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The SDGs and Conflicts in Africa

Recently the world adopted the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and this time round rumor has it that we are determined to end extreme poverty by 2030. I do not need to offer any specific reason why I refer to this as rumor, while it is official. But the SDGs are coming at a time when we people of Africa as seeing many more countries joining the poverty trap clubs. We are seeing more African countries enter into economic crisis.

How sustainable are SDGs? 

Zambia is struggling with an important economic crisis. If this trend continues in politically relatively stable countries like Zambia it is persuasive that the situation could be worse in countries in conflict, political instability and those facing security challenges. Think of Libya, Central Africa Republic, South Sudan, Somalia, Burundi etc. With the recent waves of insurgency, terror groups claiming allegiance to ISIS, cross border organized crime and so on, the so called SDGs may as well remain utopianism. We must tackle conflicts and insecurity. Prosperity comes when states are stable, when people can go about their business and create wealth. With rampant insecurity and conflicts across Africa I effectively and justifiably so reduce my optimism and expectations on what SDGs will afford for us in Africa. They may remain in the horizon, a faraway fence, far removed from the realities of our people and nations. 

Poverty and conflict 

There is a positive correlation between poverty and conflict. In tackling poverty, we must never ignore conflicts. The more reason I am always weary of the people who tell me, let us focus on development, forget about the ongoing conflicts and instances of instability and violence. We often get tempted to wish away conflict and succumb to the hope that conflict will just subside if and when we ignore them and focus on what in our view matters most 'development'. I am sorry we just may need to put more emphasis in ending conflicts and tackling challenges of instability, especially political instability in Africa for us to realize the SDGs. We must not think like President Yoweri Museveni that conflict and peace experts have no work to do. 

The SDGs and Conflicts in Africa The SDGs and Conflicts in Africa  Reviewed by Ibrahim Magara on December 16, 2015 Rating: 5

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