Panel Proposal on Wars and Conflicts in Africa
Wars and conflicts are two phenomena that have affected and shaped African histories significantly. Although death, destruction, and displacement, as consequences of wars and conflicts, have contributed significantly to the retardation of socio-economic development of Africa; wars and conflicts have nevertheless shaped state formation, boundary consolidation, cultural harmonization, identity definition and commercial relations. At the root of these conflicts are factors such as inherited colonial boundaries, authoritarianism, problems of religion and ethnicity, competition over scarce resources, socio-economic problems, state failures, etc. Currently in Africa, fifteen countries are involved in war, or are experiencing post-war conflict and tension. In West Africa, these countries include Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Togo. In East Africa; Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, and Uganda while in Central Africa; Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Rwanda are notable examples. In North Africa, the countries are Algeria and Sudan while in Southern Africa; Angola and Zimbabwe are notable examples.
Consequently, a mapping of conflict landscape in Africa reveals that African countries could be divided into countries-in-conflict, countries-out-of-conflict and countries-with-relative-peace. While death, destruction, refugee crises and other complex humanitarian emergences dominated both countries-in-conflict and countries-out-of-conflict, countries-with-relative-peace are today homes to refugees and Internally Displaced Persons from countries of the two other categories. No African country is therefore insulated from the effects of wars and conflicts in Africa.
Therefore, to advance knowledge on African wars and conflicts, it is important to understand the contents of their occurrence, the patterns of their prosecution, and methods of their resolution. Not only these, there is also the important dimension of external influences in African conflicts and wars. During the pre-colonial period, external influences in Africa followed precisely along the ideological lines of the Cold War. Ideological wars were the raison d’être for Africa’s wars and conflicts. Internal and external factors have collaborated, most notably in war situations to milk Africa’s rich natural resources such as timber, coltan, oil, gold, diamonds, etc. These have been compounded, in many cases, by the foreign extractive industries presence, their obscure, unreported payments to the governments and the governments’ obscure, unreported use of the money to create and fund wars. Wars and conflicts therefore serve the purpose of creating a distraction, as the countries and their fleeing, displaced citizens are robbed of their countries’ natural resources, easily converted to cash, for the personal use and fortunes of not just the ruling parties, but also of foreign governments and corporations.
As part of a conference on problems of (under)-development in Africa, to be held in Germany later in the year, this panel seeks for four or five papers exploring the different issues involved in the constellation of wars and conflicts in Africa. The panel seeks not only papers that significantly explore how wars and conflicts have under-developed Africa but also papers that pay specific attention to contents of most wars and conflicts’ occurrence, patterns of their prosecution, and methods of their resolution. Such papers, to contribute significantly to the conference, must not only recognize the problems bedeviling development but must also engage new means and measures of combating, resolving and managing wars and conflicts in Africa.
Interested scholars, researchers, conflict and security studies experts should direct their abstracts of not more than 300 words to Oyeniyi Bukola Adeyemi, formerly Ag Head, Department of History and International Relations, Redeemer’s University, Nigeria at firstname.lastname@example.org. Ensure to cc (send) a copy of the same Abstract to email@example.com on or before 15th April, 2009.
Oyeniyi Bukola Adeyemi
Dept of History,
University of Ibadan,
Nigeria Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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