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Africa Overview

The African continent has an unfortunate reputation of conflict and catastrophe such as droughts, famine, genocide, disease and extreme political precariousness. African conflicts frequently feature the direct involvement of neighboring countries, the enlistment of child soldiers and atrocities against civilians such as rape by parties involved in conflicts.

Many nations in Africa have struggled to establish stable governments since achieving independence in the 1950’s and 60’s. Many nations would suffer from civil wars with inconceivable fatalities and millions of people fleeing battle zones for refuge: Angola, Somalia, Liberia, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly know as Zaire); others would spend most of their independent years, national wealth and energy fighting each other: Eritrea/Ethiopia, Chad/Libya and Cameroon/Nigeria; other nations' faced genocide and ethnic cleansing: Rwanda, Burundi and Sudan; and a final group was embroiled in persistent civil disturbances or insurgencies: Algeria, Angola, Namibia and Nigeria.

Numerous reasons explain the susceptibility of the continent to civil wars: notably, the  legacy of western colonialism, political and economic corruption, the in-existence or the lack of respect for the rule of law, basic human right violations, the proliferation of access to weapons, the support and armament of the continent's dictatorships during and after the Cold War Era and formerly warring tribal kingdoms now forced under a unified flag after the arbitrary drawing of lines through and around their land. Although some researchers, practitioners and experts of the region do not agree on all of the above mentioned incentives, they all seem to acknowledge that the continent's rich natural resources serve to both fund and incite conflict.