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close this bookWar and Famine in Africa (Oxfam, 1991, 36 p.)
close this folder4 Local conflict
View the document(introduction...)
View the document4.1 Conflict and resources
View the document4.2 Wars of subsistence
View the document4.3 Breaking the continuity

4.1 Conflict and resources

A shrinking resource-base has immediate implications for semi-subsistence groups who depend upon those resources for their physical existence. Environmental and resource questions can provide a useful context in which to discuss the growth of conflict and insecurity. In fact, a good deal of recent academic work has been carried out in this field (see Ulrich, 1989). Although the depletion of resources can be said to be an underlying and pervasive influence in many of the local conflicts and internal wars current in Africa, at a local level there are two other factors to consider. In the first place, local and inter-state warfare has a long (pre-colonial) history in Africa. Secondly, although resource questions may underlie conflict, at a more immediate level violence is also a means through which groups express their self-identity and political aspirations. This political and cultural dimension of conflict is of vital importance if one is to understand the dynamics of modern African warfare and its devastating effects.