The Anatomy of Fragile States in Sub-Saharan Africa: Understanding the Inter-relationship Between Fragility and Deprivation

According to most classifications, Sub-Saharan Africa is the region of the world with the highest presence of fragile states. In this paper we examine the relationship between fragility and poverty, suggesting that countries may become trapped in a vicious circle of fragility and high levels of deprivation. We consider fragility as a continuum and begin by reviewing available measures. These show the high presence of fragility in Sub-Saharan Africa and allow the more fragile countries to be identified. There is seen to be a strong association between fragility, poor growth performance and deprivation in Sub-Saharan Africa. Building on the strong evidence for the two-way relationship between economic growth and poverty, we present an analysis of how the vicious circle linking deprivation and fragility may be able to be broken. We argue that building successful institutions is key here, and this can be enabled by specific policy interventions which are both poverty reducing and productive.