2020 CIFP Fragility Report

Fragile and Conflict-Affected States (FCAS) remain more relevant than ever. After a brief period of declining fragility at the turn of the century, FCAS have become more prominent as their precarious situation worsens in a COVID 19 world. In the last decade or so, we have seen an increase in armed conflicts and violence around the world. The COVID 19 crisis has further exacerbated FCAS performance in several important ways by further weakening their capacity for response and prevention and by delinking their economies from global financial, trade and aid flows.

In our latest ranking presented in this report, Chad tops the list of FCAS. Sudan, Somalia, the Central African Republic and South Sudan make up the top five. Ranks five to ten are occupied, in order, by Yemen, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, West Bank and Gaza, and Eritrea. A year-over-year comparison with previous rankings from the Country Indicators for Foreign Policy (CIFP) project shows that Somalia, Chad, the Central African Republic, Afghanistan, Sudan and South Sudan rank consistently among the top poor performers and usually almost always within the top five for several years. These are countries that we would typically characterize as being trapped in fragility.

The majority of the top 20 most fragile states are located in Sub-Saharan Africa, a finding that is consistent with our historical data (www.carleton.ca/cifp). The rest are in the Middle East and North Africa, namely Syria, Yemen and the West Bank and Gaza, and in Central and South Asia, namely Afghanistan and Pakistan. These regional distributions find concordance in our composite analysis of fragility using the Authority, Legitimacy and Capacity (ALC) cluster scores. The ALC and regional distribution assessments enable policy makers to evaluate the different characteristics of stateness, namely in terms of identifying the sources and extent of both weaknesses and strengths; it also assists policymakers in their decisions on where and how to engage by providing additional nuance to the question of fragility.

The remainder of this report examines the implications of COVID 19 for FCAS. We consider health, economic, and political related impacts. The report concludes with policy implications for donor engagement in FCAS.

Read the full report here.

Banner image by Clay Banks, courtesy of Unsplash.

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