The fiscal effects of armed conflicts in Africa

This study examines the impact of armed conflicts on the fiscal capacity of African governments. It made use of a data set covering 1997–2021 for 50 countries, as well as the system dynamic generalised method of moment estimation technique. The results show that, in the short run, conflicts undermine tax revenue, mount pressure on military expenditure, and force governments to rely more on mineral resource rents for their fiscal needs. As conflicts persist, this fiscal feature changes to a pattern that reflects a decline in mineral resource earnings and an increase in tax revenue. The impact on public health expenditure also changes from an increasing to a decreasing pattern, whereas the positive impact on military expenditure and external borrowing persists over time. The findings suggest that African countries in conflict can address their fiscal challenges by observing these patterns and putting in place policies that protect public resources (e.g., the adoption of digital financial technology protocols to facilitate remote revenue collection and strategic protection of mineral resource-endowed zones from insurgents' control). Overall, enhancing government effectiveness and strengthening the institutions of governance is important to facilitate a quick return to normalcy in the event of conflict and to prevent future conflicts.

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This article has appeared in African Development Review, Volume 35, Issue 4, December 2023, Pages 444-456 (

Author(s) / editor(s)

Abel Ezeoha, Anthony Igwe, Chinwe Okoyeuzu & Chibuike Uche

About the author(s) / editor(s)

Abel Ezeoha, Faculty of Management Sciences, Alex-Ekwueme Federal University, Ndufu-Alike, Nigeria
Anthony Igwe, Enugu Campus, UNEC Enugu, University of Nigeria, Enugu, Nigeria
Chinwe Okoyeuzu, Enugu Campus, UNEC Enugu, University of Nigeria, Enugu, Nigeria
Chibuike Uche, Stephen Ellis Chair for the Governance of Finance and Integrity in Africa

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