Abstract for: Conflict Dynamics and Peacemaking: Understanding the Security, Aid and Development Nexus in Africa

Recurring civil conflicts in Africa demonstrate reference behaviors that may be explained through dynamic feedback between peacekeeping, aid, and development interventions at the nexus between security and development. In previous work, I have demonstrated a theoretically grounded approach for combining individual agency and system-level dynamics for evaluating impact of these interventions on resiliency of various actors in instances of recurring armed civil conflict. This model incorporates individual agency with system dynamics to operationalize a resiliency framework for policy analysis. The model has been further developed and tested in a study of the Somali conflict, based on field work in East Africa with government representatives, soldiers, aid workers, and development specialists in six different countries. New, local-level feedback loops help explain recurring conflict as a function of combatant and societal resiliency for different intervention vectors. These insights are extrapolated to hypothesize causality for different system behaviors in civil conflict, and how micro-level and macro-level data in Africa map to these behaviors. While suggestive of causal mechanisms, this analysis demonstrates the need for finer-grained (e.g., micro-level) data over longer time periods to fully understand how resources inserted into conflict by external actors exacerbate security risks and when they contribute to stability.