Conflict and poverty in sub-Saharan Africa: an assessment of the issues and evidence

Conflict and poverty in sub-Saharan Africa: an assessment of the issues and evidence

The impacts of conflict and poverty on the most vulnerable in Sub-Saharan Africa

Armed conflict is arguably now the single most important determinant of poverty in Africa; certainly of the concentrated forms of poverty that develop when populations are displaced, livelihoods vanish and safety networks break down. Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) stands out from other developing regions in terms of the sheer number of conflicts, their persistence and the massive impact on the lives and livelihoods of civilians as well as combatants.

This paper argues that war and poverty are in a dynamic and mutually reinforcing relationship. It also argues that poverty has amplified conflict’s impact and made civilians more vulnerable, and in turn poverty and inequality remain among the major sources of conflict. More specifically, this paper discusses the nature and extent of conflict in SSA, the impact of conflict on poverty, macro effects and poverty, and sectoral, regional and social effects of conflict – including conflict and rural livelihoods, health, education and human capital. The paper concludes with a section on the implications for policy. [adapted from authors]

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