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Africa’s W — Wars

What is the cause of so many wars in Africa?

February 23, 2005

What is the cause of so many wars in Africa?

Africa’s natural boundary lies north of the Equator — and runs in an East/West fashion: North of it live Africa’s predominantly Muslim populations, south of it Christians and Animists.

But that is not how the continent’s geography evolved. Instead, the colonial powers drew "vertical" boundaries.
As a result, North/South low-grade ethnic conflicts — which erupt at times into full-blown protracted wars — are common in a belt ranging from Sudan in the east to Africa’s west coast.

In all these wars, you can find a strong relationship between access to cashflow from exports of diamonds, oil and other commodities on the one hand — and armed rebellion on the other.

Of course, this peculiarly destructive relationship exists worldwide. But unfortunately for Africa, the number of conflicts there has been rising, while it is declining in other regions.