The African Jotter

Why has there been civil wars in most countries in Africa after independence?

My Answer To This Quora Question

Nation-building is an extremely difficult task. There are too many issues to be addressed, too many that could lead to divisions and too many that could lead to crisis.

civil wars in africa

A cursory look across the globe, you’ll easily discover that Civil Wars are no unique to Africa. Quite a lot of countries have witnessed Civil Wars at one time in their histories.

The US has witnessed a civil war; Britain has witnessed a civil war; France has witnessed all too many squabbles internally, but I like to view the French Revolution as the most important nation-building exercise in French history; Spain has witnessed a civil war; China has witnessed one too; Russia faced this in the first quarter of the 20th century; And a lot of Latin American countries have also faced Civil Wars. And all these had nearly the same themes.

Civil Wars Are Not Unique To Africa

So it’s not unique to Africa neither is it surprising to know that it has happened here. The only reason it seems like a really unusual issue is because Africa was the last continent freed from colonialism. The youngest (i.e independent) countries are mostly African. So if you say 4 in 5 civil wars in the last 50 years occurred in Africa, you won’t be wrong. But if you use that to conclude that Civil Wars are rampant in Africa then you are very mistaken.

Yet I can’t dismiss the fact that Africa Civil Wars are quite unfortunate. South Sudan got it’s independence recently, but a year later it fell into crisis, and subsequently a civil war. Every event that plunged that country to crisis were not unique by any stretch of the imagination. Tribal rivalry, personality clashes, outright parochialism and power struggles are not really breaking changes to the long list of known causes of civil wars.

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