South Africa – Drive for Offshore Resources

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South Africa’s mineral heavy economy turns to the ocean in search of new economic opportunities, to the dismay of local communities

Coal recently overtook gold as the leading contributor to South African GDP;  in 2014 coal stood at South African Rand (R) 101.05bn (US$8.319bn), platinum group metals and iron ore at R58.7bn ($4.81bn) and gold at R46.8bn ($3.83bn). Xavier Prévost, Senior Coal Analyst at XMP Consulting, said “coal (is the most important commodity for the future of South Africa’s economy) because it is our source of energy. Without it the whole country will be paralysed”.

As part of the National Development Plan South Africa is planning to turn to its 3m sq km of oceans as a source of economic return, to create an estimated 1m jobs and R177bn worth of economic product. The plan focuses on a number of key areas; offshore oil and gas, aquaculture, marine transport and manufacture, and marine protection services, largely looking for large-scale industrial investment from the private sector, reported the Mail & Guardian Africa.

This new drive towards offshore resources is being catalysed by Operation Phakisa, which is heavily steered by the Government Mineral Resources Department and PetroSA, the countries national oil producer, and  will be involved in granting mining and exploration licenses. With the recent expansion of the South African marine area from 370km to 650km from the shore, the government is now fast tracking 30 deep-water exploration wells, although to date from 300 wells drilled no significant reserves have been found.

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Offshore Drillship Deep Ocean Ascension off Cape Town. CC 2010

Phakisa, from the Sesotho word meaning “hurry up”, has been hailed to “fast track the implementation of solutions on critical development issues”. However for the Mining Affected Communities United in Action (MACUA), which represents 100 communities through 70 organisation, the operation is just a “a fast tracking of the killings of our people and continued environmental destruction as it puts profit before the people”, reported South African community journalism network Groundup.

As a result of global shortages and rising national demand the focus on more ‘unconventional mining’ is increasing; in a recent National Biodiversity Assessment, the South African National Biodiversity Institute said that this type of mining is increasingly necessary and applications are growing. Ventures that carry particular risks include the awarding of three prospecting permits for offshore phosphate licenses, which uses machines to break up the ocean floor. A valuable insight into the developments and environmental hazards from offshore mining activities can be in this Greenpeace Technical Report.

The main opponents to proposed offshore resources extraction are the hundreds of thousands of local fishing communities that rely on the South African waters as their primary livelihood, whose main concern is the threat to fishing stocks from pollution, disasters, increased traffic and other environmental disturbances. Commentators, critical of Operation Phakisa, have in the light of the often violent and destructive nature of the mining industry,  instead advocated Operation Bhekisisa – Sesotho for look closely.

Find out more in the Africa Research Bulletin

Gold: South Africa
Economic, Financial & Technical Series
Vol.53, Issue.2, Pp.20756C-20757A

South Africa: Shrinking Economy
Economic, Financial & Technical
Vol.51, Issue.5, Pp.20403A-20404c

South Africa: Platinum Strike Rumbles On
Economic, Financial & Technical Series
Vol.51, Issue.2, Pp.20309A-20310A

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Morocco – Western Sahara: Africa’s Last Colony?

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Occupation of the Western Sahara continues as international bodies urge for the self determination of Saharawi peoples

The resource-rich Western Sahara has been occupied by Morocco since the withdrawal of Spanish colonisers in 1975; an autonomy movement,  the People’s Liberation Front of Saguia al-Hamra and Rio de Oro (Polisario Front), has expressed long-standing claims to an independent territory.

In 1976, after the Spanish exit, the Polisario Front declared the region as the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR). However following negotiations with Spain, Morocco controversially decided to occupy the Western Sahara even though it contradicted recommendations from the International Court of Justice and United Nations (UN) Declarations on the Independence of Colonial Countries and Peoples. A fifteen-year guerilla war followed, until a UN-brokered peace deal in 1991 and the establishment of the UN Mission for the Referendum of the Western Sahara (MINURSO).

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Currently up to 165,000 Saharawis, an ethnic grouping populating the Western Sahara and parts of Morocco, Algeria and Mauritania, live in refugee camps in the Algerian border region of Tindouf. Within the liberated zone of the Western Sahara, an area claimed by the Polisario Front, around 30,000 live in a stretch of land divided from the western Moroccan controlled region by the Berm, a 2,700km wall twelve times the length of the Berlin Wall, behind which is one of the world’s largest minefields and thousands of Moroccan soldiers.

