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date: 16 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

During the past 50 years Africa has experienced high levels of violent conflict. Historically, African wars have not led to state formation but have been destructive in character. Resulting weak states have found it difficult to deter rebellions. Since the end of the Cold War the number of conflicts has declined worldwide but Africa has not followed the global trend. Predictions suggest that African conflict levels will remain high. This chapter examines the commonly cited causes of violent conflict, such as historical, geographic, demographic and economic factors. One conclusion is that there is no evidence for an African exceptionalism: the global models explain the African experience; there is no need for an Africa-specific model.

Keywords: violent conflict, civil war, state capacity, state formation, ethnicity, poverty, grievances

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