NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


October 12, 2007

About $18 billion a year has been drained from Africa by nearly two dozen wars in recent decades, a price that could've helped solve the AIDS crisis and created stronger economies in the world's poorest region, according to a report by Oxfam, Saferworld and the International Action Network on Small Arms.

According to the report's authors, compared to peaceful countries:

  • War-battered African nations have 50 percent more infant deaths, 15 percent more undernourished people and life expectancy reduced by five years,
  • They also have 20 percent more adult illiteracy, 2.5 times fewer doctors per patient and 12.4 percent less food per person.
  • On average, the economies of African nations wracked by armed conflict contracted by 15 percent and the impact generally worsened the longer a war lasted.
  • In total, of the 23 African nations that had wars between 1990 and 2005, the fighting cost a total of about $300 billion.

"The sums are appalling: the price that Africa is paying could cover the cost of solving the HIV and AIDS crisis in Africa, or provide education, water and prevention and treatment for tuberculosis and malaria," says Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.   "Literally thousands of hospitals, schools, and roads could have been built."

Source: Todd Pitman, "Report: African Conflicts Cost Billions," Associated Press, October 11, 2007.


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