Climate Change Facilitates and Exacerbates Animosity Among

Climate Change Facilitates and Exacerbates Animosity Among





Climate Change Facilitates and Exacerbates Animosity Among Communities Living in the Sub-Saharan African Region


Sub-Saharan Africa comprises more than two-thirds of the African nations. Besides, Sub-Saharan Africa accommodates people from varying socio-cultural, political, religious, and ethnic backgrounds. Unfortunately, more than 40 percent of the countries in the region have encountered instances of civil war. As such, Sub-Saharan Africa could be treated as a war-torn region. Subsequently, several people have lost their lives while others have been displaced from their original places of residence. In 2015, more than 8,300 people died within two months in Sub-Saharan Africa following the insurgency of a militant group called Boko Haram (Villiers). The deaths occurred in five countries, including Niger, Somalia, Sudan, Cameroon, and Nigeria. Besides, an Al-Qaeda liked group called Al-Shabaab has been terrorizing different countries in East Africa. Al-Shabaab appears to be waging religious wars as it strives to establish Islamic states in the region, especially in Somalia (Chiluwa 218). Precisely, various factors that entail religious and political affiliations and socioeconomic aspects trigger civil wars and conflicts in the region. For instance, socio-economically disadvantaged, unemployed, and uneducated persons constitute the majority of the Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab militants (Villiers). Moreover, Sub-Saharan Africa is experiencing adverse impacts of climate change that entail prolonged droughts, severe floods, and a rise in atmospheric temperatures. Subsequently, varied diseases, shortage of food, and destruction of crops and animals are common occurrences in the region.

Statement of the Problem. A significant decline in the intensity and frequency of organized political wars in the region has been witnessed between the 2000s and 1990s (Straus 180). However, conflicts over basic resources that entail water and land, as well as electoral violence, tend to rise and become persistent over time.

Statement of Purpose. This study serves to accomplish two purposes:

Determine climatic factors that trigger conflicts and violence in Sub-Saharan Africa

Establish social changes that happen due to climate change


Null hypothesis: Climate change does not exacerbate or facilitate conflicts and civil wars in Sub-Saharan Africa

Alternative hypothesis: Climate change exacerbates and facilitates the growth of conflicts and civil wars in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Research Questions

How does climate change impact on the availability of arable land and clean water in Sub-Saharan Africa?

How do communities living in Sub-Saharan Africa respond to the adverse impacts of climate change?

How do communities living in Sub-Saharan Africa protect their valued natural resources, especially water and land?

Significance of the Study. This research study would unravel vital information regarding the link between climate change and hatred among communities living in Sub-Saharan Africa. Specifically, findings from the study would elaborate on how climate change facilitates conflicts among such populations. As such, interested parties would utilize the information to develop appropriate strategies for preventing or addressing the undesired effects of climate change on the social wellbeing of the residents.

Limitations. This study would rely only on critical analyses of secondary sources of information. Accordingly, the levels of accuracy and originality of such secondary sources would dictate the quality of this report. Besides, personal judgment and inferences would primarily inform this study and shape the final outputs, conclusions, and recommendations.  

Assumptions. It is assumed that available information would adequately represent each nation within Sub-Saharan Africa. Besides, it is assumed that communities from every part of Sub-Saharan Africa would exhibit similar responses to the impacts of climate change.

Literature Review

The review of the existing literature would provide a strong foundation and guideline for this study. Accordingly, relevant resources would comprise those that focus on conflicts and wars in Sub-Saharan Africa. Although varied factors could encourage disputes and civil wars in different parts of the globe, the adverse impacts of climate change in Sub-Saharan Africa could be linked to the relatively rampant and possibly increasing cases.

Sub-Saharan Africa has been experiencing rampant cases of civil wars and conflicts due to particular reasons that include economic dependence on natural resources, failed political institutions, and high levels of poverty (Elbadawi and Sambanis 253-54). According to Elbadawi and Sambanis, the relatively widespread assumption that religious and ethnic diversity trigger wars in the continent could be misleading (254). Some political institutions cannot adequately control and encourage appropriate politics. Instead, some of the institutions could allow the growth and use of militants by rogue politicians. Besides, high-levels of poverty in the region could trigger conflicts and civil wars in specific ways. For instance, desperate individuals could join militant groups and accept to be abused by rich politicians. Also, reliance on natural resources as the primary source of income and economic growth attracts unhealthy competitions that end in conflicts and civil wars. Most of the inhabitants of the region exploit natural resources such as forests, rivers, and lakes as their primary sources of income. Therefore, various factors other than religious and ethnic diversities facilitate violent conflicts and civil wars in Sub-Saharan Africa.     

