The fiscal effects of armed conflicts in Africa

TitleThe fiscal effects of armed conflicts in Africa
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2023
AuthorsA. Ezeoha, A. Igwe, C. Okoyeuzu, and C.U. Uche
Secondary TitleAfrican development review
Date Published2023
Publication Languageeng
KeywordsAfrica, armed conflicts, health expenditure, military expenditure, mineral rent, tax revenue

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.

Citation Key12704