African Solutions to African Challenges: A Statistical Overview of International Mediation in Civil Wars in Africa

Statistical analysis of conflicts and mediation efforts in Africa from 1960 to 2012 points to five main conclusions. First, African third party mediators are more likely to conclude peace agreements, and those agreements are more likely to be durable. Second, however, African third parties with political bias are less effective. Third, sanctions and coercive measures are less effective than positive financial incentives in bringing about peace. Fourth, mediated peace agreements are often fragile, and imposed peace agreements should be avoided. Fifth, the most effective formula is African leadership in peace processes backed by international support.

Systematic comparison of the effectiveness of African and nonAfrican third parties reveals some surprising conclusions. African third parties are typically referred to as ineffective because of a low degree of economic and military capacity. However, drawing on data from the Uppsala Conflict Data Program supplemented with unique data, which together cover all mediation efforts in Africa between 1960 and 2012, reveals quantitative evidence supporting the effectiveness of African third parties. Compared to non-African third parties, African third parties are far more likely to conclude peace agreements and these peace agreements are more likely to be durable. Much of the success of mediation efforts depends on the relationship between the third party and the conflict parties rather than the material capacity of a third party to coerce conflict parties into peace.

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