Major Flaws in Conflict Prevention Policies towards Africa. The Conceptual Deficits of International Actors’ Approaches and How to Overcome Them
Current thinking on African conflicts suffers from misinterpretations (oversimplification, lack of focus, lack of conceptual clarity, state- centrism and lack of vision). The paper analyses a variety of the dominant explanations of major international actors and donors, showing how these frequently do not distinguish with sufficient clarity between the ‘root causes’ of a conflict, its aggravating factors and its triggers. Specifically, a correct assessment of conflict prolonging (or sustaining) factors is of vital importance in Africa’s lingering confrontations. Broader approaches (e.g. “structural stability”) offer a better analytical framework than familiar one-dimensional explanations. Moreover, for explaining and dealing with violent conflicts a shift of attention from the nation-state towards the local and sub-regional level is needed.
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