil is the largest in the region, and has one of the largest military expenditures in South America, comparing, for example to other giants in the region, such as Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Venezuela, etc. In addition to the skills and human resources, its export volume and the power of its investments are fundamental in relations and international negotiations. As shown in table nº4.

Table 4. Economic and material resources: Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Venezuela – 2014.

Indicators Brazil Argentina Chile Colombia Venezuela
Data / Demographics
Populations (in millions) 207,1 43 17,8 47,8 30,7
Area (Km2) 8515,8 2780,4 756,1 1141,7 912,1
GDP (in millions) 2429,7 579,2 264,8 381 373,3
GDP per capita (in Dollars) 11790 13480 14910 7970 12500
Militar y expenditures
Military E. (millions in dollars) 31954 5342 5071 12945 2032
Military Exp. (% from GDP) 1,4 0,9 2 3,1 1,1
Staff of the Armed Forces 729.500 105.650 109.450 455.750 265.000

Source: Tabulated by the authors based on: UNDP, SIPRI, World Fact Bank – 2014.

Table nº4, accurately indicates the role of Brazil as an economic and military leader in MERCOSUR. However, its leading position is indisputable in view of its aforementioned characteristics. Its leadership position increases responsibility for conducting the security and regional maintenance peace process, more specifically for the survival of MERCOSUR.

Allied to the integrating characteristic, Brazil, from the MERCOSUR, demarcates South America more clearly as its area of political, economic and military interference. It also reinforces the idea that the country has been one of the promoters and creators of some institutional mechanisms in favor of multilateralism to deal with other regional and international institutions.

In addition, Brazil was one of the proponents of the creation of the South American Defense Council (SADC), a political and military institution that seeks to foster exchange in the field of security and peacekeeping among MERCOSUR / UNASUR member states, with the objective to elaborate joint defense policies, exchange between the Armed Forces of each member, performing military exercises, and participation in peace operations.   Considering the Brazilian experiences and their impact on the United Nations and future scenarios, and a series of important reflections on security and maintenance of peace in Latin America. From this perspective, one can see that Brazil’s position is very relevant.

The Country has played a regional leadership role and has put all its intention and experience in the peacekeeping process to the table, more specifically, in what we can call “Brazilian way of peacekeeping”. Brazil’s actions in the various peace and security commission processes in the Americas (South and Central America), Africa and Asia, as well as in the peace processes of the United Nations, as can be seen in the table of nº. 5 below, corresponds to an important strategy for its regional projection and in the international system.

Table nº5. Collaborating countries in peace and security operations of the United Nations in 2007.

Pakistan 10.616 France 1.943
Bangladesh 7.717 Senegal 1.936
India 9.345 China 1.828
Nepal 3.656 Ethiopia 1.827
Jordan 3.569 Marocco 1.536
Ghana 2.932 Benin 1.312
Uruguay 2.585 Brazil 1.277
Nigeria 2.539 South Africa 1.204
Italy 2.445 Spain 1.183
Germany 1.150 Kenya 1.083

Source: Prepared by authors based on: Accessed on 21/02/2017.

This experience in the Communities of the nations, a fact that was accepted by other neighboring countries and international public opinion, saw Brazil increasingly concerned not only with its position as a regional leader, but also with its projection at an international level . The repercussion of the country in the United Nations and in other institutions, such as in MERCOSUR itself, Brazil has also gained a major contour, especially with the emergence of a new wave of economic crises, political, Social and military problems in the countries of South and Central America, specifically the cases of Paraguay in 1996 and Haiti in 2004.

Haiti has once again been one of its challenges in maintaining peace and security, believing in the return to normalcy in that Central American country. Given his experience in the United Nations peace and security agreements, Brazil was chosen as the lead country of the United Nations Commission for the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). The table of number nº6 below clarifies us about this fact.

Table nº. 6. Number of UN soldiers and country Chief of the United Nations Commission for the maintenance of peace and security in Haiti in 2004.



More than







Source: Prepared and tabulated by the authors with: Bárbara Gomes Lama (2004). Available in: Accessed on 03/13/2017.

Such action and military intervention was justified by the Brazilian government that peacekeeping would be necessary insofar as the security of Haiti was fundamental to the region and Brazil needed to sustain and promote regional peace and to monitor the area more closely of MERCOSUR influence, thus making economic, political and military integration increasingly safe and viable. Brazil’s actions in Haiti and in the other countries of South America and Central America were necessary inasmuch as the political instabilities that afflicted the region not only harmed those countries, but they also instigated new waves of political violence and that these turbulences needed to be contained.

The intervention of Brazil in South and Central America as a power of the region has a symbolic meaning not only in MERCOSUR but also in other international organizations. There is no doubt that Brazil exerts a great regional influence and has a power in regional and international decisions. However, it is through MERCOSUR that Brazil has managed to instrumentalize its role of leadership and power in South America. Thus, it can be seen that MERCOSUR’s political, military and geo-strategic significance for Brazil goes far beyond its economic meaning and social.


