IT CANNOT be overemphasised
that African conflicts are remarkably
unexceptional; they have complex
histories; they exhibit multiple and
multidimensional causes, courses and
consequences. Most of these causes are
deep-rooted in colonial legacies. By this
I mean the complex structures left by the
colonialists in parts of Africa.
For instance, animosity between the
Hutus and Tutsis of Ruanda started in
1916 when Belgian colonists labelled the
group as distinct entities, by introducing
ID cards according to their ethnicity. Of
course this manifested into the April
1994 Ruanda genocide. Nigeria also
have similar situation which is presently
resulting to militancy in the South-south
These whole structures have
culminated into one basic and complex
problem in Africa; and that is poverty
(unemployment). Poverty is a big issue
in Africa and has accounted for the rising
degree of conflicts in Africa. This paper
analyses the causal relationship between
poverty and conflicts in Africaand suggest
solutions to this grave problem.
In my opinion, there is no doubt that
poverty accounts for the bulk of negative
conflicts and crimes in most parts of
Africa. It is no coincidence that you don’t
see many middle class kids joining gangs,
rebels or militants or terrorist group,
rigging elections, selling drugs or robbing
The World Bank defines extreme
poverty as living on less than US$1.25 per
day, and moderate poverty as less than $2
a day. It has been estimated that in 2008,
1.4 billion people had consumption levels below US$1.25 a day and 2.7 billion lived on
less than $2 a day.
This situation basically applies to
developing continents to which Africa
is classed. In fact, 925 million people do
not have enough to eat and 98 percent of
them live in developing countries. Undernutrition
contributes to five million deaths of
children under five each year in developing
Apart from the massive deaths resulting
from poverty in Africa, the very big one is
hinged on the numbers of conflicts it creates.
A very good number of past conflicts in
Africa are hinged on political power and this
is based on the African thinking that people
in power get rich.
People want to control the resources of the
country. The past wars in Congo, Darfur,
Nigeria and Liberia have roots in power
and resources. People want change of life,
they want to live well with a good car, house
etc. and they see the government as a way
of achieving that and consequently they
desperately get into some sort of conflicts.
Effects of poverty in Africa include
death, child trafficking, drug trafficking,
prostitution, armed robbery, insecurity and
rigging of elections by hungry youths being
used by politicians/election malpractice.
Others are rebellion, terrorism or militancy,
lack of basic necessities of life, child
labour, transmission of diseases e.g. H.I.V.,
corruption, assassination and conflicts. The
truth is that, the bulks of the listed effects are
conflict-related and culminate into armed
conflicts at the slightest opportunity.
Causes of poverty in Africa include
unemployment, bad leadership/poor
governance, corruption, poverty is also
resulting from Africa’s excessive reliance on
foreign culture and products, poor economy
The prevalent nature of armed conflict in Africa is greatly connected to its degree
of poverty and African leaders have failed
to scrutinize and address this problem
properly. Of course those that are usually
used by government or political forces to
perpetuate violence in Africa are usually
from very poor background.
The gains toward reducing absolute
poverty over the past decade have been
reversed. People living below the poverty
line in sub-Saharan Africa rose to 52.5
percent in 2008 and these whole issues
account for the rise in armed conflicts and
insecurity in Africa.
From the above, it is clear that there is a
relationship between armed conflicts and
poverty in Africa. A very hungry man is
vulnerable to invitation by a criminal group
when if some kind of food or money is
offered. In fact poverty has been blamed
for fuelling terrorism by creating a state of
misery and frustration that pushes people to
join terrorist organizations.
The very first step in eliminating poverty
and tactically reducing armed conflicts in
Africa is good governance and leadership.
This is key to addressing the problem of
poverty in Africa. A government that will
critically tackle the issue of unemployment,
welfare, social infrastructures and
corruption. These are key issues in resolving
conflicts in African.
The truth is that most of the people been
used by the influential untouchables to carry
out criminal acts, are jobless or are into a job
that cannot buy them daily meal. Europe is
where they are today because of effective
and efficient leadership. Of course, Europe
has its own problems too, but when you
walk in the streets of countries in Europe,
you will have a feeling of perfection because
they have good leadership. Good welfare
packages must be provided. African leaders must invest heavily in
agriculture. Industries should be set up.
This would provide jobs and also reduce
our much reliance on European products.
Education is also very important in
solving the problems of armed conflicts
and insecurity in Africa. Financial poverty
is part of cultural poverty, for which
education is the only antidote. If you cure
cultural poverty with education, financial
poverty will be cured too. Education
enhances productivity and creativity.
Most schools and Universities in Africa
are in poor shapes. This accounts for a
large number of Africans trouping into
American and European universities.
Importantly too, government must
make very serious efforts to enlighten
people on family planning. This for me is
key in addressing poverty in Africa. The
various family units are very important to
the state and in the positive transformation
of Africa. How can a man who lives with
less than 30 dollar per day have seven
children, believing that one would grow
up to be rich?
This belief is archaic and senseless. It is
true that children are blessings from God,
but it is also true that God never told us
to bring children that we cannot cater
for. This is a big issue in Africa. It is so
because these children will become part of
the larger society in the future and if they
lacked the necessary education in life,
they may likely become nuisance to the
society at large.
The African Union must also reactivate
its goals and concretise its relationship with
regional economic bodies like ECOWAS,
ECCAS, CEPGL, UDEAC, SADC and all
other RECS. Regional Mechanisms are
also important for efficiency.
IT CANNOT be overemphasised