Conflicts Undermining Central Africa’s Growth

source: aljazeera
11

Peace is a natural partner to economic growth, something the Central African sub-region will need to get a grip on as it struggles to lift its population out of poverty. Over the last decade, the region has seen the worsening of old conflicts and the birth of new ones, with many of them crossing over borders and undermining trade. An issue that is refusing to go away is Boko Haram. On December 24th, 2020, this terrorist organization attacked four islands located on the border between Cameroon and Lake Chad, killing 27 people and kidnapping 12. Terrorist attacks and subsequent military interventions have led to the disruption of economic activities around what should originally be a vibrant and strategic area. Cameroon, which has struggled to contain Boko Haram since 2014, has also been wrestling with the Anglophone Crisis for over four years now. The civil war began when Ambazonian separatists started to protest for the restoration of independence, and the Cameroonian government used lethal forces in response. This has displaced over 700,000 civilians and forced 63,800 others across the border to Nigeria. Moreover, cross-border trade with Nigeria is highly important for Cameroon, but most of it happens on roads that are now inaccessible to traders due to the ongoing crisis. Cameroon is also struggling to accommodate refugees from the Central African Republic, which is another perennial conflict. Elections have mostly kept incumbents in power in Cameroon, Gabon, the Republic of the Congo, and the Central African Republic, but things have worsened in Chad with the killing of former President Idriss Deby, who had been in power for 30 years. The region is also rife with foreign influence from France, the European Union (EU), China, the US, and Russia, which all have competing interests in the area. Moving forward, Central African countries will have to listen to the concerns of their citizens, especially the young generations who want to be on par with their contemporaries around the world. Only when all the root causes of internal and cross-national conflicts have been addressed will people feel free to move around to boost trade and the economy. Stay Connected with Export Portal #ExportPortal #Africagrowth #conflict #development

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