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Africa's Crises: Recent analysis of armed conflicts and natural disasters in Africa

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Ethiopia
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ILO
Publication date

Working Paper No. 5
P. Dunne and G. Mhone

PREFACE

The magnitude of armed conflicts and natural disasters together with HIV/AIDS in Africa, the contributory factors and adverse impacts make analysis of these crises a sine qua non for planning effective response to the employment and other development challenges in the region. This working paper on Africa's crises: Recent analysis of armed conflicts and natural disasters in Africa, by Paul Dunne and Guy Mhone, contains two such analyses. They were undertaken within the framework of the ILO InFocus Programme on Crisis Response and Reconstruction and the ILO Jobs for Africa Programme.

The overall goal of the current ILO InFocus Programme on Crisis Response and Reconstruction is to develop the ILO's coherent and rapid response to the different crises - natural disasters, armed conflicts, financial and economic downturns and difficult political and social transitions - focusing on areas of ILO's comparative advantage. Knowledge development constitutes one of the Programme's four main pillars. The other three are timely needs assessment and programme formulation and implementation in the crisis-affected countries; advocacy at the international, regional and national levels on the employment and other socioeconomic dimensions of crisis and the need to address them as an integral component of crisis prevention, resolution and post-crisis reintegration, reconstruction, and development processes; and capacity building of the ILO and its constituents to enhance their effective and active role in crisis response. The Programme's implementation is currently quite advanced in all four areas.

The InFocus Programme acknowledges the contribution of Mike Shone to the commencement of the studies, as well as that of Erik Lyby who reviewed various drafts of the report. I am also grateful to the ILO Jobs for Africa Programme, especially Mpenga Kabundi, for providing funding for the exercise. The ILO Crisis Response Programme as well as the ILO Jobs for Africa Programme will do their best to ensure follow-up to the recommendations. We are also sure that others working on the different crises in the region will find the analysis useful for their work. We welcome feedback from readers and users of this working paper.

Eugenia Date-Bah
Director
InFocus Programme on Crisis Response and Reconstruction
International Labour Office
4, route des Morillons
CH-1211 Geneva 22
Switzerland

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Preface
Acronyms
Introduction

Part I: Challenges of Armed Conflicts to the Decent Work Agenda and other Socio-economic Issues in Africa by Paul Dunne

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
1. INTRODUCTION
2. CONFLICT AND THE DECENT WORK AGENDA

  • 2.1 The Decent Work Agenda
  • 2.2 Conflict in developing countries
  • 2.3 Reconstruction and recovery
  • 2.4 Economic and socio-economic issues
  • 2.5 Decent work after conflict
3. COUNTRY ANALYSES
  • 3.1 Country analysis: Mozambique
    3.1.1 Background.
    3.1.2 Data on employment and other economic challenges of armed conflict
    3.1.3 Local and external response to crisis caused by conflict
    3.1.4 Models in use and programmes implemented
    3.1.5 Mozambique and the ILO
  • 3.2 Country analysis: Rwanda
    3.2.1 Background
    3.2.2 Data on employment and other economic challenges of armed conflict
    3.2.3 Local and external response to crisis caused by conflict
    3.2.4 Models in use and programmes implemented.
    3.2.5 The role of the trade union movement
    3.2.6 Rwanda and the ILO
4. COMPARATIVE ASSESSMENT
5. CONCLUSIONS
  • 5.1 Agenda for action, research and policy initiatives
ANNEX: Tables and Figures
APPENDIX
BIBLIOGRAPHY

Part II: Challenges of Natural Disasters to the Decent Work Agenda in Africa by Guy Mhone

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
1. INTRODUCTION
2. NATURAL DISASTERS IN AFRICA: NATURE, INCIDENCE AND IMPACT.
3. THE STRUCTURE OF THE LABOUR FORCE AND NATURE OF LIVELIHOODS IN AFRICA

