THE INTRACTABLE LEGACIES OF THE 1884/85 BERLIN CONFERENCE ON WEST AFRICAN HOMOGENEOUS POPULATIONS
The current challenges of nation building that most African nations are facing cannot be expunged from the decisions made at Berlin Conference of 1884 to 1885 in Germany. That is, the interference and outcomes made by the major European powers including the United States to partition the hitherto homogenous communities that had lived together for time immemorial. The insensitivity and the imperialism are some of the structural drivers of underdevelopment and political wrangling in the continent, particularly in the West African region. The homogenous populations have been marginalized and underserved for too long due to this circumstance. Several lives and property are being lost while millions of people and livelihoods are being displaced as a result of the inability and dilemma of the indigenous governments to focus on the demarcated peoples. Drawing from extensive historical reviews and conflict databases, the study, while uncovering the affected homogenous communities of the alterations in the region, recounts how the identical populations along the borderlines had lived prior to the partition. It analyses the nature and characteristics of conflict and violence that the mostly affected populations are being confronted with despite various national governments’ development programmes. Therefore, to mitigate the legacies and burdens of the separation, the study advises the African national governments, regional bodies and development partners to deepen good governance and border management strategies that will foster robust socio-economic lives, security and development of the straddled populations. It is then that the impact of the Conference will be lightened in the heart and lives of the people at the inter-border homogenous societies as the region faces the 21st century development challenges.
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