The central challenge for sub-Saharan Africa is to build accountable, capable
governments that can deliver security and inclusive growth. Research into the drivers,
trends and characteristics of violence in Africa may help achieve these goals. This
paper firstly presents global and African trends in armed conflict since 1960, while
looking at armed conflict within the broader context of political violence using recent
event data. The fatality burden between key affected countries is also discussed.
The paper then turns to an examination of the high levels of non-state conflict in the
Middle East and Africa compared to the rest of the world and the systemic imbalances
that drive instability. Finally, challenges in measuring the relative contribution of violent
Islamist extremism to political violence are presented.