Morocco has exploited the phosphate rich land, some of the world’s best fishing and has also exported sand from Western Sahara  to build up beaches on the Canary Islands.  Algerian Prime-minister, Abdelmalek Sellal, described the Western Sahara as a region that continues to suffer from the “horrors of colonialism from another age”, adding that “Africa’s decolonisation remains unfinished”, reported the official news agency of the SADR, the Sahara Press Service.

The UN recognises  the right to self determination for the Saharawi people, Morocco however only  offers the status of an autonomous region within its sovereignty; this has been rejected by Polisario who insist on the right to determine their own future in a UN-monitored referendum.

The Moroccan government has been accused of “unethical tactics” in a recent leaked UN report documenting how Moroccan authorities intercepted internal UN communications and made large donations to the UN Office for the High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR), lobbying to cancel fact-finding missions, reported UK-based the Guardian.

Earlier in 2015, despite comments from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, the African Union (AU) and Human Rights Watch (HRW), the UN Security Council voted to renew the MINURSO mission without a human rights mandate, the only UN mission to do so, prompting widespread dismay. In response to allegations of human rights violations and cover ups, the Moroccan government has repeatedly reiterated its “long-standing commitment to human rights”, cited the Guardian

A statement by the President of the SADR and Secretary General of the Polisario Front, Mohamed Abdelaziz, called for the release of Saharawi prisoner Salah Lebsir, other political prisoners held in Moroccan prisons and accountability for at least 600 Saharawis missing since the beginning of the occupation; “we call on the UN to assume its full responsibility to ensure the safety and protection of the rights of Saharawi citizens in the occupied territories, and create an effective UN mechanism to monitor and report violations of human rights in Western Sahara”, reported the Sahara Press Service.

According to Issandr el-Amrani, North Africa analyst for the International Crisis Group (ICG), cited by Al-Jazeera, “the risk of losing Western Sahara, let’s say by accepting a referendum for self-determination, is too great for the monarchy to take”. However no country in the world recognises Morocco’s territorial claim, and a significant number of countries now officially recognise the SADR.

Find out more in the Africa Research Bulletin

Western Sahara: Renewed Violence
Political, Social & Cultural Series
Vol.47, Issue.11, Pp.18603A-18605C

Algeria-Morocco: War of Words
Political, Social & Cultural Series
Vol.50, Issue.11, Pp.19911B-19912C

Algeria-Morocco: Bone of Contention
Political, Social & Cultural Series
Vol.51, Issue.11, Pp.20342A
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Africa – ‘Indigenous’ Crops and Food Security

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Research suggests that the potential contribution of native crops to African food security could be huge.

The answers to problems of food insecurity and malnutrition in Africa are often seen, by organisations such as the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and international agribusiness companies, as lying with new highly developed crop varieties. However an article published by Nature explores a different avenue which looks at the abundance of ‘indigenous’ crops grown across the country, often overlooked by seed companies and researchers as lagging behind in terms of productivity and quality

The article explains how in some urban areas such as Nairobi these food crops are now becoming more popular; Kenyan farmers increased the area used to grow such crops by 25% between 2011 and 2013, and they are increasingly available in markets.

Mary Abukutsa-Onyango, a horticultural researcher at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in Juja, Kenya said that “in Africa, malnutrition is such a problem. We want to see indigenous vegetables play a role”; Abukutsa began surveying and collecting Kenya’s indigenous plants in the early 1990s.

It is hoped that more emphasis on indigenous foods, those that are well adapted for a particular climate and environment, rather than foreign plants that often are less nutritious and take large external inputs to be successfully grown, can contribute to some degree towards food security and improved nutrition in Africa.

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CC 2009

The large majority of vegetables being studied in East Africa are leafy greens such as the African Nightshade, Amaranth Leaves and the Spider Plant; such plants according to Abukutsa can be important sources of protein; “some people just live on vegetables, and they cannot maybe afford meat.”

The US National Research Council (NRC) in the 1990s convened a panel to explore the potential of Africa’s ‘lost crops‘, chaired by renowned researcher Norman Borlaug. It concluded that native plants held huge potential to improve food security and nutritional intake across Africa. Today in Nairobi the World Agroforestry Centre is studying more than 3,000 indigenous fruit species finding nutritional, drought-tolerant and pest and disease resistant characteristics.

However these crops are not subject to the same standards as modern farming and are not genetically designed for a maximisation of yield or uniformity in seed. Some commentators have said that efforts to genetically improve these crops, while possibly increasing yields, could eliminate many other benefits, as would incorporating these crops into monoculture-type systems.

Important research into the potential of ‘native crops’ as well as the performance of low-input agriculture is  increasingly being conducted in Africa; in Ethiopia Dr Melaku Worede, having previously held positions in the Ministry of Agriculture, has made an invaluable contribution to the genetic research and food sovereignty in the country, establishing the Genetic Resource Centre in Addis-Ababa, the first gene-bank in Africa, now known as the Institute for Biodiversity Conservation. A film documenting his work is available here.

Elsewhere the African Biodiversity Network, a regional network of individuals and organisations working towards socio-economic and ecological problems facing the continent, is also conducting important work relating to genetic diversity, indigenous food crops and food sovereignty.

Find out more in the Africa Research Bulletin:

East African Community: Climate Smart Agriculture
Economic, Financial & Technical Series
Vol.51, Issue. 9, Pp.20550A-20550C

Food Security
Economic, Financial & Technical Series
Vol.50, Issue.2, Pp.19889A-19889B

Women in Africa
Economic, Financial & Technical Series
Vol.49, Issue.10, Pp.19743B-19743C

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Benin – Important Political Juncture

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Accusations of corruption are increasingly levied against the West African nation in a period of important democratic elections.

On April 26th parliamentary elections took place in Benin with President Thomas Boni Yayi‘s ruling Cowrie Forces for an Emergent Benin (FCBE) gaining a narrow victory of 33 out of 83 seats at the National Assembly, a drop of 8 seats from the previously held parliament.

The FCBE were followed by the Unite the Nation party at 13 seats, the Democratic Renewal Party (PRD) at 10 seats, the Alliance of the Benin-Renaissance and Revival Party (RB-PR) at 7 seats, alongside many other smaller parties.

As voting went under-way President Yayi insisted that he would leave after his mandate expires next year and he has completed his second term, although opponents have alleged a secret attempt to reform the constitution and remove presidential term limits, report Reuters. In 2008, Yayi appointed a technical committee to review the country’s 1990 constitution and presented the Constitutional Amendment Bill to parliament for debate one year later.

The president claims that the amendment will “restore the rule of law, reinforce Benin’s democracy, and solidify the country’s economic development” while opponents claim that it is part of his bid to break the presidential term limits, reported Xinhua news service.

A survey carried out by the AfroBarometer Research Network postulated that three out of four Benin nationals were opposed to the proposed constitutional amendments, showing that the majority (90%) of the public felt the review should not touch on presidential terms and age, but should rather strengthen parliament’s role to check the executive.

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(CC US Department of Agriculture 18/5/2012)

According to the Institute for Security Studies (ISS) Benin is currently in an important political period, with parliamentary elections already held, upcoming local, municipal and communal elections, and  presidential elections scheduled for 2016.

However the postponement of municipal, communal and local elections has been extended to June 28th, originally scheduled for May 31st after a lengthy delay since 2013. According to President of the National Electoral Commission Emmanuel Tiando,  this was in order to correct some irregularities in the April 26th parliamentary elections.

Following independence Benin, then called Dahomey, experienced a unstable period of military Marxist rule between 1972-1990 until in 1990 a ‘Democratic Renewal’ process was put into place and a constitution was established. An ISS report on Benin identified some issues hanging over the elections, such as the postponement of local and municipal elections from 2013, socio-political tensions and President’s Yayi’s possible bid for a third term.

Other recent events have added to the pressure and scrutiny mounted on President Yayi in recent months; on May 14th Benin’s Minister for Energy and Water, Bethelemy Kassa, resigned over an ongoing corruption scandal involving millions of dollars of Dutch financial aid going missing, leading to the suspension of aid by the Netherlands.

Dutch Ambassador Jos Van Aggelen said that “the Dutch government is aware of the consequences that this decision will have on the population in Benin given the progress made in recent years…but we cannot tolerate resources being made available to Benin being managed in this way”, reported Reuters.

Money has also been spent on projects that were not part of the agreement; the Netherlands government stated that they “would like to offer the people of Benin a better future by carrying out effective programmes…but if it transpires that government institutions are seriously failing, then we have to take steps” quoted Dutch News.

Meanwhile, on May 6th Benin security forces surrounded the Canal 3 television station in Cotonou, the commercial capital, as opposition members including Candide Azannai, a prominant critic of President Yayi, tried to deliver televised statements, according to Bloomberg Business.

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Benin is often held as an example of democratic progress in Africa and in 2014 the World Bank cited a “robust” growth rate of 5.5% in 2014, largely due to the efficiency of Cotonou port and a rise in crop production.

During the 2014/15 season cotton output rose by 28% to 393,000 tonnes and it is forecast to reach 500,000 tonnes next season. Cotton is one of Benin’s top exports, employs around 70% of its 10 million population, and has contributed some CFA Francs 200 billion to state revenue according to Agriculture Minister Issa El Hadj Azizou, cited by Reuters.

However despite this the World Bank claims poverty levels have not decreased significantly and there are risks of protest and violence in the wake to the proposed  constitutional arrangements.

In  a relevant comparison, Blaise Compaoré, ex-President of Burkina Faso, called for a presidential term limit referendum in 2014, spurring protesters onto the streets. Before the vote on October 30th 2014 protesters stormed the National Assembly and called for Compaoré’s resignation, who subsequently fled to Cote D’Ivoire, and protesters refused to leave the streets until a civilian leader was installed.

Find out more in the Africa Research Bulletin:

Benin: Coup Arrests
Political, Social & Cultural Series
Vol.50, Issue.3, Pp.19633A-19633C

Benin: Cabinet Dismissed
Political, Social & Cultural Series
Vol.50, Issue.8, Pp.19805A-19806B

Benin: Presidential Poll
Political, Social & Cultural Series
Vol.43, Issue.3, Pp.16570A-16571C

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Mali – Land Deal Stalls

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Huge land deal halted following regional political instability and security issues, leaving thousands of local families with uncertain futures

In 2008 exiled Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure signed a highly secretive lease with the then-president of Libya, Muammar Gaddafi, for a 100,000 hectare area of fertile agricultural land in the Office of Niger region, in the north of the country. The deal was granted to Malibya, a subsidiary of Libyan wealth fund the Libyan African Investment Portfolio, reported Reuters.

The agreement purported that the land would be provided rent free for 50 years and include water rights “without restriction” between June and December, on the condition that the Libyan  government constructed agreed agro-industrial infrastructure such as canals and roads, and cultivated the land across the region.

The Director of the Malibya project, Abdalilah Youssef, explained in a report by think-tank the Oakland Institute that the project will ensure food security for Libya in conjunction with, not at the expense of Mali; providing higher yields with the introduction of hybrid rice varieties, employment to local populations and facilitating resettlement for those displaced.

However  following Gaddafi’s demise in Libya and increasing regional security troubles, the project stalled.  Currently the tens of thousands of families cultivating the land are facing uncertain futures and according to Malian representatives whether the concession goes ahead or not is a decision for the Libyan government to take.

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Thomson Reuters Foundation (April 29 2015)

The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) claims that family farmers  produce roughly 80% of the world’s food. Within the Malibya concession an estimated 60,000 small farmers live and work, each farming less than a hectare. Many of the farmers do not have formal deeds to the land they farm and while in principle Malian law recognises customary tenure, many of the locals said they were not consulted ahead of the deal.

Many commentators have highlighted the secrecy surrounding the deal and its potential negative consequences for the food security of local populations and the Malian nation. The critical perception has been fuelled by the lack of Environment and Social Impact Assessments (EIA & SIA), with suspicions that none were ever commissioned.

Additionally, critics have claimed that considering the prevalence of droughts over the last three decades, it is surprising that the contract provided investors with access to water “without restrictions” between June and December. A local Malian farmer, cited by Reuters, said “how can they guarantee water for foreigners and not us Malian people…it’s already difficult for us to survive.”

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The Oakland Institute observe that the contract does not require produce grown to be bought and sold within the country  and the hybrid rice originally selected was “not suited to the domestic market due to quality and taste” according to Office of Niger officials.  SEXAGON, a local farmers union, claims that when the region is transformed in to export-oriented region local people will lose both their lands and livelihoods.

A study commissioned by Sweden’s Lund University claimed that around 32 million hectares of land globally had been traded in similar land deals up to 2012, part of a trend that is evident across much of the African continent and ‘developing world’ as large scale investors buy land as a strategic asset at the expense of small-scale landowners and food producers who have cultivated the land for many hundreds of years.

A representative from the Regional Platform of Farmers Organisations of Central Africa, Alangeh Romanus Che, said that investment should be directed at farmers rather than the acquisition of land; “all farmers depend on land as their principal capital, any denial of this access will impact negatively on farmers,” cited the Guardian.

