After 12years of working in the UN and shuttling between tough terrains, mediating crises, resolving conflicts as well as preaching the gospel of global peace, Prof Ibrahim Gambari, CFR decided to return to Nigeria to use his expertise and experience to help address the enormous developmental challenges that Nigeria, ECOWAS and Africa are grappling with. He established Savannah Centre to focus on the nexus between peace, democracy and development. Often times, most ‘think tanks’ are established to deal with one or two of the above three thematic issues.
Savannah Centre was established on the underlying principle that peace, development and democracy are inextricably linked. Gambari was inspired by two UN Secretaries-General, both Africans – Boutros Boutros- Ghali and Kofi Annan. They both wrote seminal reports that dealt with peace, development and democracy in the world.
Boutros-Ghali’s report of 1992 entitled “An Agenda for Peace” laid out a post-Cold war agenda and argued that there can be no development without peace. He emphasized the need for preventative diplomacy and conflict resolution. He followed that in 1994 with “An agenda for Development”, wherein he further argued that there can be no durable peace without sustainable development. On the hand, Kofi Annan, in 2005, issued a report, entitled “In Larger Freedom” in which he argued that there can neither be peace nor development unless people have the right to decide who will rule them and how.
The name “Savannah” is reflective of the geographic location of the Centre within the Savannah belt of Nigeria.