Thursday, 3 December 2009

Poverty and Conflict in Africa: Explaining a Complex Relationship

With the end of the Cold War, poverty and conflict have become the biggest challenges to sustainable development. Even though debatable, poverty is continuously cited as one of the principal factors responsible for instability in many parts of Africa. For example, West Africa contains 11 of the world’s 25 poorest countries and is currently one of the unstable regions of the world. In fact, at a recent United States Institute of Peace workshop on “Responding to War and State Collapse in West Africa”, participants reached a consensus (contrary to popular belief) that poverty and the lack of economic opportunity were more important factors than Charles Taylor and the Revolutionary United Front (RUF) in the continuing instability that afflicts the entire region. According to the 2003 UN Human Development Report, “The new century opened with an unprecedented declaration of solidarity and determination to rid the world of poverty. In 2000 the UN Millennium Declaration, adopted at the largest-ever gathering of heads of state, committed countries – rich and poor – doing all they can to eradicate poverty, promote human dignity and equality and achieve peace, democracy and environmental sustainability.” Three years later, poverty and conflict are on the rise, particularly in Africa. Indeed, for most countries in Africa, the last few years have been times of despair and the 2003 Human Development Ranking is a testimony – the 25 poorest countries in the world, at the bottom of the ranking, are from Africa.
Read more

No comments: