Effective governments necessary to eradicate instability


“As Africa develops, it gets more capacity for government to rule, to control, to clamp down on descent. The main reason you have instability is because government does not have the capacity to control its territory,” Jakkie Cilliers, executive director at the Institute for Security Studies, told CNBC Africa.

“The most important factor in reducing conflict is simply the establishment of state control over territory. Then we can come to the nature of governments, it’s a bit of a two-way street. The other component is that development itself creates inequalities, and sometimes results in instability.”

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While Africa may be more stable now than in years gone by, there are still perceptions regarding the level of violence and corruption on the continent.

According to Cilliers however, if one measures conflict in proportion to the number of people within the region, the trend shows a decline.

“Let’s start by creating a very important relationship – if you do a map of poverty in the world and you do a map of violence in the world, and you put these two maps on top of one another, they are one and the same,” he said.

“Poverty does not drive violence but poor governance [and] weak institutions mean that countries that are poor are violent. It [Africa] is violent but the global trend, and also the trend in Africa, is that when you measure violence by the proportion of people, it’s coming down.”

He added that there has been an increase in instability globally and that terrorism is also on the increase in both Africa and around the world.

Cilliers further stated that while some countries on the continent will see double digit growth in spite of this in the coming years, the general story of Africa is one of diversity.

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“Africa has many structural factors that will lead to its continued growth. We forecast an average growth rate of about 5.6 per cent for Africa going forward until 2035,” he explained.

“It’s a more diverse story of many countries rising and others that are struggling to escape from their fragility.”