This article seeks to go beyond the popular “Silencing the Guns” narrative. Regional and international initiatives towards finding a durable peace in central Africa focus on ceasefires without paying sufficient attention to what fuels the conflict. One or all opposing sides use guns to challenge, silence, or defend economic interests; this includes governments of countries in the central Africa region. In essence, material wealth underlies the conflict or tension in the region.

The Reconstructed Scenario below is based on the following judgments:

  • Increasing or maintaining economic benefits informs the decision to acquire and use guns;
  • It is almost certain that the pursuit and maintenance of wealth maintains the cycle of violence in the central Africa region;
  • There is a greater chance for peace in the region if what motivates individuals and groups to acquire and use guns is addressed.

Reconstructed Scenario

The following countries have experienced conflicts since their independence: Central African Republic (CAR), Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Republic of Congo, Republic of Cameroon, and Chad. All of them experienced conflict within the last decade. All these conflicts fall within the scope of power or wealth — politics or economics. The governments of these countries, warlords or extremists, and rebel or opposition groups have either:

  • Used the wealth from natural resources to purchase arms in order to stay in control, challenge incumbent authorities, or deter potential offensives; or
  • Launched an offensive or maintained a defense to take control or safeguard resources such as mines and oil wells.

It is vital to note that the economies in central Africa are highly dependent on the wealth from the extractive industry, while agriculture comes second.

The Bottomline

The extractive industry fetches a lot of wealth for the central Africa region.

The map shows the oil-producing countries in Africa. In central Africa, the Central African Republic is the only country that does not produce oil. DRC, on the other hand, does not acquire as much wealth from oil, but rather from its other lucrative resources. Beyond oil, uranium, cobalt, copper, gold, coltan, diamonds, limestone, and other resources available in the central African region.

Governments of the respective countries in central Africa live a luxurious lifestyle. The wealth is shared amidst a few and does not trickle down. In the places where the authority of the state is weak, warlords and rebel groups take over the resource fields and mines. External actors, such as companies that supply or use these resources (for example, Tech companies regarding cobalt) always want to have a share of the production line. This provides a means of wealth for whoever is in control of the mines, either the government or otherwise. Actors take advantage of the conflict situation as in the cases of the Central African Republic (CAR), Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and Chad.

Share This:
About Grey Dynamics View All Posts

More from SOFREP


There are on this article.

You must become a subscriber or login to view or post comments on this article.