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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program

Political Science

Degree Type

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Directed by: Professor Meredith Rolfe

What are the factors that contribute to peace after civil conflict? What are the factors that contribute to conflict recurrence after civil conflict? In this comparative analysis, Burkina Faso’s military coup in 1988 and Togo’s military coup from 1987-1990 provide two most similar cases that allow for a better understanding of what leads to peace or conflict recurrence. Colonial histories, economics, and natural resource mining are three major factors present in this comparative case analysis that explain why Burkina Faso’s conflict has ended with peace while Togo’s conflict has recurred.

Through a colonial history analysis, the importance of colonial extractive institutions becomes clear in both the economic development and the patterns of conflict of each country. The institutions from the colonial administration in each state have shaped the institutions after independence. This has resulted in poor levels of development and ineffective institutions and systems of governance. Moreover, colonial asymmetric intervention and the resulting treatment of ethnic groups connects to post-independence ethnic inequalities and tensions that have fueled conflict recurrence in Togo. The clear ethnic oppression of the Kwa peoples in Togo has fueled the continuation of conflict. In comparison, the lack of clear ethnic oppression in Burkina Faso contributes to how peace developed after conflict.

The economic analysis here presents the issues of how poor economic performance and lower levels of development can fuel conflict and vice versa. Both countries are underdeveloped and suffer from poor institutions. In addition to this, there are also issues regarding protectionism. Burkina Faso has very strong economic protections which have prevented serious issues of economic volatility, but these protective measures have also contributed to limited growth. Togo on the other hand has very few economic protections which have resulted in a highly volatile and vulnerable economy. Additionally, economic decision making and diagnostics in both governments are considered. In Togo, a poor economic diagnosis had resulted in a serious economic crisis before the start of the conflict. Burkina Faso on the other hand did not suffer from poor economic issue diagnostics and therefore did not suffer the same consequences.

Finally, through an analysis of natural resource mining policies in both Burkina Faso and Togo, it become clear that there are very different opportunities for human development which is key in conflict prevention in this analysis. In Burkina Faso mining policies allow for better levels of human development while in Togo mining policies prevent opportunities for improved human development. Here, it becomes clear that economic growth is not as important as policies promoting human development in efforts to promote peace and prevent conflict recurrence.

The combination of colonial histories, issues of economics and economic development, and mining policies are studied in this research to clarify why Togo experienced conflict recurrence while Burkina Faso had lasting peace. Clearly, economic growth as evidenced by the Togolese experience does not prevent conflict recurrence. Instead, better opportunities for human development and a more stable economy provided the basis for peace in Burkina Faso. Mining policy in Burkina Faso is the source of the opportunities for human development. Moreover, colonial histories account for institutional quality, ethnic divisions, and levels of development in both Togo and Burkina Faso. By addressing colonial histories and generating a better understanding of their impact on present-day societies, peace and conflict can be better addressed. Moreover, it becomes clear that opportunities for human development present themselves as a way to obtain peace after civil conflicts.


First Advisor

Meredith Rolfe

Second Advisor

Rebecca Hamlin