W. Ascher and N. Mirovitskaya, Eds. 2013. the Economic Roots of Conflict and Cooperation in Africa: Politics, Economics and Inclusive Development

By Nciizah, Elinah | African Studies Quarterly, September 2015 | Go to article overview

W. Ascher and N. Mirovitskaya, Eds. 2013. the Economic Roots of Conflict and Cooperation in Africa: Politics, Economics and Inclusive Development


Nciizah, Elinah, African Studies Quarterly


W. Ascher and N. Mirovitskaya, eds. 2013. The Economic Roots of Conflict and Cooperation in Africa: Politics, Economics and Inclusive Development. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. 276 pp.

Conflict is a perennial problem in Africa. The dire need to assuage conflict should not be undermined. When attempting to alleviate conflict, finding root causes of conflict should be the prerequisite. Whilst most pieces of work illuminate the root causes of conflict from a largely economic, ethnic, and external factor perspective, this well-designed volume, and a must read for development practitioners, brings in a fresh paradigm and perspective with regards to the approach of Africa's internecine conflicts as being based upon development strategies. It demonstrates the close link between the development strategies that a government implements and the escalation or de-escalation of group violence. The volume falls in line with the works of Paul Collier and Amartya Sen, among others, who have explained conflict occurrence in Africa. The volume consists of a Preface and ten chapters chronologically and logically presented. This multi-authored volume presents a concoction of case studies derived from the length and breadth of the African continent. The chapters are bound by a central theme that illustrates the close relationship between development strategies and intergroup violence. Focusing on eleven African countries, the volume explores the development strategies that have been implemented in relation to violence.

The first chapter by William Ascher and Natalia Mirovitskaya provides an introduction emphasizing the need to frame the richness of the linkages between development strategies and conflict. They argue that governments are not neutral entities and so are affiliated with other groups making the likelihood of development-related violence higher. Robert L Tignor and Clement Henry look at North Africa in Chapter 2 and 3 respectively. While Tignor gives an account of Egypt, Henry provides a comparative analysis of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia.

They both allude to the fact that the Arab Spring revealed the need for development strategies that encompass inclusive growth as exclusion leads to mayhem.

Chapter four by Nzinga Broussard is on Ethiopia. The Agricultural Development-Led Industrialization (ADLI) policy, which was launched by the Ethiopian government, resulted in the urban sector being side-lined and feeling excluded from the economic process leading to violence and protest. Michael Lofchie's review of Tanzania explains how the country, despite its tremendous ethno-linguistic diversity and poor economic performance, has long demonstrated deep-rooted peace. Authoritarian rule in Tanzania enabled the government to eliminate any opposition, thereby promoting a unity despite ethnic differences. …

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