During the past two decades, the African continent has registered impressive economic growth, which qualified it for the designation one of the fastest growing regions in the world. The impressive economic growth would not have been possible, without an equally remarkable progress in economic and political governance, as well as improvements in the peace and security, accompanied with a considerable reduction in the magnitude and scale of violent conflicts. This commendable progress has however remained unsustainable and in some instances, potentially reversible. Consider for example, the Great Lakes and the Horn of Africa, which have witnessed violent and intractable conflicts, and as yet to emerge as fully stable and peaceful despite long years of regional and global mediation, peacekeeping and peace building efforts.
Notwithstanding the progress made thus far, new conflicts emerged along the Sahel Belt parts of the Horn of Africa, led by relatively new actors, vying to combine conventional and non-conventional warfare, targeting innocent civilians. Overall, the persistence of conflicts in some parts of the continent has had far reaching implications on the continent’s aspirations to achieving socio-economic transformation and sustainable development. The leadership of the continent, at all levels, has been acutely aware of the constraints conflicts and associated instability have continued to impose on development efforts, including the negative on efforts to actualize the continent’s long-term development and transformation agenda embodied in Agenda 2063.
It is against this background and within the framework of the longstanding strategic partnership between the African Union (AU) and the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), that ECA has undertaken an in-depth research and analyses of the root causes of conflicts in some regions of the continent. The research focused particularly, on the Great Lakes, the Sahel and the Horn of Africa with an allied aim of assessing the cost and consequences of conflict on development. It also aims at the broader African continent, including on its transformative agenda. In addition to contributing to the discourse on the nexus between conflict and development, it is envisioned that these studies would also assist in the articulation of clear strategies and policy recommendations that would contribute to ongoing regional, continental and global efforts to entrench long-term peace and stability on the continent, which is critical for sustainable economic growth and socio-economic transformation.
The Horn of Africa, the Great Lakes and New Fringe Pastoralism Reports are chosen because on the one hand, it has been an arc and a theatre of intractable conflict over decades. A deliberate and conscious decision was therefore made for the studies to focus on analyzing and unpacking the root causes of conflict and their developmental impact, with the ultimate goal of deepening understanding of the causes of war and informing strategies towards enduring solutions to conflicts in Africa and in particular these three regions. The Governance and Human Security Cluster of ECA’s budding Capacity Development Division (CDD) was charged with the responsibility to execute this very important assignment, within the framework of the Division’s mandate to provide focused and coherent capacity development support to member states and Pan-African institutions such as the African Union.
In achieving the objectives of its broad conflict and development research programmes, ECA is organizing a High level policy Dialogue, in order to share the findings of the knowledge generated during the last three years. It is hoped that this High-Level Policy Dialogue create an opportunity for RECs and countries to access and internalize the knowledge contained in the Reports and exchange experience pertaining to their own strategies and policy responses to the nexus between conflict and development. More specifically, the objectives of the High level are as follows:
- Provide new insights on the root causes of conflict and its impact on development as well as human and economic cost;
- Engender greater appreciation of the nexus between conflict and development, particularly the constraints that conflicts impose on the Sahel region., particularly in the frontline states;
- Facilitate the exchange of views and country experiences (successes, challenges and lessons) in the design and implementation of policies on the impact and cost of conflict on development within and outside of Africa;
- Engage e subject matter experts in the fields of conflict and development, peace and security, permanent secretaries and foreign affairs ministries to exchange experiences and knowledge on the current development in peace-building in some of the troubled regions of the continent;
- Inform the potential for undertaking tailored context-specific and cross-country advisory services based on the outcome of the discussions; and
- Serve as a platform for rebuilding a Pan-African network at the most senior policy and technical levels on conflict and development
The deliberations and discussions during the High Level Policy Dialogue will be structured around the substance of the findings of the study. It adopts interactive sessions allowing for an engaged and critically constructive discussions on the findings of the studies and the experiences of the stakeholders. This Dialogue will be co-hosted by the Peace and Security Division of the IGAD secretariat.
The participants at this High Level Policy Dialogue, include representatives from IGAD member states, staff members of IGAD Secretariat, Special envoys, members of the Peace and Security Council of the Africa Union, as well as select numbers of experts, academia, think tanks, research institutions, UN agencies and development partners.
For more information, please contact:
Mr. Jalal Abdel-Latif
Governance and Human Security Cluster
Capacity Development Division, ECA
Tel: + 251-11- 544 3367
Zewditu Befekadu (Ms.)
Capacity Development Division. ECA
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Tel: (251) 11 5 44 5785