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Economic effects of the Anglophone Conflict on the Internally Displaced persons

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This study is based on the economic effects of the Anglophone Conflict on the Internally Displaced Persons and Government responses. The case study for this work is Buea owing to the fact that it has suffered its fair share of the anglophone conflict and is also a host community to many IDPs from towns and villages in the Anglophone zone. The study used a case study research design and was informed by three main obejctives. These objectives were : to identify the economic impacts of the conflict on IDPs in Buea, to examine the government responses to the conflict and to discover the chanllanges that the government faces in addressing this problem. This piece was written in five chapters and tables and pie charts were used in the presentation of the data and the findings. The theory that was use dis the relative deprivation theory of Walker Pettigrew in 1984. This theory asserts that one’s in group is disadvantaged compared to the relevant referent and that judgment invokes feelings of anger, resentment and entitlement.



1.1 Background to study

Conflicts have political, economic, social, and cultural implications as they contribute to the lowering of economic productivity, weakening of political institutions of governance, incapacity to provide essential services, destruction and depletion of existing resources, loss of food production, and capital flight. It may be possible to measure the cost of conflict in economic terms by assessing the loss of potential foreign and domestic investment due to fear of crime and insecurity, loss of income from tourism, and losses in government sectors like agriculture. Conflict is an old concept that dates since man’s creation. It exists in any society where people duel. It has left undesired effects to humanity such as confrontations and wars (Nkongho, 1999:25).

Collier (2003 : 1-10 ) opines that conflicts in Africa take the form of civil wars as opposed to the past where conflicts around the world were mostly international. In recent years most of the civil wars that have taken place in the world have been in this continent: e.g. the cases of Angola, Congo, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Kenya and Sudan.  Also, given the fact that, the international community has done little to stop civil wars under the belief that nothing can be done because they are fighting among themselves and we need not intervene, it is realised that the consequences of these civil wars are tremendous both nationally and internationally.

Violent conflicts of one type or another have afflicted Africa and exacted a heavy toll on the continent’s societies, polities and economies, robbing them of their developmental potential and democratic possibilities (White, 2003). The causes of the conflicts are as complex as the challenges of resolving them are difficult. But their costs cannot be in doubt, nor the need, indeed the urgency, to resolve them, if the continent is to navigate the twenty-first century more successfully than it did the twentieth, a century that was marked by the depredations of colonialism and its debilitating legacies and destructive postcolonial disruptions (White, 2003). The magnitude and impact of these conflicts are often lost between hysteria and apathy the panic expressed among Africa’s friends and the indifference exhibited by its foes for a continent mired in, and supposedly dying from, an endless spiral of self-destruction. Yet, from a historical and global perspective, Africa has been more prone to violent conflicts than other regions (White, 2003).  Indeed, Africa’s share of the millions of people who died from conflicts and atrocities during the 20th century is relatively modest: in the sheer scale of casualties there is no equivalent in African history to Europe’s First and Second World Wars, or even the civil wars and atrocities in revolutionary Russia and China. The worst bloodletting in twentieth-century Africa occurred during the colonial period in King Leopold’s Congo Free State (White, 2003).

The contemporary conflict that has plagued the Anglophone regions of Cameroon can be described as a political conflict with identity undertones. Small arms and low techs are used in the warfare. Such conflicts are not costly and can easily be sustained without external aid. This conflict has moved rapidly from the original cause to conflicting parties focusing on trying to simply defeat one another. The conflict in Cameroun today is one that is deeply rooted in the decolonization process of Cameroon. After the First World War, the German colony “Kamerun” became administered by Britain and France following a split of the territory during the Treaty of Versailles (1919) with France having the largest share (CHRDA, 2019: 22).

The Anglophones of Cameroon, 20 per cent of the population, feel marginalised. Their frustrations surfaced dramatically at the end of 2016 when a series of sectoral grievances morphed into political demands, leading to strikes and riots, ACCORD (2017). The movement grew to the point where the government’s repressive approach was no longer sufficient to calm the situation, forcing it to negotiate with Anglophone trade unions and make some concessions. Having lived through three months with no internet, six months of general strikes and one school year lost, many are now demanding federalism or secession, ACCORD (2017). The Anglophone problem dates back to the independence period. A poorly conducted re-unification, based on centralisation and assimilation, has led the Anglophone minority to feel politically and economically marginalised, and that their cultural difference are ignored. The current crisis is a particularly worrying resurgence of an old problem Trust between Anglophone activists and the government has been undermined by the arrest of the movement’s leading figures and the cutting of the internet, both in January. Since then, the two Anglophone regions have lived through general strikes, school boycotts and sporadic violence. Small secessionist groups have emerged since January (IPSS, 2019).            

The Anglophone crisis is in part a classic problem of a minority, which has swung between a desire for integration and a desire for autonomy, International crisis Group, (2017, vol. 250).

On the 1st of October 2016, Common Law lawyers in Bamenda defied government ban and organized a press conference to vent out their frustration on what they termed “the marginalization of “Anglophones” (Mbunwe and Mbuwil, 2016, p. 2). Several demands were made by the lawyers including soliciting the support of Syndicat National des Enseignants du Supérieur (SYNES), Cameroon Teachers Trade Union-(CATTU), Teachers Association of Cameroon (TAC), Traders Associations, Taxi Drivers Unions, Bus Companies, and Commercial Motorbike Riders’ Associations, as well as “Buyam Sellam” Associations, across the North West and South West Regions (Adams & Mbunwe, 2016: 2). On November 21, 2016, teachers also protested, raising concerns about the government’s mismanagement of the North West and South West regions, including the imposition of French in schools, and the appointment of French-speaking teachers (CHRDA, 2019: 22).

The Cameroon Anglophone separatist movement is the most popular contemporary separatist conflict in the African continent as it has taken center stage in several UN Security Council meetings following devastating reports of human rights abuse, internally displacements of persons and the increasing rate of refugees as neighboring countries experience the spillovers from this conflict.

1.2 Statement of the problem

Internally Displaced Persons have rights and are protected under International Humanitarian Law. Those who have particularly borne the brunt of this conflict are the internally displaced persons who are scattered throughout the crisis. In some communities, they have faced rejection and hostility in some host communities. On another side, the economic hardship IDPs have had to face has been overwhelming leading them to hunger, banditary, prostitution and other activities that they would readily not do because of the conditions they face because they live as the Internally Displaced Persons.Owing to the fact that the state has not done the required to meet up with the solutions to IDPs lack providing them with the neceaary basics and the continuous economic hardship that these IDPs face is what this study sought to understand.

From the foregoing, the following research questions were formulated.

1.3 Research Questions

  1. What are the economic impacts of the Anglophone conflict on the IDPs in Buea?

  2. What has been government responses to the economic effects on IDPs in Buea?

  3. What challenges has the government encountered?  

1.4 Objectives of the study

  1. To identify the economic effects of the conflict  IDPson in Buea

  2. To evaluate the measures put in place by the government of Cameroon to boost socio-economic activities of IDPs

  3. To examine the challenges faced by Cameroon government in making economic activities vibrant in Buea

1.5 Research Hypotheses of the study

  1. There is no significant effects of conflict on economic activities in Buea
  2. The measures put in place by Cameroon government have no significant effects in boosting socio-economic activities in bringing sustainable peace and development northwest and southwest regions of Cameroon
  3. The Cameroon government does not face any significant challenges in boosting the socio-economic development in Buea


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