Ethnicity as a Tool: The Root Causes of Ethnic Conflict in Africa—A Critical Introduction

  • Tsega EtefaEmail author
Part of the African Histories and Modernities book series (AHAM)


The root causes of ethnic conflict in Africa are poorly understood. Most of the available sources address ethnic conflict in Africa from the point of view of either ethnic diversity or climate change and competition for natural resources to the exclusion of mass grievances to the state. However, the major historical problems include the non-inclusive political system, manipulation of ethnicity, chronic marginalization and neglect, monopolization of state resources, and exclusion coupled with the lack of any democratic mechanism to address them. The chapter draws attention to why governments make risky moves by inciting ethnic armed violence and the reasons some people respond positively as well as the dynamics between neighboring countries.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Colgate UniversityHamiltonUSA

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