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Brussels Briefing 51: James Putzel "What have we learned about fragile states: challenges and opportunities"


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The next Brussels Development Briefing no. 51 on ”Agriculture as an engine of economic reconstruction and development in fragile countries ” took place on 27 June 2018 from 09h00 to 13h00, ACP Secretariat, Brussels 451 Avenue Georges Henri, 1200 Brussels. This Briefing was organised by the ACP-EU Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation (CTA), in collaboration with the European Commission / DEVCO, the ACP Secretariat, and CONCORD.

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Brussels Briefing 51: James Putzel "What have we learned about fragile states: challenges and opportunities"

  1. 1. Presented to briefing, “Agriculture as an engine of economic reconstruction and development in fragile countries” Brussels 27 June 2018 Professor James Putzel International Development Department London School of Economics and Political Science 1
  2. 2. Outline 1. Rise of “state fragility” on international agenda 2. Problems with donor definitions of “fragility” 3. An alternative approach 4. Implications for economic and agricultural policy 2
  3. 3. 1. “State fragility” has become central to the international development policy agenda  1990s: “failed states” and “rogue states” – heavily ideological  9/11 2001: Western Security Concerns  “Problematic partners” are now called “fragile states”  In 2016, the OECD (2016) reported: 67% of all ODA to “fragile contexts” 3
  4. 4. 2. Problems in donor definitions of “fragility” For many years OECD defined “state fragility” in Principles for Good International Engagement with Fragile States (OECD) “States are fragile when state structures lack political will and/or capacity to provide the basic functions needed for poverty reduction, development and to safeguard the security and human rights of their populations” (OECD DAC 2007) Practically, fragility was measured by World Bank’s CPIA Index What is wrong with such definitions? 4
  5. 5. World Bank’s CPIA Index was used to “measure” fragility Any country that scores less than 3.2 or has no CPIA rating was considered as fragile by the Bank. CPIA designed to allocate IDA grants not to measure fragility:  economic management;  structural policies;  policies for social inclusion;  public sector management Used by: Global Monitoring of MDGs Most bi-lateral donors CPIA Index for Mali 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 3.56 3.61 3.45 3.49 3.53 5
  6. 6. Central problem in donor approach to fragility: No differentiation between poor countries that have achieved peace and those that have not  By definition: MOST DEVELOPING COUNTRIES LACK CAPACITY  “Fragile states” is a useful concept only if focus on a state’s basic functions and vulnerability to violent conflict  There is a difference between “poor countries” and countries “vulnerable to large scale violence” 6
  7. 7. Many poor countries in SSA have avoided major conflict Human Development Index ranking out of 182 countries: Tanzania (151) Zambia (164) both enjoyed decades of stability. Countries that ranked lower than Tanzania and Zambia on the HDI, but which have avoided major conflict: Ghana (152), Cameroon (153), Lesotho (156), Togo (159), Malawi (160) Benin (161), Gambia (168), Guinea (170), The question of state fragility: “Why SOME countries at the bottom of the income ladder have spiralled into conflict and state collapse while others have not?”  Ask “why Tanzania has remained peaceful, rather than why it remained poor?” 7
  8. 8. To understand “state fragility” need a category of “state resilience”  Identifying “fragility” requires a category of “state resilience” - State may be poor but achieve peace - Resilient states “buy in” elites - Maintain the state as the site of decision-making  State resilience creates the space for state-building - National identity and institutions of citizenship - Intercommunity communication - Acceptance of territorial boundaries - Recognition of national laws (state institutions) even if poorly enforced Consider the contrast between Tanzania and the DRC 8
  9. 9. Donor Response  G7 + : International Dialogue for Peace Making and State Building  First OECD move incorporated WB and AfDB lists and sites of UN peacekeeping missions  2011: WDR on Conflict  2015-16 OECD a “new departure”: “Fragility is defined as the combination of exposure to risk and insufficient coping capacity of the state, system and/or communities to manage, absorb or mitigate those risks” (OECD, 2016, 22) 9
