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Patterns of conflict in the Great Lakes region

ABSTRACT: The African Great Lakes Region (GLR) has witnessed some of the most intense violence and protracted conflict of the last half-century. There has been spiralling and sometimes over-lapping conflict in Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) (hereinafter Zone 1 conflict states). Yet their neighbours—Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia (hereinafter Zone 2 peaceful states)—have remained generally peaceful. This article asks what makes the difference in conflict outcomes between these neighbouring states? It has one goal: to identify a set of structural and historical factors (if any), that differentiate the zone 1 from the zone 2 states and which can explain the incidence of conflicts across time and countries. We set out to document and estimate the impact of a common set of structural factors that underpin the outbreak of wars in this region over the past fifty years, while controlling for time and country specific effects.

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