Conflict Trends in Africa, 1946–2017

PRIO Paper

Bakken, Ingrid Vik & Siri Aas Rustad (2018) Conflict Trends in Africa, 1946–2017. PRIO Paper. Oslo: PRIO.

During the past six decades, the African continent has seen some very bloody conflicts, such as the Biafran War in Nigeria in the 60s and 70s, the Congo Wars in the 90s, as well as the Rwandan genocide and the Ethiopian and Eritrean war in 1999–2000, and the civil wars in Sierra Leone and Liberia.

The common view is that there are a vast number of conflicts in Africa, and in fact 2015 and 2016 were the two years with by far the most conflicts since 1946. However, as this paper reveals, when discussing conflict trends, simply looking at the number of conflicts is insufficient for gaining the full picture of conflict trends in Africa.

The aim of this paper is to describe the conflict trends in Africa, particularly since 1990, and to compare this to the global trends. Using conflict data from the Uppsala Conflict Data Program (UCDP), we consider three types of political violence: state-based conflicts, non-state conflicts and one-sided violence.

In addition to the general conflict trends over time and space, we also address some specific trends related to conflict: state failure and coups d’état, elections, and conflict incompatibility.

Read the 2018 update, Conflict Trends in Africa, 1989–2018: An Update

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