CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUTION
1.1 BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Conflicts are common and unavoidable in all human society. All over the world,
conflicts occur because society is made up of people with differing interests and values. In most
societies, conflicts occur when parties in a state of independence perceives divergent views or
believe that their aspirations or goals cannot be achieved simultaneously. Therefore, it is only
natural that where there is inequality in access to the control of natural resources and political
power for instance, there would be discontent, opposition and controversy.
Africa is a vast continent with different peoples and cultures. There has been increasing
number of violent conflicts in Africa, especially during the end of the cold war. A number of
violent conflicts have erupted in both developed and developing countries, inflicting sufferings
and pains on the people and placing enormous stress on the environment. African countries are
plagued by the crisis of Perverted religion, sectional and political upheavals.
Africa is perhaps the most devastated by internal conflicts and with catastrophic
consequences. Introducing the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) mechanism for preventing,
managing and resolving conflicts to the OAU council of ministers at Dakar, Senegal, in 1992, the
then General secretary Salim Ahmed Salim, emphasized that:
“Conflicts have cast a dark shadow over the
prospects for a united, secure and prosperous Africa
which we seek to create…. Conflicts have caused
immense suffering to our people and, in the worst case, death. Men, women and children have been
uprooted, dispossessed, deprived of their means of
livelihood and thrown into exile as refuges as a
result of conflicts. Conflicts have engendered hate
and division among our people and undermined the
prospects of the long term stability and unity of our
countries and Africa as a whole. Since much
energy, time and resources have been devoted to
meeting the exigencies of conflict, our countries
have been unable to harness the energies of our
people and target them to development.
These conflicts have been fuelled by uncontrolled accumulation and proliferation of
small arms and light weapons, begetting increased criminality, banditry, cross-border crime and
emergence of the phenomenon of child soldiers. Though internal, most of these conflicts spill
over into neighboring countries causing wide spread of regional insecurity and instability despite
the presence of the United States‟ conflict resolution processes and all other peace keeping
Given the number of conflicts in sub Saharan Africa, it is not surprising that they
cumulatively have claimed at least 7-8 million lives. Also, in 2001, more than 3.5 million of the
more than 14 million refugees and asylum seekers in the world were in Africa.
In this stead, conflict resolution is needed and put into action by different bodies or
parties including governmental organisations and non-governmental organisations. Conflict Resolution otherwise known as reconciliation, is conceptualised as methods processes involved
in facilitating the peaceful ending of conflict and retribution. Often, committed group members
attempt to resolve group conflicts by actively communicating information about their conflicting
motives or ideologies to the rest of the group (e.g., intentions; reasons for holding certain
beliefs), and engaging in collective negotiation.
There are wide ranges of methods and procedures for addressing conflict exist, including but not
limited to, negotiation, mediation, diplomacy, and creative peace building.
1.2 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
Conflict in the framework of this thesis refers to a clash between two parties and can be
further categorised as inter-state conflict, defining disputes between two nations, and intra-state
or state formation conflict, which is often characterised by civil war and other forms of conflict
within the state borders. Conflict resolutions describe the resolving of a conflict, rather than
managing or transforming conflict, and can be understood as a process or outcome. Because it
focuses on the root causes of the conflict, and the consideration of the needs and worldviews of
all involved parties, conflict resolution has a highly sustainable aspect. External actors can
facilitate the peace process by acting as neutral mediators and creating an environment
conducive to balanced power.
1.3 OBJECTIVE OF STUDY
To examine the United States role in conflict resolution in Africa.
To know examine the principles of United States policies on conflict resolution in Africa.
To review the United States support for peacekeeping in Africa.
To review United States operations to foster peace in Africa.
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
What are the principles of United States conflict resolution in Africa?
How effectively has the United States been able resolve conflicts in Africa?
Is the United States‟ conflict resolution in Africa a form of investment for later reaping?
1.5 SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY
The study will also be useful to future researchers in their research on this topic or
another similar to this.
The study is significant in the sense that it will add to the existing knowledge of
individuals on the different questions asked by lay men and elites, questions like “Is it
possible for conflicts and crisis to be eradicated in Africa?”
1.6 RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
1.6.1 METHOD OF DATA GATHERING
The method used in gathering data of study is mainly library research and discourse with
some informed individuals on the subject matter. A further material was sourced through articles
posted online by U.S journalists.
The secondary sources of data collection were obtained through scholars‟ works on
Conflict Resolution and journals and other documents of historical and political significance.
1.6.2 STUDY PATTERN
The study pattern used in the course of the research is Analytical. This is because the
study serves to elucidate meanings already implicit in the subject.
The study carries out a critical analysis on the U.S and conflict resolution in Africa in
every part of Africa; Northern, Western, Eastern and South Africa, since it‟s involvement in
Limitations of this study relate to unavailability of some reference materials as well as difficulty in obtaining some information on conflict resolution in Africa. Attempts were made to get alternative materials to offset the falls.
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