A number of other examples:

In 2009 the Mozambican government signed a deal with Korean based conglomerate Daewoo Group for a 1.5 million hectare stretch for fifteen years. This deal fell through due to widespread public backlash, unsurprising as it was equivalent to almost half of the country’s arable land.

In 2013 the Guardian reported that the UK was the third largest investor in land in Africa at 1,193,433 hectares, behind the USA at 4,334,134 , United Arab Emirates (UAE) at 2,794,121 and Saudi Arabia at 1,307,912. In terms of amounts of land, the UK holds its majority in Sierra Leone at 692,606 ha; the largest being the Whitestone Charles Anderson investment with 525,000 ha.

On May 8th 2015 Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe met Russian President Vladimir Putin as part of talks over a proposed US$ 4 billion Darwendale Platinum Mining Deal. The project is a joint venture between the Zimbabwean military through Pen East Mining Company and Russian investors including VI Holdings, Rostec and Vnesheconombank. The special mining lease will grant the Russians exemption from paying corporate taxes and royalties for a five-year period.

Online public database on land deals, Land Matrix, provides useful visual data and analysis.

Find out more in the Africa Research Bulletin

Mali: Emerging from Crisis, Bracing for Hunger
Economic, Financial & Technical Series
Vol.51, Issue.2, Pp.20307c-20308A

South Africa: Controversial Land Reform Plans
Economic, Financial & Technical Series
Vol.52, Issue.2, Pp.20739c-20740c

Zimbabwe: Land Reform Blunder
Economic, Financial & Technical Series
Vol.52, Issue. 2, Pp. 20740c-20742c

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Ethiopia: Impressive Growth, Exclusive Development

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As the government seeks to maintain high growth rates, forced relocations cause widespread anger and levels of human development remain low.

The 2015 National Human Development Report, launched  by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) at the United Nations Economic Commission of Africa (UNECA), indicates that Ethiopia has seen some of the highest economic growth rates over the last 15 years but has not encouraged widespread inclusive development, being ranked at 174 out of 187 on the UNDP Human Development Index (HDI).

Africa’s oldest independent state and second most populous nation has marked itself as amongst the continents top performing economies after being amassed in a discourses  of poverty and conflict in the 1990s, largely propagated by the international media.

Between 2003 and 2013 growth rates in Ethiopia averaged around 10.9%, with the most recent estimates in 2012/13 revealing a GDP growth rate of 9.7%; the country was the 12th fastest growing economy in 2012 indicates the UNDP report. The government has set out aims to make Ethiopia a middle income country by 2025, investing in economic and social infrastructure, public services, tax collection systems, and small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

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Catalysing this growth, according to the UNDP report, has been strategic policy decisions aided by political stability, weather conditions, high levels of foreign direct investment amongst reforms to economic activities, trade and public sector management, with the government prioritising development in agriculture and industry.

At the launch of the report the atmosphere was dominated by the defensiveness of the government in the wake of UNDP conclusions that while growth has contributed to reduced poverty levels, the absolute number of people in poverty has remained largely unchanged over the last 15 years, due to high population growth. Development has concentrated on certain socio-economic groupings, according to the Addis Fortune, who explained that “Ethiopia has attained success in providing access to more, but not necessarily better quality, social services”.

Outside observers have criticised the state-led development strategy, particularly the forced removal of local populations to make way for industries needed to support continued growth. Recent work on the Gibe III Dam has seen communities living around Lake Turkana in southern Ethiopia predict widespread conflict as the dam reduces water levels and increases competition for scarce resources, report UK-based the Guardian.

Ethiopia’s state agricultural development strategy has been characterised by a ‘villagisation’ programme facilitating the removal of indigenous communities from areas reserved for large scale development. A report entitled ‘Ignoring Abuse in Ethiopia: DFID and USAID in the Lower Omo Valley‘ produced by international advocacy group the Oakland Institute, explores the forced removal of populations in the name of development in Ethiopia.  .

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Omo River Valley (CC 2013)

Such disparities in economic and human development are surprising considering recent praise for Ethiopia’s ‘green economy’; East Africa Business Week report Fritz Jung, a representative of the German government who have financed Ethiopia’s Sustainable Land Management Programme, as saying “it is proof of Ethiopia’s visionary engagement for combining socio-economic development as well as environmental sustainability”.