In the case of MERCOSUR and ECOWAS, despite a reasonable effort by both establishment in recent years, the two institutions still lack some legal mechanisms. In both regions, some institutional factors need to be taken into account and considered. Regional approaches as long as they are accompanied by domestic reforms, which can provide an effective solution not only for regional but also for continental security (MORAVCSIK, A. 1991).

Development and security in West Africa and South America still prevails behind other regions, not only in institutional quality, but also in education, infrastructure, and conflict prevention. It is also clear that we must take into account that both Brazil and Nigeria still lack some efficient mechanisms and political arrangements in relation to the other regional or sub regional powers. Other factors that have not been mentioned, such as social, cultural, have played an important role in this aspect.  (MALAMUD, 2000; GOLDSTEIN; QUENAN, 2002).

There are reasons we can conclude that Nigeria and Brazil as regional leaders, they interests are related to their political and economic advantages rather than the common interest of the bloc, seeking to achieve their goals, and this needs to be reformulated and revised in a more positive way. The two sub regional powers are more concerned with areas considered strategic and relevant to their security and development. Nigerian intervention in Liberia and Sierra Leone, as well as that of Brazil in Haiti, was critically analyzed both under humanitarian law perspective, as there were reports of abuses of the troops of the two countries by the local populations during the mission of their intervention.

The participation of Nigerian and Brazilian governments in peacekeeping process has seen as a manipulation in dominating their regions, and this has affected not only their own economies but also affected the development of the institution itself, like ECOWAS -ECONOMOG and MERCOSUR-CDS- South American Defense Council.    On the other hand, there are also criticisms of the government of two countries in relation to internal and domestic issues, that both Brazil and Nigeria lack an effective policy capable of containing the issues of poverty and hunger that still affect their countries.


South American and West African regional security are no longer based on European standard or American models. It is an empirical analysis that both Brazil and Nigeria have minimal resources and presented some indexes of political initiatives, such as the creation of the South American Defense Council (CDS) and the West African Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) and they assumed a leadership role in the center of these complexes.


ALL, W. O (2012). The role of Nigeria in regional security policy. Abuja, Nigeria: Friedrich – Ebert – Stiftung. Available in: files/bueros/nigeria/09372.pdf. Accessed on 03/01/2017.

DEUTSCH, KARL W. (1967). “On the Concepts of Politics and Power”, in Farrel, John C. & Smith, Asa P. (editors) – Theory and Reality in International Relations, New York – London, Columbia University Press, p. 52-54.

GOLDSTEIN, A, QUENAN, C. (2002). Introduction: Regionalism and Development in Latin America, What implications For Sub-Saharan Africa? OECD.

HAAS, E, B. (1964).  Beyond the Nation State. Stanford: Stanford University Press.

KAHLER, M. (2013). Rising powers and global governance: negotiating change in a resilient status quo. Available in: Accessed on   15/02/2017.

LAMA, B. GOMES (2004). Tropas brasileiras no Haiti. PUC Minas, MG. Available in: Accessed on 12/03/2017.

MALAMUD, A. (2000). “Presidentialism and Mercosur: a hidden cause for a successful experience”. Buenos Aires, (mimeo).

MORAVCSIK, A. (1991). Negotiating the Single European Act: National Interests and Conventional Statecraft in the European Community. International Organization, v.45, p.19-56.

NOLTE, D. (2010). How to compare regional powers: analytical concepts and research topics. Available in: Accessed on 01/03/2017.

OLIVEIRA, A J. A; ONUKI, J. (2010). Brasil, MERCOSUL e a segurança regional. Ver. Bras. Polít. Int. 43 (2): 108-129. Available in:  Accessed on 17/02/2017.

PECEQUILO, C, S (2010). Introdução das relações internacionais: temas, atores e visões. 7 Ed.  Petrópolis, RJ: Vozes.

[1] Graduate in Social Sciences – UFCe and Master in Political Science – UFPR

[2] Graduated in Letters – Portuguese & English – UFPR and Masters in Linguistics – UFPR

[3] Translated freely by the authors: “Governo brasileiro defende a ideia de que o número e a composição dos membros do Conselho devem ser revistos num contexto mais abrangente. De acordo com o Governo brasileiro, a alteração no número e composição dos membros do Conselho de Segurança é crucial e deve satisfazer à necessidade de ampliar a legitimidade e o caráter representativo do órgão, preservando, de forma simultânea, sua viabilidade operacional. O Brasil adere ao consenso a respeito da necessidade de diminuir o atual desequilíbrio na composição do Conselho, perceptível tanto na proporção entre países desenvolvidos e em desenvolvimento que são membros permanentes, como de membros permanentes em relação ao número total de integrantes. Um assento permanente impõe responsabilidades e custos adicionais. O Brasil encontra-se preparado para assumir essas responsabilidades e custos, se eventualmente convocado pela comunidade internacional a fazê-lo”. Lama, Bárbara Gomes (2004, p, 2).

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