Tracing State Fragility and Trapping the Panacea: Case Studies of Afghanistan and Zimbabwe
Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies (IHEID)
FRAGILE STATES: GLOBAL PERSPECTIVES, Sudha Menon, ed., pp. 160-189, Icfai University Press, 2008
State fragility is a pressing problem in the international scenario today, endangering the lives of millions and worrying policy-makers even in the developed world as the spill-over effects of economic crises, crime and terrorism loom large in the horizon. The paper attempts to study the problems of aid and other global efforts and the potential role that the civil society is capable of playing. Fragile states being mostly the post-colonial states, share similar historical experiences of colonialism and the 'accident of borders', which are the root causes behind the wobbliness of the state and the societal dissidence. Besides, the donors who arrive to help these countries have their own clandestine interests to pursue. As a result, the much-needed aid gets enmeshed in corruption and double-dealing. In this perspective we undertook two mini case studies - one covers Afghanistan and the other deals with Zimbabwe. These reveal two different pictures of fragile states - one ravaged by two decades of civil war and now cowering under Islamist insurgency and the other is the tale of a once-strong African economy struggling to feed itself, thanks to the dictator's faulty politico-economic policies. The international community has made a "donor darling" out of the former, while the latter remains largely unnoticed - a "donor orphan". The paper thus emphasizes on a case and context-specific approach to address vulnerabilities of such states. The "one size fits all" will indeed take us nowhere.
Keywords: fragile states, LICUS, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe
JEL Classification: N45, N47, N40, O53, O55working papers series
Date posted: October 12, 2008 ; Last revised: March 28, 2010
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