Structural pressures and political instability: trajectories for sub-Saharan Africa

Understanding the nature and course of structural pressures is key for conflict prevention, development and peacebuilding.

Structural drivers of instability
©Institute for Security Studies

Sub-Saharan Africa faces many structural pressures that increase the risk of political instability and violent conflict. Understanding the nature and trajectories of structural pressures is key for conflict prevention, development and peacebuilding. Using five models of instability and the International Futures system, this report finds that the risk from demographics and poor development has eased and will reduce further. Anocratic regimes pose the greatest challenge to stability, and horizontal inequalities are likely to continue to fuel grievances.

About the authors

Julia Bello-Schünemann is a senior researcher for the African Futures and Innovation programme at the ISS. She has consulted on peace and security, providing policy advice to the EU and UNDP, among others.

Jonathan D Moyer is assistant professor at the University of Denver’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies, and director of the Frederick S Pardee Center for International Futures, home of the International Futures model.

Picture: ©Amelia Broodryk/ISS

Development partners
This report was produced for the Political Settlements Research Programme, funded by UK Aid from the UK Department for International Development (DFID). The views expressed and information contained in it are not necessarily those of, or endorsed by, DFID, which can accept no responsibility for such views or information or for any reliance placed on them. The ISS is grateful for support from the ISS Partnership Forum: the European Union and the governments of Australia, Canada, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United States. The Frederick S Pardee Center is grateful for model construction support from the Minerva Initiative.
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