Africa’s Fragile States Need Extra Help

UN military escort
UN military escort. Photo: Julien Harneis/flickr.

It is true for Mali and Somalia. But not for Burkina Faso or Kenya. To be labelled a ‘fragile state’ is not something any country in Africa welcomes. The category implies that a country is unable to borrow on the market and faces stringent conditionalities put in place by international financial institutions such as the World Bank. It carries the stigma of incapacity and lack of progress; of poverty, violence and poor governance.

Despite the welcome news of ‘Africa rising’, new research shows that ten African states will remain fragile for much longer than previously anticipated.

In a recent policy paper, Africa’s 55 countries have been classified as either ‘more fragile’ or ‘more resilient’. By 2050 more than 1 billion people, about half Africa’s population, are forecast to be living in ‘more fragile’ countries. Yet this number could be reduced to only 372 million, or 16% of the continent’s population, with the right interventions.