  • 3.1 Earnings in the formal sector
  • 3.2 Earnings in non-formal sectors
4. THE IMPACT OF AND RESPONSE TO NATURAL DISASTERS
  • 4.1Drought.
    4.1.1 Household responses to drought
    4.1.2 Community responses to drought
    4.1.3 Government responses to drought
    4.1.4 NGO and donor responses to drought
  • 4.2 Conclusion
5. NATURAL DISASTERS AND POLICY RESPONSES IN MOZAMBIQUE: A CASE STUDY
  • 5.1 Socio-economic profile and vulnerability to natural disasters
  • 5.2 Frequency and nature of recent natural disasters in Mozambique.
    5.2.1 Floods and cyclones
  • 5.3 Impact on livelihoods
  • 5.4 The institutional framework and interventions
  • 5.5 The roads case - Labour-based contribution to recovery.
  • 5.6 The Chokwe case - Support for employment recovery
  • 5.7 Strategy and lessons learned
6. NATURAL DISASTERS IN SOUTH AFRICA: A CASE STUDY
  • 6.1 Background
  • 6.2. The socio-economic profile and vulnerability to natural disasters.
    6.2.1 Post-apartheid reconstruction
    6.2.2 Environmental trends
    6.2.3 The labour force
  • 6.3 Frequency and dimensions of recent natural disasters and the impact on livelihoods
  • 6.4 The institutional framework and interventions
  • 6.5 Lessons learned
7. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
  • 7.1 The role of the ILO in natural disasters
  • 7.2 Recommendations to the ILO.
BIBLIOGRAPHY.

INTRODUCTION

Crises encompass disasters and other events where the functioning of a society is seriously disrupted, causing widespread human, material or environmental losses that exceed the ability of the affected society to cope using its own resources. In these situations, unusual activities or external intervention are required to support their ability to cope. Vulnerability to crises is often a result of factors that include poverty, overpopulation, unequal economic opportunities, the absence of social dialogue, and lack of resources and basic services.

The crises in Africa - armed conflicts and natural disasters - covered in this report, take place in an environment with the highest HIV/AIDS prevalence in the World, with strong indications pointing towards a decimation of populations and the prospect of economic collapse and insecurity. The devastating impact of the AIDS scourge in relation to the other crises has been dealt with by Desmond Cohen in another Working Paper in this series (Cohen, D.: HIV Epidemic and other Crisis Response in Sub-Saharan Africa, Working Paper No. 6, Geneva, April 2002).

Part I of the report is a study by Paul Dunne that looks at armed conflicts in Africa, in the light of the experiences of Rwanda and Mozambique. The two cases were selected so as to represent different aspects of the settings, root causes, crisis responses and time, with Mozambique being the case of an "old" crisis now in the stage of reconstruction and development, while the more recent genocide in Rwanda, triggered by the plane crash in April 1994 in which the two presidents of Rwanda and Burundi were killed, continues to have a strong impact on everyday life in that country. Taking place in an intrinsically unstable area, its ramifications throughout the Great Lakes Region remain enormous.

In his paper, Dunne also examines the economic effects of armed conflict in terms of growth, needs of reconstruction of infrastructure, as well as of new evolving economic opportunities. In Africa, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are powerful players in the aftermath of conflict, when new policies and programmes are put in place. Dunne pays special attention to their roles, both in the crisis response itself and in the rehabilitation and reconstruction phases.

Finally, Dunne relates the ILO's Decent Work Agenda to the evidence presented, inter alia by looking at concrete interventions where ILO has assisted the Mozambican government in the implementation of employment-intensive activities aimed at creating jobs, rehabilitating infrastructure, and stimulating local development He concludes by proposing an agenda for action, by which the ILO could strengthen its crisis response.

Part II by Mhone et al. focuses on the region's "natural disasters" many of which are largely human-made. Unlike armed conflict, natural disasters are often cyclical. Certain regions or locations are particularly prone to disastrous events such as earthquakes, flooding or droughts, which reoccur at irregular intervals. These can turn into major catastrophes, as seen in the present cases of Southern Africa and the Horn of Africa, where currently an estimated 33 million people in total are threatened with famine due to natural disasters exacerbated by structural dependencies and bad politics. However, due to their cyclical nature, natural disasters are more predictable and, with sufficient political commitment and international support, preparedness responses can be made that can reduce the vulnerability of the population to hunger and misery.

