The African Union wants Africa to be conflict-free by 2020 and has launched the Silencing the Guns campaign to help rid the continent of wars and insecurities.
Take Action: Help Kids Facing Conflict and Crisis Stay in School
The UN Security Council welcomed the news last week and urged the international community to support the continent’s peace efforts.
Ramtane Lamamra, the high representative for Silencing the Guns acknowledged the challenges ahead. He told the council: “A number of African countries still remain trapped in a vicious cycle of violent conflict and its deadly consequences.”
He also noted, however, that the continent has made progress in “preventing, managing, and resolving conflicts in Africa”, citing the peace agreements in South Sudan and Central African Republic, and peaceful elections in Madagascar and Congo.
According to Rosemary DiCarlo, the UN political and peacebuilding chief: "Silencing the guns for good requires the participation of all."
She added that, while Africans are leading the way, "it is vital that the international community lend its support to Africa in achieving this objective."
Wars and conflict have cost Africa more than $100 billion since the end of the Cold War in 1991. They’ve also created some of the biggest humanitarian crises. In the DRC, for example, 6 million people have been killed as a result of the ongoing conflict, while collectively across the continent, more than 9 million people have so far been displaced by the various wars and conflicts.
According to a 2007 report by Oxfam: “Compared to peaceful countries, African countries in conflict have, on average, 50% more infant deaths, 15% more undernourished people, 2.5 times fewer doctors per patient, and 12.4% less food per person.”
The outcome is that, as well as increasing poverty and delaying the achievement of UN Global Goals, the continent is perpetually stuck in crisis mode, with many countries ranking poorly in the UN Human Development Index. The index measures equality, education, income and quality of life.