Guinea-Bissau, Guinea and Sierra Leone: Tired of war | The Economist

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Guinea-Bissau, Guinea and Sierra Leone: Tired of war | The Economist.

“..What has changed to make Africa less violent? Three factors have played a part. First, after the end of the cold war two decades ago, America and Russia stopped propping up violent dictators simply to keep them out of each other’s clutches. At first this brought more conflict as strongmen like Congo’s Mobutu Sese Seko, an American protégé, fought for their lives, some with weapons from privatised Soviet armouries supplied by Viktor Bout, a Russian arms smuggler. But in the longer run lack of superpower support has deprived armies as well as rebels of the means to keep going.

Second, Western attitudes have changed. Europeans in particular no longer turn a blind eye to gross human-rights violations in Africa. The creation of the ICC in 2002 marked a shift toward liberal interventionism, both the legal and the armed kind. Norwegian officials played a key role in negotiating peace in Sudan. British troops shut down Sierra Leone’s war. Peacekeeping evolved into conflict prevention. The UN got better at intervening and at cleaning up afterwards. Disarmament campaigns, like the one in Sierra Leone, proved useful. A combined UN and African Union mission in Somalia started in 2007 made more progress than an American expeditionary force in 1993.

Third, some of Africa’s wars burned themselves out. Most are conducted within countries, since ethnic rivalry has been the most common cause of conflict. Civil wars usually end when one or both sides become exhausted, often after many years. Radicalised during the 1960s, even the hardiest rebels were tired by the turn of the century. When Jonas Savimbi, an Angolan guerrilla leader, was killed in 2002 after fighting for almost three decades, his men gave up. Political wounds have not necessarily healed but they are covered in scar tissue. Fighters as well as citizens grudgingly accept the status quo because they are sick of war; some of the time that is good enough…”


The world’s fastest-growing continent: Aspiring Africa | The Economist

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The world’s fastest-growing continent: Aspiring Africa | The Economist.

CELEBRATIONS are in order on the poorest continent. Never in the half-century since it won independence from the colonial powers has Africa been in such good shape. Its economy is flourishing. Most countries are at peace. Ever fewer children bear arms and record numbers go to school. Mobile phones are as ubiquitous as they are in India and, in the worst-affected countries, HIV infections have fallen by up to three-quarters. Life expectancy rose by a tenth in the past decade and foreign direct investment has tripled. Consumer spending will almost double in the next ten years; the number of countries with average incomes above $1,000 per person a year will grow from less than half of Africa’s 55 states to three-quarters.

Africans deserve the credit. Western aid agencies, Chinese mining companies and UN peacekeepers have done their bit, but the continent’s main saviours are its own people. ..

Africa Is More Stable than You’ve Been Led to Think – Jonathan Berman – Harvard Business Review

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Africa Is More Stable than You’ve Been Led to Think – Jonathan Berman – Harvard Business Review.

The recent political instability in Mali has cast a cloud of poor publicity over the economic and commercial rise of Africa, one of the few bright spots in the global economy. Press analysis has speculated whether political instability is endemic to Africa and likely to expand in the future. It’s an important point for the many companies, from GE to Unilever, that are turning to Africa for their next wave of growth…

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