Wars and discord get plenty of headlines, but recent studies have found that conflicts in Africa have actually decreased in number, size and brutality since the 1990s. That’s not to say the continent is free of turmoil—Boko Haram and others are still terrorizing parts of the continent—but some countries have seen reform while others continue to hold their place as ongoing areas of stability.
Political instability is the biggest stumbling block for companies doing business in Africa, BusinessDayLive reported. Here are 8 of the most peaceful countries in Africa.
Sources: Africanoutlookonline.com, Afrikanfacts.com, BusinessDayLive
Morocco belongs to several peace-promoting networks including the U.N. and the Non-Aligned Movement. King Mohammed VI of Morocco is both the leader of the state and the “commander of the faithful,” with a great deal of involvement in the country’s religious matters. The country trains all of its imams (Islamic leaders) at the Mohammad VI Institute, where they study psychology, history and social studies on top of religion. Future leaders of the country are usually trained in practical skills related to dispute resolution and group psychology, according to Berkleycenter.georgetown.edu.
Lesotho is completely surrounded by South Africa, and its economy is very much involved with South Africa’s. The population has a literacy rate of 85 percent over the age of 14. Lesotho is an independent country and one of the three remaining monarchies on the continent. Lesotho’s path to peace was bumpy, however. The country was under British rule from 1966 to 1993. After a new law left the king without any power, there was a bloody military mutiny and South Africa had to intervene. After that, reforms were put in place that have established political stability, according to Nationsonline.org.
Namibia gained its independence in 1990, steered into a democracy by its liberation movement and leading political party, Swapo. The government spends a significant amount of funds on infrastructure and education, according to Newera.com.na. Political parties make it into parliament based on electoral votes and all parties reportedly display an extreme willingness to work together.
Zambia is a predominantly Christian country, but a wide variety of religions practice peacefully here. The country is one of the most urbanized in sub-Saharan Africa, and it is the second largest copper producer on the continent. The country became independent in 1964. It saw a brief single-party system, but in 1991 it welcomed a multiple parties. This helped earn the country a reputation for stability and a relatively efficient, transparent government, according to Bbc.com.
Angola is a culturally welcoming place, and a member of the Latin Union, the Community of Portuguese Language Countries and the United Nations. The nation’s motto is “virtue is stronger when united.” Every year on April 4 the country celebrates National Peace Day of Angola. The nation’s ruling party is the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), and the president– José Eduardo dos Santos—has ruled since 1979. Dos Santos has a reputation for crushing dissent. Since the country’s 27-year civil war ended in 2002, he has built Angola’s military into one of Africa’s most powerful.
Sources: Opinyon2010.com, TheGuardian.
Ghana has held peaceful elections and carried out several transfers of power that didn’t incite riots or protests over unfair proceedings. Several factors contribute to Ghana’s success as a peaceful place. One thing Ghana does is allow media personnel at the election polls, which encourages transparency in the process. There are also several active civil society groups, some formed just to oversee election processes. Ghanaian diplomat Kofi Annan served as the United Nations secretary general.
Malawi is one of the most peaceful countries in Africa but one of the poorest in the world. The country has a reputation for being hospitable and charitable (it topped our AFKInsider list of most charitable countries). It has never had a civil war. Malawi hasn’t had to focus energy or resources on conflict, but it has other economic issues that are a drain. One major flaw is an education system that teaches individuals how to get jobs, but not how to create them, according to Africanliberty.org. In spite of its economic troubles, the country is known as “The Warm Heart of Africa” because of the disposition of its inhabitants.
Botswana is a major exporter of diamonds. Pictured here are female diamond miners at the Jwaneng mine. Surprisingly this enormous resource hasn’t caused much conflict within the country, even at times when the resource has depleted to zero. The country put a lot of effort into diversifying the economy, developing its cattle industry so that it has something to fall back on when diamond mining isn’t lucrative. Another factor that keeps Botswana peaceful is its good neighbors. It has fair and open trade with South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Zambia, according to Quora.com. Despite being landlocked, it has easy access to the sea for imports and exports.