Addis Ababa, Ethiopia - Sub-Saharan Africa has had 12 conflicts annually in the last two decades in which about 17,000 people lost their lives yearly as direct casualties, says a report launched Friday in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where African leaders are locked in a Summit.
Over the same period, the report says, there was a steady increase in non-state violence, involving contending armed groups or communal violence.
Though shorter and less deadly than State-based conflicts, non-State conflicts are both more common and more difficult to predict, the document noted, adding that, between 1989 and 2009, sub-Saharan Africa experienced 271 non-State conflicts, resulting in 60,000 direct casualties.
The report which was commissioned by the African Development Bank (AfDB) admits, however, that there is still much to learn about the conditions that can trigger conflict in Africa, as there is a growing body of evidence on the link between conflict and environmental pressures.
It states that conflict in Africa is not a static phenomenon, but constantly changes in response to shifts in the global geo-strategic environment and local conditions.
A 2011 study, quoted in the report, found a strong correlation between conflict and soil degradation in areas of high population density, and a connection between conflict and localised changes in rainfall.
“If environmental pressures are indeed a source of conflict, the risks will only increase with the impact of climate change,' it said, noting that there are also linkages between conflict and inequality.
Other studies have found that differences in welfare and access to economic resources among local groups increase the risks of localised violence, while marginalized groups lacking means to rebel against the state may contend with neighbours for access to resources.
Major political transitions, particularly transitions away from authoritarian rule, can also give rise to heightened conflict risk, while States in transition may lack the ability, willingness or legitimacy to constrain inter-group violence.
The report was prepared by a High-Level Panel on Fragile States in Africa (HLPFS) under the title “Ending Conflict.