By Suleiman Sandal
According to Pall Collier and AnkeHoeffler, low perception income, relying on natural resource and poverty are sources of conflict and civil wars in Africa. Higher per capita income reduces the duration of the civil war. The latter is overwhelming a’ phenomenon of low-income countries.
The issue of identity generates conflicts and threatens the survival of nations. Elements of identity are race, ethnicity, culture, language and religion. After the cold war, identity has been an increasing phenomenon in the world as a source o
f conflict. The question that arises is the definition of identity. As Craw Ford Young puts it, “identity is subjective, individual phenomenon; it is shaped through a constantly recurrent question to ego, ‘Who am I?’ with its corollary, ‘who is he I?’ Generalized to the collectivity these questions become ‘Who are we?’ and ‘Who are they?'(9).
One important component of identity is ethnicity. There are many definitions of this term. According to Nelson Kasfir, ethnicity “encompasses all forms of identity that have at their root in the nation of common ancestor-race z(race language, culture, place of birth) usually provide the possible limits, subjective perception of either the identifier or the identified whether objective accurate or not, may turn out to be decisive for that I situation (10).
Identity constitutes one of the primary sources of conflict in the world, particularly in the African countries. The former apartheid system in South Africa is an example of the racially stereotyping model. Moreover, the conflict of identity prevails in Burundi and Rwanda, Chad and many Sahel countries. It was the case in Uganda, which went through eight years of civil war, Sri Lanka, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Congo and some crises in Central Asia.
Sudan also is an example of applying context of race and ethnicity. The Sudanese in North referred to as Arabs, are primary Africans, who speak Arabic, and are Muslims, they arc Arabized culturally, and they have some elements of Arab racial characteristic. The problem is overwhelming the whole country with Arabism as an identity, which has been one of the major reasons for the conflict between South and me government non-Arab elements in the North.
Ethiopia is another country where the issue of identity is controversial both in to be a narrow sense of what an individual or group identity mean in subjective and objective terms and the extent of which the national framework is identified with the dominant group rather than accommodating all identities. Historically the Amhara have played a role similar to that played by those who claim to be Arabs in the Sudan. The only difference, but a major one, is that except for the royal lineage, if the emperor, which attached importance to ancestral origins and genealogy, the Amhara placed more emphasis on their culture than on ancestry or genealogies. The source of their identity and then became synonymous with Ethiopian national identity. Although Amhara culture was used as the base for the nation -wide assimilation, which in itself is contestable, Amhara decent StiUgare claim a preeminent status over other Ethiopians(l1).