Causes of conflict in Sudan: Testing the Black Book

Date: Jan, 2005
ODID Working Paper No. 121
Author(s): Alex Cobham (QEH)

The Black Book of Sudan claims to identify a pattern of political control - by people of its northern regions - which is unbroken during the post-independence period. This is the basis for the view of many of the rebels in the south and west of the country that the conflicts are the result not of racial or religious discrimination but rather of regional marginalisation. This paper uses the available data to evaluate the extent to which differences in regional access to power have resulted in differential human development progress. Indicators ranging from infant mortality to adult literacy, coupled with data on regional expenditure allocations, offer substantial support to the idea that policy has discriminated against the population of the southern and western regions, not least Darfur. The danger is that development community efforts that do not recognise the basis for the conflict may facilitate a continuation of the same distortions and sow the seeds for future conflict even before peace is achieved.

ODID Author(s)