Ref.: PTDC/AFR/64207/2006

Funding institution(s): FCT - Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia

Keywords: Poverty, Peace, Lusophone African countries, Development


Although great part of the analyses of poverty in the Portuguese speaking African countries refers the weight and role of war, especially post-independence conflicts, there are no studies specifically concentrate in the direct relation between war/peace and the increase/reduction of poverty in these countries. This research intends giving account of this relation, analyzing in a comparative fashion, the situation of poverty in the African Lusophone countries throughout the last decades. The comparison foreseen in this study involves African countries that, even though share some common elements – colonial regime, period when independences took place – differentiate themselves in many others: in the processes and levels of development at the colonial and post-colonial periods; in the way peace/conflict situations evolved after independence. The focus in the correlation peace/poverty, in the scope of a broader research on the causes of the high levels of poverty that in all these nations are an evidence, frames this project in the set of studies aiming at the clarification of the processes that condition the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

This research project seeks understanding the influence of an over thirty years war in the situation of poverty of Angola; which is the influence of the war, also long lasting in Mozambique, and of the near fifteen years peace in the country, on the current situation of poverty; which the influence of the war and the recent conflicts in the poverty in the Guinea Bissau; which is the influence of decades of peace, intermittent in recent years when coups d’état occurred, on the situation of S. Tome; in what measure the uninterrupted peace situation in which Cape Verde lives for centuries contributes to explain the poverty levels. The intention is to verify if a direct relation can be established between these two types of conditions – poverty and pacification – or if, on the other hand, there are other factors that should be taken into account in the processes of development and poverty overcome that have more weight and influence more directly the conditions of life in these countries.

The research implies the analysis of the existing information about the mentioned correlation, concentrating, however, a fundamental part of the research in the consubstantiation of the information through an empirical exploration of life histories of people whom, in these countries, have seen their conditions of life increase or diminish due to the occurrence of peace or war. Thus, the collection of data in the field is carried through not only near institutions that work directly in subjects related with poverty and that have substantial information on the subject but, equally, near a diversified set of individuals with different characteristics who are able, through open interviews and profound histories of life, reconstruct their life courses and establish correlations between the socioeconomic situations lived and the diverse peace/war phases that the respective countries have been through. In the case of Cape Verde, the interviews are directed to the identification of factors associated to the poverty or its overcoming, which will provide terms of comparison with the situations of the remaining Lusophone countries. The influence of peace on the life conditions is analyzed at the level of the implications in the social and spatial mobility of the individuals; of the economic choices and possibilities; of the conditioning of the accesses to education; at the level of the possibilities of access to infrastructures and goods; at the level of current well-being conditions and the way they are foreseen.

The interviews are carried out in the capital cities of Angola, Mozambique, Guinea Bissau, Cape Verde and S. Tome, in urban and periurban areas, distributed according to previously defined typologies, concerning the situation of poverty/wealth, urban/rural origin, age and the time of experience of different situations of peace, in order to surpass the time and available resources’ conditions for the accomplishment of the research. The life histories collected focus on individual life courses but also have a broader component concerning the history of families the individuals belong to. Given the different dimensions of the countries and the differentiated complexities of the processes and conditions of peace, the number of life histories is adapted to these conditions. This project is conducted together with the already established local partnerships: CEIC – Centro de Estudos e Investigação Científica (Catholic University of Angola) and Cruzeiro do Sul-Instituto de Investigação para o Dsenvolvimento José Negrão (Mozambique).

Go to the website