Perspectives and priorities differ; while Ethiopia continues to see growth, some 37 million people still remain in poverty and the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has identified that more than half of  farmers are cultivating plots barely large enough to provide sustenance, resulting in large swathes of rural-urban migration. Moreover state ownership of land is creating unfair competition in the economy, favouring government supported conglomerates, reported the Inter Press Service.

While for some Ethiopia’s rapid economic growth is seen as an “economic miracle” for  large sections of the populace very few benefits seem to have materialised.

Find out more in the Africa Research Bulletin

Ethiopia: Building First Class Infrastructure
Economic, Financial & Technical Series
Vol.52, Issue 3, Pp. 20770B-20770C

Ethiopia: Poverty Down 30% Since 2000
Economic, Financial & Technical Series
Vol.52, Issue 1, Pp. 20701A-20702A

Ethiopia: Huge State Investment
Economic, Financial & Technical Series
Vol.51, Issue 11, Pp.20628C-20629B

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Africa – Internally Displaced Persons

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New report ‘Global Overview 2015: People Internally Displaced by Conflict and Violence’ charts soaring numbers of IDPs across Africa

The report, issued  by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, claims that a record 38 million people have been forcibly displaced from their homes, of which 11 million were newly displaced in 2014, largely from violent conflicts in Iraq, Syria and South Sudan.

Jan Egeland, NRC Secretary General, said that “these are the worst figures for forced displacement in a generation, signalling our complete failure to protect innocent civilians”. These figures for internally displaced persons (IDP) are more than double that of refugees, who more frequently make international news when they cross national borders.

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Source: NRC Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre

While conflicts in the Middle East accounted for the largest proportion of global IDPs, conflicts in Africa also accounted for significant percentages particularly South Sudan (11.87%) , the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo) (9.13%) and Nigeria (8.88%). The report provides overviews of the situation across the continent.

Central Africa, according to the report, is a hugely complex displacement situation. By the end of 2014 there were 7.9 million IDPs across Burundi, the Central African Republic (CAR), DR Congo, South Sudan and Sudan, comprising 70% of all forced displacement on the continent.

Displacement levels in Central Africa saw an increase of 9% between 2013 and 2014 and continue to grow; in South Sudan, the UN News Service reported on May 7th that the number of IDPs seeking refuge with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) has grown to 53,000 following recent fighting.

Evidence suggests that the majority of regional conflicts occur over the control of land, resources and economic power, although the report also indicates some more unknown dynamics, highlighting that many communities undertake pendular movements from places of refuge then back to places of origin, experiencing multiple displacements. Similarly limited information exists on the effects of displacement on nomadic groups such as the Fulani herders in CAR.

In East AfricaKenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Eritrea and Uganda – there are estimated to be 1.9 million IDPs, with Somalia holding the largest proportion at 1.1 million. Kenya has seen a huge growth with 220,000 reported in 2014 rising from from 55,000 in 2013. According to the report, factors contributing to displacement in the region include inter-communal tensions and ethno-religious divisions, coupled with rising food insecurity. The situation is particularly stark in Somalia where IDPs are reported to have the highest levels of acute malnutrition and a Human Rights Watch report on April 20th  documented that 21,000 IDPs are being forcibly removed in the capital Mogadishu.

In West Africa – primarily Nigeria, Mali and Cote d’Ivoire – the total number of IDPs is around 1.5 million, with the newly displaced accounting for one million of this. Nigeria has the largest number of IDPs resulting predominately from Boko Haram violence which has also spilled over into Cameroon forcing the displacement of  a further 40,000 people.

The situation in North Africa is more closely tied to conflicts in the Middle East. The combined Middle-East/North Africa region has seen at least 11.9 million cumulatively displaced,  3.8 million of whom have been recently displaced. This is occurring largely in Iraq and Syria following the emergence of the Islamic State insurgency, but also in Libya where 400,000 IDPs fled in 2014, six times the amount in 2013.

However the figures cited are estimates and the IRIN explained that the actual figures could be much higher due to differences and difficulties in the way IDP data is collected. In some cases those living in designated camps can be more easily counted but are only a segment of the displaced population, as most head to urban centres and become almost invisible.

Read the full report here

Find out more in the Africa Research Bulletin:

Refugees
Political, Social  & Cultural Series
Vol.51, Issue 12, Pp. 20378c-20379c

South Sudan: Growing International and Regional Frustration
P
olitical, Social & Cultural Series
Vol.51, Issue.9, Pp.20291C-20293B

Cameroon: Boko Haram Exploits Poverty
P
olitical, Social & Cultural Series
Vol.52, Issue.3, Pp.20498A

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