Africa and the Middle East are the two regions of the world with the highest conflict burden. Since the mid-1990s, Africa has gradually improved across all measurements of death and war (Figure 1). These positive changes are due to several factors, including greater regional cooperation, decreased intrastate wars, economic growth, and increased democratic governance.
The types of conflicts have also changed: from wars of independence, long term civil wars, and intrastate wars, conflicts are now due to weak governance structures and state presences which are exacerbated by religious and ethnic differences as well as to transnational crime and global governance failures.
Climate change is fundamentally altering the geographic landscape, forcing groups to share previously separate resources. While Africa is no longer ravaged by the famines that characterized the continent for much of the 20th century, access to food and other basics is still precarious. It is important for the policy community to recognize the positive changes in the African security situation and to reinforce the underlying trends leading to a more peaceful Africa.
*Gilles Olakounlé Yabi, President, WATHI