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Access To Natural Resources Can Fuel Conflict

Access To Natural Resources Can Fuel Conflict


The peace process in the Central African Republic is under continuous threat from violent groups fighting for control of the region’s substantial natural resource deposits. Peace Science provides more evidence to suggest that an excess of natural resources is more likely to lead to violent conflict, compared to too little resources-as many assume.

In the News:

“While many positive steps have been taken in the Central African Republic (CAR), progress has been too slow and is continually under threat from ‘those who seek private gains through violence,’ the United Nations envoy on the ground told the Security Council on Thursday, underscoring that restoring government authority is ‘key’, both now and in the long-term. ‘The country cannot afford more clashes among armed groups seeking opportunity to pillage and exploit natural resources,’

-United Nations Special Representative Parfait Onanga-Anyanga, head of the UN Stabilization Mission in the CAR (MINUSCA).

Insight from Peace Science:

From Resources and Conflict: Reframing The Debate:

  • There is more evidence to suggest that an excess of resources can lead to conflict, than too little resources.
  • Armed conflict is likely to increase resource dependence, since political leaders can use the profit from the resources to fund their militaries or continue oppression.
  • Every conflict needs to be examined within its own dynamic social context in order to understand the role natural resources play.

From What is the Resource Curse and How Can Natural Resources Lead to Violence?:

  • Violence is likely to occur when a regime fails to address the economic grievances of a unified, ideologically motivated opposition movement.
  • The conflict-oil link can be partly explained by three main triggers: motive, opportunity & vulnerability.
  • The economic advantage of controlling the access and supply of a state or region’s natural resources has been proven to cause conflict.


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