From file: Ethiopian Internally Displaced Peoples (IDPs) who fled the fighting in the Tigray region take shelter in a make-shift IDP camp at a school in Dessie, Ethiopia | Photo: Archive / EPA / STR
From file: Ethiopian Internally Displaced Peoples (IDPs) who fled the fighting in the Tigray region take shelter in a make-shift IDP camp at a school in Dessie, Ethiopia | Photo: Archive / EPA / STR

The African Center for Strategic Studies reports that conflicts continue to drive record levels of population displacement in Africa. The continent's 36 million forcibly displaced persons represent 44% of the global total.

The number of forcibly displaced people (internally displaced, refugees, asylum seekers) in Africa has continued its uninterrupted escalation over the last decade, expanding by 12% (3.7 million people) in the past year, the Africa Center for Strategic Studies said in an article published on July 19 on its website.

The article said that the record number of 36 million forcibly displaced persons is three times higher than a decade ago and represents 44% of the global total.

Eight countries responsible for the increase of displaced persons

The increase in last year's forced displacements is many due to events in eight countries: Ethiopia, South Sudan, Burkina Faso, Sudan, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic and Mozambique.

Among them, the biggest single increase in forced displacements in Africa in the past year was reported in Ethiopia, the article said. Some 1.7 million Ethiopians were displaced in the past year, out of the total 4.7 million displacements.

This represents a 56% increase compared to the previous year. The upsurge in displacement in Ethiopia comprises 45% of the total increase in forced displacement recorded in Africa over the past year, the center said.

With 4.6 million people forcibly displaced, South Sudan has the highest proportion of its population displaced (40%) of any country in Africa. The 700,000 people displaced over the past year makes South Sudan the African country with the second largest level of displacement in Africa during this time, according to the analysis.

In Burkina Faso, escalating militant Islamist violence, in particular violence against civilians, forced about half a million people to abandon their homes over the past year. This represents a nearly 50% annual increase, the article reported.

A phenomenon due to long-lasting conflicts

The center of studies pointed out in the article that "the continued expansion in Africa's forcibly displaced population is a sobering reminder of the enduring nature of many African conflicts. Rather than fizzling out on their own, they are apt to fester and trigger new layers of instability."

The research center said each of Africa's 16 conflicts "has its own set of unique drivers, actors, underlying conditions, and regional contexts."

According to the analysis, "the dispersed nature of African conflict today underlines the need for greater investments in diplomatic, conflict resolution, and peacebuilding capacity. While these efforts must be focused at the subnational level to fashion the local solutions required, they will need robust engagement from the national, regional economic community, and international actors to be sustained."

 

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