The changing face of African state fragility


“Fragility is not restricted to a certain number of states, you can have it in countries that are considered stable, and this is linked to the whole issue of what the causes of fragility are. Amongst [them], you have the issue of increasing income and inequality in society, marginalisation of people, economic isolation and so on,” African Development Bank state panel member Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi told CNBC Africa.

“When you look at that, you realise it doesn’t limit this particular issue to a few fixed states. We also recognise that looking at Africa over the past decade, more and more countries have come out of conflict.”

Fraser-Moleketi added that while there had been new conflicts in the continent in countries such as South Sudan and the Central African Republic, the continent has still come a long way from its struggle-laden past.


Fragility has however become regionalised in nature, and can in some cases increase the level of vulnerability between states.

“Vulnerability is the reality that we have [with] the demographic boom, where you have larger and larger numbers of young people and very high levels of youth unemployment. It’s not an issue restricted to Africa, it’s a global phenomenon, but Africa is facing it in a big way,” Fraser-Moleketi explained.

“Secondly, with increasing urbanisation, you see the rural urban drift, the fact that cities are unable to absorb the numbers, the whole question of migration elsewhere, and these are real issues.”

The extractive boom in countries that originally weren’t resource-rich also plays a vital role in the future of African economies, to what extent it will benefit the people, service delivery, better public administration, aspects that are currently dilapidated the various African regions.

“I don’t think Africa’s challenge has really been in policy formulation, or in considering different policies. Our challenge has been in implementation. It again comes back to state capacity. To what extent are governments able to implement the policies that are out there? Even for the increasing need to involve other stakeholders as well like the private sector, you need to have a sound regulatory environment,” said Fraser-Moleketi.