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The Indirect Cost of War on Africa’s economies    


A study, “Africa’s Missing Millions”, is the first time analysts have calculated the overall effects of conflict on gross domestic product (GDP). The report, a joint effort of Oxfam, the International Action Network On Small Arms (IANSA) and Safeworld, shows that on the average, a war, a civil war or insurgency shrinks an African economy by 15 percent.

On Saturday Rebecca Peters, the director of IANSA gave us a breakdown of the direct cost of wars in the Liberia and Sierra Leone. Today she tells us about the indirect impact of war on the economies and of lives in Africa in general, as well as, how the weapons used in these wars reach Africa.

“What we did was calculate a kind of total cost of war for the 23 countries that we studied, Peters said.

”It translates, she continued, into lost jobs, and higher rates of deaths..” Countries that are in conflict in Africa have 50 percent more in infant mortality than countries that are not in conflict; life expectancy, she added, is reduced by five years; and adult illiteracy is 20 percent higher in countries that have conflicts…. “

Peters said although a small percentage of the arms used in the conflicts are manufactured in Africa, particularly in Egypt, South Africa and increasingly in Nigeria, about 95 percent the arms, especially the Kalaschnikov, come from outside Africa.

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