Mhone et al. examine these and other issues in the Sub-Saharan African context. The study focuses in particular on South Africa and Mozambique, with the former being endowed with rich natural resources and a strong industrial base, and the latter a poor country emerging from colonialism and a devastating civil war. The paper also looks at the ILO's activities in disaster mitigation, such as local economic development, employment-intensive infrastructure programmes, promotion of micro- and small enterprises, all supported by extensive training activities. The study further points to the potential that lies in supporting social and labour market policies geared towards such cyclical outbreaks of natural disasters.

Between them, the two studies raise pertinent questions of relevance to governments, the United Nations and its agencies, NGOs and others involved in reducing vulnerability of communities to such crisis.

Challenges of Armed Conflicts to the Decent Work Agenda and other Socio-economic Issues in Africa

J. Paul Dunne with Yannick Martin

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

One of the major concerns facing the developing world in the post-cold-war environment is how to deal with the aftermath of conflict. Conflicts can be immensely damaging to economies, but also leave much deeper scars on society. Successful recovery from conflict is a difficult path fraught with dangers and riddled with economic, social and political problems and concerns. Countries that have achieved successful recoveries provide valuable lessons, while those that have had less success provide valuable warnings. Despite the importance of this issue, there is surprisingly little substantive work on the subject, in particular work that attempts to deal with the possible paths countries can take from crises caused by conflict.

This paper considers the socio-economic aspects of crisis brought about through armed conflict, covering the general issues and then presenting two case studies of countries that have experienced rather different but equally terrible conflicts in recent times, Mozambique and Rwanda. These countries provide a valuable comparison. Mozambique is a country with more than a decade of peace that has followed a narrow definition of the World Bank/International Monetary Fund (IMF) model until relatively recently. The ILO has played an important role in a number of developments and has taken the initiative in offering assistance after the 2000 floods, in addition to being involved in the post-conflict reconstruction. Rwanda is a country that still has security problems and is attempting to recover from a genocidal civil war.

The paper considers the national frameworks for reconstruction and finds:

  • Models of reconstruction: Both countries have had structural adjustment policies imposed on them post crisis, but in Rwanda this has been the later and more flexible World Bank version. The ILO has played no role in Rwanda's post-crisis recovery, yet there is considerable work that it could do.

  • Crisis management frameworks: Neither country has a national framework to handle crises, but this is now being developed in Mozambique, supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)/World Food Programme (WFP), and it is likely that Rwanda will develop such a framework as it moves further away from a state of emergency.

  • Programmes implemented: In Rwanda there is considerable effort being put into the poverty reduction strategy that goes beyond the strictures of structural adjustment. A Demobilization and Reintegration Commission has also been set up. Reintegration is a particularly important aspect, given the nature of the conflict in Rwanda. In Mozambique, the ILO is involved in some important programmes that have moved beyond the simple structural adjustment policies of the World Bank, and it has tried to deal with very real problems. Demobilization and reintegration, the labour-intensive road-building programme and the local economic development programme are all seen to have been successful. They have made important contributions and should be exported to other countries.

  • Challenges: The challenge for the countries is to find ways to move beyond the restrictive programmes of structural adjustment, even in its new more flexible form. The challenge for the ILO is how best to support this.
The research also suggests an agenda for action:
  • More research on post-conflict reconstruction should be undertaken or commissioned to improve knowledge. Some of this research should include gathering information on countries coming to the end of a conflict to assist earlier action. Case studies and comparative analyses of post-conflict experiences are important, as circumstances do differ markedly across countries.

  • Care is needed in judging the developments taking place in a post-conflict country and comparing countries. Data are often poor and unreliable, and it is difficult to generalize on the basis of very limited indicators.

  • Efforts are needed to gauge the less visible legacies of the conflict: the damage on institutions, markets and consumer confidence; the persistence of subsistence agriculture because of lack of support to smallholders; the regional issues; the lack of development of living standards and the divergence of urban-rural development.

