Conflicts in Africa
- Main conflicts in Africa resulted from the fragility of states following the decolonization process and re-appropriating modes of administrations of former colonial powers
- The new states were unable to regulate the tensions inherent due to the presence of many ethnic and religious disparities
- The fragility of the state was born as a result of structural inability to exercise its sovereignty and control territory
- Resources were the coveted constants that states failed to master
- The failure of the state space opened to the presence of many destabilizing transnational actors in pursuit for interests
- Conflicts in Africa have also exacerbated by geopolitical and strategic stakes of the great powers in Africa seeking to maximize their power
- Africa was a breeding ground for indirect confrontation of the great powers
- The post-Cold War saw the emergence of new types of low intensity conflicts
Ever since 50 years Africa is the continent with highest concentration of conflicts in its territory. Marginalized within the international system because of its small economic size, Africa still remains a subject of interest to study International Relations. At a time when maOver the past 50 years, Africa has been witnessing much strife on its territory.
Marginalized within the international system because of its small economic size, Africa is nevertheless an interesting object of study for International Relations. At a time when many African states are preparing to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of their independence, it is interesting to try to understand why the African continent has been marked by a multitude of conflicts for over 50 years, and has not yet managed to find a model corresponding to it.
A huge chunk of its population has been vulnerable to some form of conflict since 1990. In total, there were 30 conflicts in 22 countries, killing 12 million people between 1992 and 1997. There are still 9 million refugees.
If we define the conflict as the meeting between several opposing wills by the pursuit of conflicting interests, and lead to use of violence resulting in the victory of will over others, we find that African countries are characterized by extreme conflict. These conflicts are very heterogeneous. All regions of Africa are affected by conflict, even if they differ greatly depending on the factors taken into account. We'll see which object of the conflict varies greatly depending on the period in which it operates or its location.
African conflicts are quite unique insofar as they depict a multitude of players. If we draw a typology of conflicts quickly, we see that there are several types of conflicts. Some are mainly due to internal factors, such as wars of secession, or ethno-religious conflicts, while other conflicts are related to external causes, such as the Cold War, and even now, to the inappropriate state framework imposed by former colonial powers, and foreign interference-like neo-colonialism.
What are the structural reasons for the extreme conflicts in Africa and the mechanisms that perpetuate these conflicts?
The conflict in Africa result from a complex web of multiple factors, but some responsibility lies with the State apparatus which has been ineffective in resolving tensions over land, equitable distribution of wealth or violence. The failure of states leads to an inability to exercise sovereignty over its territory, making it vulnerable to the presence of many transnational actors. Moreover, conflicts have often been exacerbated by geopolitical and global strategic issues.
It was during the Berlin conference in 1885 that the great European powers of the time carved out regions of Africa. The borders were created arbitrarily at first, with deliberate disregard for the differences and cleavages. In addition, post-colonial logic of the great powers have largely exploited this conflict, to the extent that a territory that is home to a conflict is one area in which it is easy to take ownership of wealth.
Characteristics of the colonial mode of administration:Tracing arbitrary boundaries - They do not consider the ethnic and religious dynamics, and populations are either made to straddle several states, or people with extreme cultural disparities are forced to cohabit in the same area.
Tags: Ethnicity in Africa, African colonialism, Berlin Conference