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Doubts grow over reforms for Africa's fragile states

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Subject

International state-building aid and interventions in Africa.

Significance

The five most 'fragile' states in the 2014 Fragile States Index are in Africa: South Sudan, Somalia, the Central African Republic (CAR), the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Sudan. Of these, South Sudan and Somalia in particular have been subject to major international efforts at 'state-building'. Meanwhile the DRC, Sudan and to some extent the CAR have for many years hosted high levels of humanitarian aid and large UN, African Union (AU) or sub-regional peace-keeping missions. Yet doubts are growing over the assumptions and effectiveness of international state-building aid and interventions.

Impacts

  • Countries in or emerging from long-running conflicts will remain vulnerable to fragmentation and perform worst on global development goals.
  • Infrastructure development in the most conflict-affected countries will remain stunted, sometimes retarding regional linkage schemes.
  • Despite generalised prescriptions for state-building, the specific context will be the decisive factor in success of any interventions.
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