Conflicts across Africa between 1990 and 2005 cost the continent's economies about $284 billion -- roughly the amount of international aid given to the continent -- according to a report released Thursday by the British group Oxfam International and the nongovernmental organizations International Action Network on Small Arms and Saferworld, Reuters reports. According to some officials, the $284 billion could have been directed toward fighting diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, as well as promoting education and creating stronger economies on the continent.
For the report, titled "Africa's Missing Billions," the groups calculated the cost -- including lost development aid, medical expenses, increased inflation and higher military expenses -- associated with 23 conflicts in Africa between 1990 and 2005. It found that the conflicts reduced economic activity by an average of 15% annually at a cost of almost $18 billion per year. The report also found African nations that experienced conflict had about 50% more infant deaths, 15% more malnourished people, reduced life expectancy, increased adult illiteracy, 12.4% less food per person and 2.5 times fewer physicians per person than other nations. "This is a massive waste of resources -- roughly equivalent to total international aid to Africa from major donors during the same period," the report said.
Source: Kaiser Family Foundation