Moreover, diversity in communities living the Sub-Saharan countries trigger civil wars. Specifically, religious, cultural, ethnic, and political factors serve as the main forces behind the relatively many civil wars in Africa. Some categories of people try to express their superiority through fierce competitions and wars (Fearon, and Laitin 4). Unfortunately, the significant variances among the communities in the region could drive them to view and perceive each other as an enemy. For example, Islamic communities and Christians could treat each other as enemies due to their theological differences and beliefs. Likewise, persons from one community could treat each other as brothers and sisters while taking those from other communities as enemies. Hence, diversity has been a key contributor to the rampant civil wars and conflicts in the region.

Further, religious extremists serve as one of the major forces behind the rampant conflicts in Sub-Saharan Africa (Basedau 3). Different religious factions have been linked to conflicts and wars in different parts of the region. Varied groups of people uphold strong stances in specific religious identities and theological understandings. Unfortunately, such variances could end up in conflicts that may attract fierce wars as each religious group strives to attract more followers and gain dominance. For example, Islamic groups have been fighting with Christians. Every religious group believes that its actions are righteous and acceptable.

Additionally, European imperialism and colonialism that led to the establishment of artificial borders in Sub-Saharan Africa contribute to the constant chaos, conflicts, and wars in the region (Okumu 280). Initially, residents of the region used to travel and settle with little or no restrictions. As such, each group of people would determine their most preferred areas for settlement. For example, farmers would look for places with climatic and soil conditions that are suitable for farming. Unluckily, the colonialist introduced undesired restrictions that rendered different sections in the region appear as individual belongings. Subsequently, every nation and community strives to protect the new borders. Unluckily, conflicts, chaos, and civil wars would occur when those treated as outsiders attempt to enter other communities’ territories. Therefore, people in the region could still be sharing the natural resources if not for the European-imposed boundaries.

From the above analytical literature, a key question emerges: How is climate change linked to the conflicts and civil wars in Sub-Saharan Africa?

Research Method

This study would rely on a qualitative research method to facilitate the generation of more details through the use of personal inferences and understandings from available information (Rahman 104). Accordingly, this study relies primarily on secondary sources of data. Following the nature of this study, reliance on secondary sources of data serves as the most suitable approach to ensure timely completion and delivery of a quality report. Thus, purposive sampling would be employed to determine the most appropriate and highly-relevant resources of data using specific search terms that entail climate change, Sub-Saharan Africa, civil wars, and conflicts. Besides, critical analysis and evaluation of existing literature would be done in an attempt to elaborate on how climate change facilitates and exacerbates conflicts and civil wars among communities living in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Findings and Discussions

As climate change unfolds, highly-valuable natural resources that entail arable land and clean water become scarce. Specifically, Sub-Saharan Africa is experiencing climate change that has attracted undesired outcomes that entail extreme weather conditions (prolonged droughts, floods, and a rise in temperatures). Accordingly, the different communities residing in the region endeavor to sustain their lives, their crops, and livestock by protecting the available resources (Tadesse, and Dereje 43). People with access to clean water and arable land would like to preserve and protect such resources from invasion by other communities. Unfortunately, the communities that do not have access to the limited resources would fight for them. Thus, civil wars prevail as communities compete for ownership and access to the available resources.

Climate change exacerbates poverty among communities living in Sub-Saharan Africa. The unpredictable and extreme weather conditions have rendered agriculture unfruitful. For instance, extended droughts would result in the destruction of crops and the death of livestock (Ahmed et al. 144). As a result, affected communities could opt to invade and rob their neighbors because they do not have other resources, especially finances, for purchasing basic needs such as food. Unluckily, such acts could attract more conflicts that may facilitate fierce wars. Communities whose crops and livestock succumb to extreme weather conditions would be left in dire poverty that demands immediate reactions for survival. As such, the affected communities would do virtually anything and everything to secure basic needs. Unfortunately, their unwanted acts of stealing from their neighbors could lead to retaliatory attacks. Eventually, the involved groups would treat each other as an enemy, a perception that could be transferred from one generation to the next.

Adverse consequences of climate change could prompt authorities to provide relief foods and other basic services to affected communities. Unfortunately, a rampant is the issue of corruption in the region could facilitate inefficiencies and unfair distribution of the services and products (Murshed and Saadat 188). Specifically, leaders could provide and care for their ethnic groups, relatives, and family members. Besides, corruption would trigger the provision of excess products and services to particular groups of people. Subsequently, the neediest and vulnerable individuals may not receive the vital services, while those who do not deserve assistance benefit from the donations. As a result, each group of people would be competing and fighting for government-sponsored products and services. Since the competition is not healthy, conflicts and wars could ensue. Weaker communities would treat the dominant and superior ones as their enemies.     

