Secession and Precedent in Sudan and Africa

Published: 
November 19, 2010
By: 
Jon Temin

African leaders have recently expressed concern that the possible division of Sudan may lead to a domino effect of other secessions on the continent—but closer analysis questions how likely this may be.

Summary

  • African leaders have recently expressed concern that the possible division of Sudan may lead to a domino effect of other secessions on the continent—but closer analysis questions how likely this may be.
  • Africa’s borders are largely accepted; it is only a distinct few cases (including Sudan) in which they could be reconsidered.
  • While there are many secession movements in Africa, most are weak and few stand a real chance of success, or have the international support they would need to advance their cause. This minimizes the likelihood of a wave of follow-on secessions if Southern Sudan chooses to secede.

About this Brief

This Peace Brief was written by Jon Temin, a senior program officer in USIP’s Center for Mediation and Conflict Resolution, where he focuses on Sudan and leads the Institute’s Sudan team. He travels to Sudan frequently and has significant experience in other regions of Africa.

November 19, 2010