Issue No: 4/2020

Conflict & Resilience Monitor – 13 May 2020

The Conflict and Resilience Monitor offers monthly blog-size commentary and analysis on the latest conflict-related trends in Africa.

Photo by Roger Sedres/Gallo Images via Getty Images
Photo by Roger Sedres/Gallo Images via Getty Images

The COVID-19 pandemic adds additional stress to a pre-existing mix of economic, social and political tensions, aggravated by climate change related security and development risks. Last week we noted that the data that we have gathered thus far does not indicate that the overall number of social unrest or violent conflict incidents in Africa have increased as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In this week’s Monitor we have decided to focus on specific country data in order to identify countries which may be more at risk than what the overall statistics may suggest. We know that one of the most important indicators of the potential for future unrest and violent conflict is a history of instability, so one aspect we have paid attention to is past conflict data. Another aspect highlighted in this week’s monitor is economic vulnerability. We have seen that the economic effects of the measures to contain the virus has had a more severe and direct impact on people’s livelihoods than the public health aspect of the pandemic.  

We also know that climate change is an additional stressor that will further exacerbate existing vulnerabilities. Lastly, we have looked at COVID-19 infections. Although the infection rates in Africa have been relatively low compared to many other parts of the world, infections are steadily increasing. Given that there is no indication at this stage of the infections levelling out, or having reached a peak, we can expect that the number of infections will further increase. It is thus likely that some containment measures may have to be further tightened in a number of countries, and this will have a major effect on the economic livelihoods of people and may increase the risk of social unrest and violent conflict.

References: AfricaCDC and ACLED

The map of Africa accompanying this week’s monitor, and the bar chart listing the four vulnerability indicators (conflict incidents, economic growth, climate exposure and COVID-19), shows that we have identified twelve countries that may be especially vulnerable to COVID-19 related social unrest, and in some cases, violent conflict. These are in alphabetical order: Algeria, the Central African Republic (CAR), Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Libya, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia and South Africa.

This week’s Protest and Riots infographic shows a slight (approximately 5%) increase in protests and riots in Africa over the past week, based on data available from ACLED. When one looks at the specific countries, however, the data seems to suggest a link with COVID-19 related frustrations. The countries with the highest number of protests and riots in the last week were Algeria, the DRC, Mali, Nigeria, South Africa and Tunisia. 

We will continue to closely monitor these countries. One aspect that seems to be especially interesting to look into is the degree to which social cohesion, and other forms of social and economic resilience, may play a role in softening and absorbing some of the negative effects of COVID-19 containment measures.

Chief Editor: Conflict & Resilience Monitor​
Managing Editor: Conflict & Resilience Monitor
ACCORD COVID-19 Infographic
References: AfricaCDC, ACLED, IMF & Worldometer
COVID-19, Stigmatisation and Discrimination

COVID-19 reminds us that we are one global society

UNMEER/Martine Perret
UNMEER/Martine Perret
COVID-19, Trust between Citizens & Institutions

Assessing the impact of COVID-19 on young people

ACCORD COVID-19 Infographic
References: Capital FM
COVID-19, Domestic & Gender Based Violence

An opportunity to secure women and girls’ protection from violence?

ACCORD COVID-19 Infographic
References: World Bank & IMF
COVID-19, Livelihood Insecurity & Economic Impact

Africa’s economic resilience and the impact of COVID-19

AMISOM Photo/Steven Candia
The Commanding Officer in Charge AMISOM Level Two Hospital in Mogadishu, Captain Dr. Gideon Nuwagira speaks during an interview in Mogadishu, Somalia on 26 April, 2020. (AMISOM Photo/Steven Candia)
COVID-19, Cross-border / Inter-State tensions

The impact of COVID-19 on peace operations in Africa

Do you have information to share?

Does any of this information look incorrect to you, or do you have anything to share from your experience on the ground in an African country?

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