SEPTEMBER 22, 2010: $300 Billion Lost in Conflicts Yearly

$300 Billion Lost in Conflicts Yearly

SOURCE: The Monitor

By Alfred Nyongesa

As Africa yesterday marked the International Peace Day, the chairperson of the African Union Commission was counting losses the continent has suffered in conflicts. According to a statement by Mr Jean Ping, conservative estimates point to a combined economic loss of around $300 billion (Shs660 trillion) since 1990 by African countries affected by conflict.

Mr Ping said in order to improve the living standards of people and eliminate poverty, conflict must be put to an end. He said although African leaders have taken major strides to address conflict, the continent should not rest until peace prevails in every corner.

In Uganda, according to a report released in 2002 by the Civil Society Organisations for Peace in Northern Uganda), at least $100 million (Shs220 billion) was lost every year at the height of the conflict in Northern Uganda.

The report also indicated that the conflict cost at least $1.33 billion (Shs2.9 trillion) over the first 16 years of the LRA insurgence, representing about three per cent of Uganda's GDP over the period.

Cannot be attached

But Mr Martin Owuor, the commissioner in-charge of Disaster Preparedness and Refugees in the Office of the Prime Minister, said the loss is too big to attach a figure. In Uganda, the day was marked under the theme "Youth, Peace and Development," at Kololo Airstrip. The Youth MP for northern region, Mr Denis Obua, urged the youth to reject being used by politicians to derail peace during next year's general elections.

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