Horizontal inequalities (HIs) are inequalities among groups with common felt cultural identities. These identities follow different lines across societies and across time. They include ethnic, religious, racial, or regional affiliations. HIs are multidimensional, including inequalities in access to political, economic and social resources, as well as in cultural recognition and status. Not only does unequal access to political, economic, and social resources and inequalities of cultural status have a serious negative impact on the welfare of members of poorer groups, but the presence of severe HIs, especially where consistent across dimensions and across salient group identities, has also been shown to increase the likelihood of the emergence of violent conflict in multiethnic societies. In this paper, we analyse and discuss the prevailing HIs in the three West African countries in which CRISE has done research for the past four years: Nigeria, Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire. In addition to discussing the nature and extent of the prevailing HIs, we review a range of country-specific policy recommendations that could contribute to reducing both actual and perceived HIs in the political, economic and cultural status dimensions in each of these countries. Many of the policy suggestions stem from successful experiences in one or other of the countries.
CRISE Working Paper 45, 45 pp.