  • An important area for research is to consider exactly what the substantive changes in World Bank policy have been and how best to engage with the "flexible" World Bank to encourage it to reflect the concerns of the Decent Work Agenda.

  • The ILO also needs to take a more proactive approach: becoming involved earlier in post-crisis situations and assisting governments in setting up statistics departments and policy formation, building capacity in ministries and providing training. Many of the policy initiatives needed are already available as part of the ILO's InFocus Programme on Crisis Response and Reconstruction (IFP/CRISIS), but they need more emphasis and support.

  • One possibility is to undertake research on countries in conflict to prepare for early entry at the end of the conflict and/or to have a presence in countries during the emergency reconstruction period immediately following the conflict to assess when to get involved.

  • Another possibility is an early warning unit that could assess when it is optimal for the ILO to become involved in post-conflict reconstruction. If the ILO were to move in earlier, it might be able to work together with groups such as the UNDP and share donors. Pre-crisis preparation work may be attractive to donors. Certainly all of the usual donors would be willing to support the work of the ILO suggested above. There does seem to be considerable support from governments for the initiatives the ILO is best suited to undertake, e.g. from the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

  • The ILO must sort out its organization and communication lines in Africa, which do not seem to be functioning efficiently.
Overall, this paper concludes that, with present programmes, the ILO has much to offer post-conflict countries but that it needs to change its means of action and become more proactive. In this initiative, it will be following developments already taking place in IFP/CRISIS. One of the earliest needs is assistance in capacity building in ministries and training of officials and managers, and the ILO can make a vital contribution to this. It will also mean its influence on the path of development within the country will be markedly increased, and the concerns of the Decent Work Agenda will become an important part of post-war reconstruction.

1. INTRODUCTION

One of the major concerns facing the developing world in the post-cold-war environment is how to deal with the aftermath of conflict. Conflicts can be immensely damaging to economies, but also leave much deeper scars on society. Successful recovery from conflict is a difficult path fraught with dangers and riddled with economic, social and political problems and concerns. Countries that have achieved successful recoveries provide valuable lessons, while those that have had less success provide valuable warnings. Despite the importance of this issue, there is surprisingly little substantive work on the subject.

There have been few efforts to deal with the possible paths countries can take from crises caused by conflict. Work by institutions such as the World Bank is still steeped in the language of structural adjustment, labour market flexibility and fiscal restraint. There is almost a complete absence of work which attempts to deal with the ILO's concern for "decent work", which tries to consider how post-conflict reconstruction can be underpinned by concern for the quality of development. There is clear evidence from the work of the ILO that "decent work" can lead to a trajectory of development that is at least as good as other routes, with the added bonus of improved socio-economic conditions within the country.

This paper considers the socio-economic aspects of crisis brought about through armed conflict. It considers the general issues and then presents two case studies of countries that have experienced rather different but equally terrible conflicts in recent times, Mozambique which has been recovering from a brutal civil war that was made worse by the involvement of external actors and Rwanda which has been recovering from the horrific genocide. The case studies briefly consider the background and extent of the conflict, while also assessing the availability of data on employment and other economic challenges of armed conflict in the countries, and they give a sense of the local and external response to crisis caused by conflict. More detail is then given of the models of development and reconstruction in use within the countries and the programmes that were or are being implemented.

In undertaking this review, interviews with various actors provide much of the detail. These interviews were valuable in providing an up-to-date dynamic picture of developments in each country, but also had the disadvantage of being - of necessity - uneven in coverage across the countries, depending on data availability and practical limitations. However, the problems of data availability and reliability and the speed of change in post-conflict countries make this form of data collection vital. Using the information available, a comparative analysis was then undertaken. This provides useful information and a means of learning lessons from the experiences of the countries, but also illustrates the problems of undertaking empirical research on post-conflict countries. Finally, an attempt is made to provide an agenda for action that identifies research gaps and possible policy initiatives and considers the action that is required and how this might be funded.

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