Development as a conflict prevention tool.

Position:Intergovernmental Authority on Development

The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) is primarily a regional mechanism for the prevention and resolution of conflicts among eight member states: Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Uganda.

The Ethiopia-Eritrea peace deal offers an opportunity for IGAD to support the strengthening of relations between other member states. Apart from its security mandate, IGAD as a Regional Economic Community (REC) is responsible for pursuing economic integration and development as a major tool of conflict prevention and a foundation for long-lasting peace.

It is significant to add that with the peculiarity of its location as an arid region, countries in the Horn of Africa have had to contend with contentious issues over water use, pastoralism and access to grazing land, to name a few.

There is considerable overlap between the memberships of IGAD and the East African Community (EAC), which comprises six countries: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan.

The EAC is miles ahead in terms of achieving economic integration among its member states. This creates an attractive and potentially beneficial opportunity for countries in the Horn to access its larger market. The region can also learn lessons from its neighbour in achieving economic and political integration beyond peace and security-related issues.

However, challenges in achieving inclusive forms of governance continue to act as major triggers of conflict in the Horn. When substantial groups are excluded from access to political spaces or a share of economic resources, these frustrations erupt as social tensions or increased criminal activities such as terrorism and trafficking of people and arms.

Inclusivity--through dialogue, fair elections, and a respect for human rights --enables better utilisation of...

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