Africa has long been plagued by conflicts and various disputes that have resulted in violence, displacement, and loss of lives. However, in recent years, significant progress has been made towards resolving many of these long-standing disputes, paving the way for peace and harmony on the continent.
One of the most significant breakthroughs has been witnessed in the ongoing conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea. The two neighboring countries have been at odds since Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993. The dispute escalated into full-blown war in 1998, which left tens of thousands of people dead. However, in 2018, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki signed a peace agreement, ending two decades of hostility. Since then, both countries have reopened their borders, resumed trade, and diplomatic relations, paving the way for a peaceful and prosperous future.
Similarly, South Sudan has been embroiled in a civil war since 2013, which has left over 380,000 people dead and millions displaced. However, in 2020, the country’s President, Salva Kiir, and opposition leader, Riek Machar, signed a peace agreement that aims to establish a unity government and end the conflict. Although the implementation of the agreement has faced some challenges, including delays in the formation of the government, it offers hope for a lasting solution to the conflict.
Another area where progress has been made is in the resolution of the dispute between Morocco and Western Sahara. For decades, Morocco has claimed sovereignty over the Western Sahara territory, which is home to the indigenous Sahrawi people. However, the Sahrawi people and the Polisario Front, a rebel group fighting for their independence, have resisted Morocco’s claim. In 2020, the United States recognized Morocco’s sovereignty over the Western Sahara in exchange for its normalization of relations with Israel. While the move was criticized by the Polisario Front and some African nations, it has opened up the possibility of a negotiated settlement between the parties.
Furthermore, the ongoing conflict in Somalia, which has lasted for over three decades, has seen some progress in recent years. The country has been plagued by violence from various militant groups, such as Al-Shabaab, which has carried out attacks on civilians and targeted government institutions. However, in 2012, Somalia elected its first president in over two decades through a peaceful and democratic process. The government has also been working with international partners to improve security, rebuild the country’s institutions, and provide basic services to its citizens.
Finally, the dispute between Cameroon’s English-speaking minority and the government has caused violence and the displacement of over 700,000 people since 2016. However, in 2019, the Cameroonian government organized a national dialogue to address the crisis and proposed constitutional changes to grant more autonomy to the anglophone regions. While the conflict is not yet fully resolved, the dialogue offers hope for a peaceful solution.
In conclusion, progress has been made in resolving long-standing disputes in Africa, although much remains to be done. These developments offer hope for a more peaceful and prosperous future on the continent and demonstrate the power of political will, diplomacy, and partnerships in resolving conflicts. However, sustained efforts are needed to ensure that these gains are not reversed, and that all parties are committed to finding peaceful solutions that benefit all citizens.