  10. 10. OECD’s new conceptualisation of “fragility”: risks and capacities (OECD, 2016) 10 Dimension Description of risk vulnerabilities Economic weaknesses in economic foundations and human capital Environmental environmental, climatic and health Political  political processes, events or decisions;  lack of political inclusiveness  transparency, corruption  society’s ability to accommodate change and avoid oppression Security violence (political & social) and crime Societal societal cohesion - vertical and horizontal inequalities
  11. 11. Summary on fragility  Original donor definitions were based on: - a bifurcation of states - notion that “all good things go together”  New OECD definition is multi-dimensional and more concerned with violence, but: - takes focus off the state - still fails to distinguish fragility & resilience - loaded with all-encompassing risks - still confuses “fragility” with lack of development  “State Fragility” is NOT principally about development  Donors need a concept of “state resilience” distinct from development 11
  12. 12. 3. An alternative “fragility to resilience” spectrum State fragility  Armed challenges threaten state power  State territorial reach limited  Non-state taxation & skewed state spending by identity groups  Institutional multiplicity (Putzel & Di John, 2012) State Resilience  Monopoly of legitimate violence  State reaches the significant territory  Monopoly of taxation & revenue spending non- discriminatory by identity group  Institutional hegemony 12 States can become more fragile or more resilient over time. “State Fragility” is a temporal condition, NOT a static category.
  13. 13. This framework provides diagnostic tools to assess “state fragility” and identify policy  analysis of what is different about states vulnerable to violent conflict  better diagnostics (analogous to Rodrik’s “growth diagnostics”) Analysis of Mali (van de Walle, 2012) - Donor darling in 2000s - donors ignored that state: * was unable to defeat armed insurgents * lacked territorial control * lacked command of revenue & skewed spending * alienated Tuareg and their alternative rules/institutions 13 Mali - Daily Telegraph 5 Apr 2012
  14. 14. Implications for Economic Policy  Address horizontal inequalities - state expenditure and rents and aid should reduce identity group inequalities  Promote internal economic integration - economic reform usually aims at integrating economies into global systems Formalise informal economic activities - informal economy is a site of exclusion and resource mobilisation to challenge the state. Recognise that rents may be central to peace building - exclusive focus on corruption is misguided Policy needs to address wealth creation and not simply job creation - opportunities for elite investment in production in agriculture and industry (also creates jobs).  Aid through government systems and on budget (SWAPs, dual key) - avoid creating a “dual public sector” (rival centres of authority) Addressing fragility may imply different priorities than addressing the SDGs - MDG targets were inappropriate to issues of fragility and resilience. 14
  15. 15. Implications for Agricultural Policy Site agricultural projects, infrastructure and investment to reduce horizontal inequality - Take account of geographical regions and identity groups previously excluded or deprived (not only efficiency criteria) Agricultural & rural policies for internal economic integration - Balance between production of staples and other commercial crops (food security unlikely to be achieved only through market access) - Promote manufacturing providing agri-inputs and processing agri-outputs Encourage state capacity in agricultural and related activities - State attention to agricultural markets, control of taxation of rural activities, knowledge to ensure agricultural extension activities and agri-statistics capacity Land policies that ensure elite “buy in” to state and address land grievances when they drive violent conflict - Rent allocation and land and job access that reduce horizontal inequality and restore or compensate those who have been displaced from land Policy needs to address wealth creation and not simply job creation - opportunities for elite investment in production in agriculture and linked industry Addressing fragility may imply different priorities in addressing the SDG Goal 2 than in more stable and resilient states - Agricultural priorities must addresses issues that allowed/encouraged rural people to engage in violence in the past 15
  16. 16. References  Look at: Crisis States Research Network ( lopment/research/crisisStates/Home.asp x )  Putzel, J and J DiJohn (2012) Meeting Challenges of Crisis States  Gutierrez et al, (2011) Measuring Poor State Performance. CSRC 16 Somalia (Puntland) © ACP in FT 10-02-2017