JICA Ogata Research Institute

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JICA-RI Holds Book Launch Events in Three Countries on "Preventing Violent Conflict in Africa"

December 27, 2013

A book entitled “Preventing Violent Conflict in Africa: Inequalities, Perceptions, and Institutions” was released by Palgrave Macmillan in the UK in October 2013. This is the result of close research collaboration between the Centre for Research on Inequality, Human Security and Ethnicity (CRISE), University of Oxford, and JICA-RI. The researchers of seven countries including Japan, the US, Europe, and Africa had conducted the research for five years from 2008 to 2013. To mark the launch of the book, public events were held during December 9 and 12, 2013 in three cities: Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Brussels (Belgium), and London (the UK).

 

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       Addis Ababa on December 9
This research project addressed the issue of violent conflict in Africa with a focus on “Horizontal Inequalities: HIs,” which looked at multidimensional—political, economic, social and cultural—inequalities between identity groups . In particular, it placed importance on the following two issues in occurrence of violent conflicts: (1) the gap between objective HIs observed in statistical data and subjective perceptions of HIs, i.e. how people perceive the political, economic, social and cultural status of their own identity groups in the society; (2) the significance of political HIs among various dimensions of HIs and political institutions that condition political HIs. With this framework, the research presented case studies of ten African countries, bringing forward a set of policy recommendations for conflict prevention.

 

The launch events were organized in Addis Ababa on December 9, in Brussels on 11, and in London on 12. In each event, JICA-RI Visiting Fellow Yoichi Mine, Professor of Doshisha University, who headed the research project, introduced an overview of the book. Subsequently, former JICA-RI Senior Research Fellow Mari Katayanagi, one of the authors of the book, presented the policy recommendations in the events in Addis Ababa and Brussels. In London, Frances Stewart, Emeritus Professor of Oxford University and one of the four editors of the book, provided the details of the survey results on subjective HIs.

 

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Brusseles on December 11
The event in Addis Ababa, where the headquarters of the African Union (AU) is located, brought together an audience from the Embassies of African countries in Addis Ababa, Ethiopian government, international organizations, research institutions and NGOs. Participants from the countries analyzed in the case studies were also included. They led active discussions based on their firsthand experiences over the importance of the approaches that the book presented for conflict prevention and the interrelations between HIs and salient issues in Africa such as the influence of past colonial policies and the disputes over the distribution of abundant natural resources.

 

The launch in Brussels, where the headquarters of European Union (EU) is located, was co-hosted by the Friends of Europe, a think tank based in the city, with the participation from EU, UN organizations, research institutes, and NGOs. Vigorous discussion took place on a wide range of topics related to the book, including how to utilize the research outcome in the actual operations of EU, JICA, and others. In London, the event was co-organized with the Overseas Development Institute (ODI). Participants were mainly from universities and NGOs, and they engaged in active exchange of views by raising a variety of questions such as how to collect information on subjective HIs, what a causal relationship between subjective HIs and conflicts is, and what the effectiveness and challenges of decentralization are, one of the policy recommendations in the book.

 

Another launch event is scheduled to be held in New York, where Headquarters of the United Nations is located.

 

【Related Link】

*Friends of Europe website

*ODI website

DayDecember 09, 2013(Mon) - December 12, 2013(Thu)
PlaceEthiopia, Belgium, England

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