Conflict prevention in Africa must address poverty, marginalisation

17Jan 2019
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Conflict prevention in Africa must address poverty, marginalisation

Conflicts in Africa have over the years led to loss of lives, displacement of persons and misery in many parts of the continent. The need to resolve, manage and prevent these conflicts, and equally deal with the socio-economic challenges arising from these conflicts has become a source of worry-

to African nations.

The United Nations Security Council in 2013 held a debate on preventing conflict in Africa, with calls for top priority to be given to addressing underlying root causes such as poverty, hunger, human rights abuses, marginalisation and impunity, especially with regard to sexual violence.

Conflicts breed where there is poor governance, human rights abuses and grievances over the unequal distribution of resources, wealth and power.   Tackling the root causes of conflict are crucial to ensuring sustainable peace, in addition to partnership and cooperation between regional and sub-regional organisations in supporting conflict prevention and peace-building

We therefore commend  the  critical role  of UN peacekeeping operations in maintaining international peace and preventing and containing conflicts. The UN currently fields 14 peacekeeping operations around the world comprising nearly 93,000 uniformed and almost 17,000 civilian personnel.

  Mediation efforts must not just be pacts between political elites that address the immediate political problem, but must also allow all stakeholders to participate. Tensions simmer where people are excluded, marginalised and denied meaningful participation in the political and social life of their countries.Unrest flourishes where people are poor, jobless and without hope.


 The conflict challenges are particularly acute when states are fragile and armed movements operate with impunity across porous borders, often with support from neighbouring states..

Whether in the Horn of Africa or the Great Lakes, the continent is still afflicted by interconnected instabilities spreading from one territory to its neighbours.That contagion has many vectors: economic despair, arms flows, massive population displacements, proxy conflicts triggered by relationships of mistrust, and regional rivalries. In our increasingly interconnected world, regional action to prevent or address conflicts is all the more important.

  National authorities, regional leaders and the international community ought to come together to not only deal with the manifestations of violence, but also address its underlying root causes.

In all of our efforts across Africa, the United Nations benefits from reinvigorated regional organisations. They are playing a stronger and strategic role as key partners.

African countries should call for  effective security sector reform programmes, strengthening of human rights and the rule of law, protection of civilians, ending all forms of discrimination and political exclusion, including against women and children and protection of persons belonging to national or ethnic, religious and linguistic minorities.

The fight against impunity for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, stressing the important role of women in conflict prevention and resolution and in peace-building, and underscored its concerns at the role played by the illegal exploitation of natural resources in fuelling conflicts. Indeed the UN can help states, while fully respecting their sovereignty, to prevent illegal access to those resources.