The future of intrastate conflict in Africa: More violence or greater peace?

In a new paper, Dr Cilliers and Dr Schünemann use the IFs model to analyse future trends for intrastate conflict in Africa up to 2050.

This paper analyses future trends for intrastate conflict in Africa up to 2050 using the International Futures (IFs) model.

After reviewing the main post-Cold War patterns of conflict and instability on the continent, the paper discusses seven key correlations associated with intrastate conflict in Africa. It then points to a number of reasons for the changing outlook, including the continued salience of various ‘structural’ conditions that drive intrastate violence even during rapid economic growth, recent improvements in human development alongside a strengthened regional and international conflict prevention, conflict resolution and peacebuilding regime.

Finally, the paper explores how multipolarity may impact on stability and forecasts trends for intrastate conflict in West, Southern, Horn/East and Central Africa.

The authors expect large-scale violence to continue its steady decline, although the risk of instability and violence is likely to persist, and even increase in some instances.

About the authors

Dr Jakkie Cilliers is the executive director and co-founder of the Institute for Security Studies. He is an Extraordinary Professor in the Centre of Human Rights and the Department of Political Sciences, Faculty of Humanities at the University of Pretoria. He also serves on the International Advisory Board of the Geneva Centre for Security Policy and as a member of the board of advisers of the Center for International Conflict Resolution, Columbia University, New York.

Dr Julia Schünemann is a senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies, where she leads the African Futures Project. Her research interests relate to statebuilding, fragility, conflict prevention, early warning and African futures. She holds a PhD in international relations from Madrid’s Complutense University, Spain, and an MA in communication, political science and economics from the Ludwig Maximilian University, Munich, Germany.

This paper was launched by the ISS in Addis Ababa on the fringes of the AU Summit. The paper will also be launched in Washington DC at the Center for Strategic and International Studies on 30 May 2013.

Media coverage of this paper:

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Development partners
The research and publication of this paper were made possible with funding from the Open Society Foundation for South Africa, the government of Finland and the Hanns Seidel Foundation. The ISS is also grateful for the support of the following core partners: the governments of Norway, Sweden, Australia and Denmark.
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