The economics and political economy of conflict in Sub-Saharan Africa

The economics and political economy of conflict in Sub-Saharan Africa

After briefly reviewing the spread of conflicts in Sub-Saharan Africa and emphasising their diversity, this paper focuses chiefly on the literature on the costs of conflict and on the causes of conflict.

The main argument of the paper is that there is not a consensus in the literature, and that there is a vital need for much more research and analytical work. There are two aspects to this need

  • Firstly, we still do not know nearly enough about the origins and dynamics of conflict and, even more important, about the diversity of conflict origins, experiences and effects across Sub-Saharan Africa. The single greatest need here is for further individual and comparative case-study research.
  • Secondly, this paper has argued that the literature under review abounds with methodological tensions that are not sufficiently exposed and confronted. There is therefore a need for more work at the methodological level in terms of framing coherent analyses, generating alternative frameworks, etc.

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