Africa’s continental divide: land disputes

via Africa’s continental divide: land disputes / The Christian Science Monitor – CSMonitor.com.

Land, at the very heart of security and survival, looms behind most of the African conflicts we’ve all heard of and dozens of others we have not. The Rwandan genocide, some argue, was as much about the dwindling land availability in Africa’s most densely populated country as it was about enmity between ethnic groups. The wars recounted in the movie “Blood Diamond” in Sierra Leone and Liberia saw land grabs by warlords eager to exploit commodities like diamonds and timber. The violence following Kenya’s 2007 election reflected generations of dissatisfaction with land policy that favored different ethnic groups over time. Beneath the genocide in Darfur is a broken land tenure system, full of fights over soil that climate change is making increasingly unproductive.

An increasing population spreads out over the land, and long-standing ways of life are increasingly at risk.  It is imperative that countries find ways to deal with the disputes over land before they turn into violent conflicts.

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