Moreover, climate change would facilitate the migration of people within and out of Sub-Saharan Africa (Serdeczny et al. 10). Precisely, the adverse weather conditions that include a rise in temperatures, prolonged droughts, and floods would displace people from their initial areas of residence. For instance, people would be moving out of flooded regions and those experiencing high cases of malaria due to heavy infestation by mosquitoes. As affected persons move from one point to the other, they meet with other people. Besides, the migrants would struggle to secure better and safer places of residence. Similarly, rural-urban migration would intensify as people try to find alternative sources of income and livelihood. As a result, urban centers would be congested by persons from varied cultural backgrounds. Unfortunately, such practices could facilitate the growth of conflicts, especially where the migrants make a forceful entrance into specific parts of the region. That is, the initial residents could find migrants as unwelcome intruders. Persons from varied religious, ethnic, political, and cultural backgrounds would converge. As a result, chaos and wars could ensue due to their diversities.

Similarly, more instances of conflicts and animosity would prevail in densely populated parts of Sub-Saharan Africa following the fight for basic social amenities including, schools, churches, and hospitals (Baumann and Kuemmerle 680). Since the adverse impacts of climate change would affect several people, social facilities would be congested while vital services and products like drugs may become more scarce. For instance, hospitals would be receiving numerous patients due to the rising cases of malaria and other infectious diseases, malnutrition, injuries from floods, and other related ailments. As a result, people would be struggling to gain access to the necessary facilities and benefit from their services. Unfortunately, the corrupt could take advantage of the situation to serve particular individuals while leaving the rest to fight for their lives. Besides, residents would be fighting for the establishment of additional facilities at nearby locations. Also, some patients could perceive that healthcare providers are unwilling to assist and treat them. Collectively, more conflicts and animosity would develop as each person and community struggle to acquire limited services and social facilities.

Additionally, authorities attract further animosity as they respond to the impacts of climate change. For example, some countries, including Kenya, have been forcefully evicting forest encroachers in an attempt to restore forest cover (Cavanagh et al. 309). Unfortunately, most of the authorities do not have suitable strategies for resetting the evictees. Instead, the involved governments could use excessive forces to evict the encroachers and leave them without basic needs, including shelter, food, and clothing. As a result, most of them end up being landless and more impoverished. Subsequently, the evicted communities would perceive that their governments and proponents of the evictions do not value and dislike them. Thus, the evictees could attack their neighbors or hate them in retaliation. Therefore, if not for climate change, people could be staying in peace and harmony at virtually every corner of the Sub-Sahara region.

Conclusion and Recommendation

Climate change would attract adverse social impacts on Sub-Saharan Africa by exacerbating animosity among the affected communities. Even so, the adverse effects of climate would indirectly facilitate the growth of hostility through various ways that include a decline of natural resources such as clean water and arable land as well as a further scarcity of social amenities and relevant services and products. Factors that include a rise in the number of infectious diseases like malaria, an increase in casualties, and victims of natural calamities such as floods and migrations would lead to congestions and stiff competitions. As a result, communities living in Sub-Saharan Africa could encounter more conflicts and hatred as they struggle to access and acquire the limited resources and services. Similarly, governments’ efforts to respond to adverse impacts of climate change would trigger hatred and conflicts among the affected communities. Also, unfairness and acts of corruption during the distribution of state-sponsored products and services would exacerbate animosity and disputes in the region. Accordingly, interested parties and governments falling within Sub-Saharan Africa should establish suitable strategies for preventing and addressing conflicts that may emerge. Specifically, the engage parties should endeavor to fight corruption to ensure fairness with regards to the distribution of government-sponsored services and products. Moreover, communities living in Sub-Saharan Africa should strive to understand and appreciate their diversities to facilitate better social-wellbeing and togetherness. Every person in the region should exhibit high levels of humanity to ensure that they assist each other during instances of natural disasters and calamities.

 Suggestion for Further Research Studies

Findings from this study assert that climate change act as one of the leading causes of conflicts and civil wars in Sub-Saharan Africa. Accordingly, further research studies should be conducted to determine the extent and frequency at which each impact of climate change influence animosity in the region. Besides, more studies should be conducted to find out if every part of Sub-Saharan Africa experiences similar social impacts from climate change.

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