By MALCOLM ROBINSONREUTERS A new study has shown that the culture wars raging in Africa are being fought over “cultural” and not “economic” issues, as previously thought.
It found that the fight over culture in Africa is not a matter of “economic nationalism” or “economic privilege”, but rather a “cultural battle” and a struggle between “class” and “race” in a nation.
The study, by the International Centre for the Study of War, found that while the struggle over culture is often portrayed as a clash between “nationalists” and the “international community”, the conflict actually has much more to do with the political power of certain groups.
Its co-author, Dr Daniel Skelton, said: “The cultural battle is a battle of two distinct but related competing ideologies: one is the ‘international community’ vs the ‘nationalist’ and the other is ‘class struggle’ vs ‘race struggle’.”
Dr Skelon said he hoped his study would serve as a reminder to “the wider public that there are competing, but fundamentally different, ideologies”.
The study analysed data from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the African Centre for Policy Research, two independent research bodies.
The UNFPA, a UK-based research agency, was set up in 2005 and was set to study the impact of the 2008 economic crisis on the lives of African people, in particular the effects of migration on the livelihoods of rural people.
The UN has previously said that its report on the crisis, called Crisis in Africa: The State of the World’s Children in 2008, was based on a number of flawed assumptions and ignored the role of the African diaspora.
It also said the report ignored the impact on the African economy of migrants and refugees who were fleeing violence in their home countries, and was unable to properly estimate the scale of migration.
The African Centre, meanwhile, said it had relied on the UN data to build its own model of migration and migration disruption, which was based largely on UNFSA data.
However, the report showed that the impact migration had had on African life, the economy and social and economic well-being had been “extremely under-studied” by the UNFPC and other agencies.
Dr Selton said the lack of a comprehensive, internationally agreed approach to the crisis was one of the main reasons why he and his colleagues wanted to look at the “real” effects of the crisis on Africa.
“This study has a lot to say for how the debate over migration and economic migration is being waged in Africa,” he said.
He said the “political struggle” had the potential to be a “powerful force” in shaping Africa’s future, and that the findings should be seen as a wake-up call for those who wanted to “reclaim our nation”.
“These are the people who are really at the core of our economic and political system,” he added.
“This is really important.
This is the people you need to talk to if you want to get the best of our people.”
The study found that a large majority of people, but not all, of African peoples, felt that migration had caused a rise in poverty, inequality and unemployment, and a rise of political violence.
Dr Selsons findings, published in the journal African Perspectives, also showed that there were significant differences in the attitudes and behaviours of the different “types” of people who have been impacted by migration.
According to the UN, there were two main types of migrants: those who fled violence and war in their homelands and those who arrived in the African continent from other countries.
Dr Daniel Selson says the study has important implications for the way in which the debate about migration and its impact on African people is being fought around the world.
A report by the European Commission, released in February, said migration had not increased poverty rates in Europe, but that the rise in inequality had been caused by “foreign migrants”.
The report also noted that “the global financial crisis has increased the political pressure on countries to accept and integrate more migrants”.
Dr Seltons work was funded by the University of East Anglia.
He has been working on the study for the past six years.
In 2015, the UN released its first global report on “The World’s Largest and Worst Offending Countries”.
That report found that some countries in the world had higher rates of violent crime than others, and suggested that the situation could change in the coming years.