Conflicts and intercultural dialogue in Africa

Main researcher: Albert Kasanda, PhD.
Institute of Philosophy

This research activity addresses the reality of conflicts that distort Africa. It aims to go beyond evoked conventional theories of conflict in Africa by exploring new configurations that are emerging and evolving on the continent and to pay attention to the interaction between global and local factors. It attempts to overcome the dualism of traditional conflict theories, through several studies emphasizing the complexity and transnationality of conflicts, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. The call for intercultural dialogue concerns a dimension that is often neglected in favor of a balance of power relations in the analysis of conflicts in Africa. It is about supporting a “different view” of the party to the conflict and of natural negotiation. Such a perception is based on the requirement of mutual recognition, respect for plurality and consequent diversity.

In recent decades, Africa has been a place of intense social thinning, uncertainty and political instability. Most African countries are confronted with conflicts of varying intensity and frequency. For example, the repeated wars in the Great Lakes region, the violent demands of the separatists of Western Cameroon and the deadly outbreaks of Islamist movements in Nigeria, Kenya and Burkina Faso illustrate the scale and effects of the conflicts in Africa. The testimonies of international institutions such as the World Bank and the United Nations agree in this regard. Various theoretical frameworks, such as theories of economic, political and cultural conflicts, are used to analyze these conflicts and guide them in their search for peace. The economic paradigm emphasizes the existence or non-existence of natural or financial resources to justify conflicts. Political theory presupposes the conquest and preservation of power to explain the outbreak of conflict in Africa, while the bodybuilding approach borrows immensely from both colonial and anti-colonial discourses, understanding conflicts in Africa as an expression of African secular ethnic antagonism or the effect of arbitrary national borders inherited from colonization.