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Working Paper 73 - Economic and Political Causes of Civil Wars in Africa: Some Econometric Results


Since the end of the Cold War, civil war has become the predominant form of violence globally (Wallensteen and Sollenberg, 2000; de Soysa, 2001; Collier and Hoeffler, 2002). For example, of the 25 major armed conflicts listed by the Stocholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) in 2000, all except two were internal. Also, all of the 15 most deadly conflicts in 2001— those that caused 100 or more deaths—were internal conflicts. Indeed, all but 3 of 57 major armed conflicts registered for 1990–2001 were internal. Unfortunately, in SIPRI’s 2000 Yearbook, it was stated that “…Africa is the most conflict ridden region of the World and the only region in which the number of armed conflicts is on the increase” (SIPRI, 2000). Again, in its 2002 Yearbook, SIPRI stated that “Africa continued to be the region with the greatest number of conflicts” (see also Figure 1). These domestic conflicts pose a serious threat to economic development, especially for these poor African countries. Empirical works have shown that conflicts can tear down levels of economic development that took decades to achieve. Also, for a long time after their termination the spin-offs of conflicts continue to limit economic growth (Collier 1998).

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