Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Cost of Conflict in Africa

Today Oxfam released a new study entitled "Africa's Missing Billions". Analysts estimate that the cost of conflict, across the continent, is a staggering $300 billion dollars for the past 15 years. The Oxfam press release is here, and the full report here. Here is an excerpt from the report:

Compared to peaceful countries, African countries in conflict have, on average:

• 50 per cent more infant deaths;
• 15 per cent more undernourished people;
• Life expectancy reduced by five years;
• 20 per cent more adult illiteracy;
• 2.5 times fewer doctors per patient; and
• 12.4 per cent less food per person.

....Thus there is an urgent need to address the international supply of arms and ammunition. An effective ATT, based on the ‘golden rule’, is vital to reduce the human and economic costs of armed violence in Africa and across the world. Such an ATT would need to come with support and capacity-building to ensure effective implementation.

Economic growth and the lives and livelihoods of people in Africa are being held back by armed violence. In failing to control the arms trade, the international community has let Africa down. The disarmament community must play its part to help Africa achieve the MDGs and lift people out of poverty.

We are now at a crucial stage. As well as sustaining dynamic arms control efforts at national and regional levels, African governments, arms-producing countries, and the rest of the international community, must vigorously and proactively support international discussions to achieve a robust ATT, to protect Africans from the daily effects of armed violence.