Elias Opongo – « Insecurity & Violence »

Elias Omondi Opongo – « Insecurity & Violence and Impact on Human Security »


The beginning of the 21st Century has seen the globalization of economies and interdependence between nations and regions strengthening at a rapid pace.[1] Unfortunately, this has coincided with the emergence of new challenges that pose serious security threats to people’s livelihoods and their survival. Global threats such as climate change, overpopulation, migration, natural disasters, terrorism, civil wars, crime, nuclear proliferation and the return of great power conflict, are on the rise. Uneven development is continuing to widen the gap between rich and poor countries, the wealthy and poor, often causing further strife, violence and conflicts in different parts of the world. As a result, millions of people worldwide are affected by one form of human insecurity or another.

Africa’s security landscape is rapidly changing with ‘old’ security threats transforming into ‘new’ complex challenges. A wide myriad of conflicts has destabilized many African countries and weakened governance structures that were already vulnerable. Such include: resource and identity conflicts, piracy, terrorism and terrorist networks, transnational organized crimes such as poaching, narcotics and human trafficking, sexual and gender-based violence, electoral violence, cybercrime, the growth of illicit economies, forced migrations, environmental degradation, looming water crisis and food insecurity. However, the socio-economic, environmental and political dynamics within African states have led to the dramatic transformation of their present manifestation. Within this context, human insecurity has heightened in Africa over the past decades. 

While the pervasiveness of human insecurity on the continent is acknowledged, there has been little discussion in the conventional literature on the linkage between human security, armed violence and subsequent instability within the African context. The tendency has been to adopt the neo-classical formula and point to factors that are predominantly internal to the region. Against this backdrop, this paper examines the linkage between human insecurity, poverty and violence within this context. 

[1] World Bank, World Development Report 2017: Governance and the Law (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2017), 2.

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