Book Chapter

Conflicts in Africa


Steyn P (2007) Conflicts in Africa. In: Fouskas VK (ed.) The Politics of Conflict: A Survey. Europa Politics of ... series. London and New York: Taylor & Francis (Routledge), pp. 44-58.

First paragraph: The history of independent Africa is characterised by high levels of conflict that has ranged from low-intensity ethno-religious and political conflicts, to protracted civil wars, conventional interstate conflicts to regional conflicts. In this process millions of Africans have been killed, of which an estimated 90 per cent were civilian non-combatants. Apart from the large-scale loss of human life and associated human rights abuses, conflict has also led to the reversal of decades of development efforts, the disruption of livelihoods, the destruction of infrastructure, the loss of investment opportunities, the diversion of resources from social programmes to the military, increased debt, and the massive internal displacement of people who are uprooted and forced to become refugees. The causes of conflict in Africa are numerous and include the colonial legacy, the weak postcolonial African state, coups d'etat, military intervention in political processes, regional and international political and economic systems, fundamental social cleavages (e.g. ethnic, religious and regional), weak economies, competition over scarce resources, arbitrary and repressive governance, political intolerance, and the refusal of political elites to cooperate and compromise. What follows is a survey of conflicts in independent Africa that focuses on some of the main conflicts fought on the continent since the c.1950s, and attempts at making and keeping the peace in Africa.

African Poltics; African conflict; Africa Politics and government 1960; Political violence Africa

Title of seriesEuropa Politics of ... series
Publication date31/12/2007
PublisherTaylor & Francis (Routledge)
Publisher URL
Place of publicationLondon and New York