Based on the strength and potency of their institutions and apparatuses to create the social good which includes security, welfare and happiness of the people, states are often described as functional, failed or fragile. A state is generally considered to have failed when it is no longer able to consistently and legitimately enforce its laws or provide its citizens with basic goods and services.
A fragile state is a state whose central government is so weak or ineffective that it has little practical control over much of its territory, characterized by inadequate or no provision of public services, widespread corruption and criminality; refugees and involuntary movement of populations and sharp economic decline.
The fragile states index provides a quantitative approach to understanding the fragility of a state; it measures the vulnerability of a state in pre-conflict, conflict and post-conflict situations.
The index comprises twelve conflict risk indicators that are used to measure the condition of a state at any given moment which includes; security apparatus, factionalized elites, group grievances, economic decline, uneven economic development, human flight and brain drain, state legitimacy, public service, human rights and rule of law, demographic pressures, refugees and IDPs and external interventions.
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Since 2005, the index has included all UN member states and has been published annually by the fund for peace and the magazine foreign policy. Countries are ranked on a score of 120 with the highest rated most fragile and the lowest rated the least fragile.
According to the 2022 report, Yemen tops the fragile index with a score of 111.7 followed by Somalia (110.5), Syria (108.4), South Sudan (108.4) and the Central African Republic (108.1). Finland at 179th position is the least Fragile country in the world with a score of 15.1 followed by Norway (15.6), Iceland (17.1), New Zealand (17.5) and Denmark (18.1). The US is at the 140th position with a score of 46.6, Ukraine 92nd position and Russia is at 75th position.
Nigeria is currently the 16th most fragile state in the world with a score of 97.2 which indicates a slight improvement from 98 scored in 2021. However, since 2007, Nigeria has maintained the top decile position of fragile states in the world, oscillating between the alert zone (90-100) and the high alert zone (100-110). The worst zone is the very high alert zone which is 111-120
Since the FSI is based on global ranking, the unique internal pattern of a State’s fragility and its intensity across different years are often silent and overlooked. For example, in 2022 where Nigeria recorded FSI score of 97.2, the country has experienced worse economic shock compared with many years before. In June 2022, the country recorded an all time highest annual inflation rate at 18.6 percent month-on-month increase which is also predicted to further increase by the end of Q4, whereas in 2013 where the country recorded FSI score of 100.7, inflation rate was put at 8.48 percent. Even in 2016 where the highest FSI score of 103.5 was recorded, inflation rate in the country was 15.68 percent.
Between 2020 and 2022, the country has experienced the highest brain drain and human movement out of the country. The Central Bank of Nigeria reported that more than $US39billion was spent on schooling and accessing health care abroad between 2010 and 2020. More so, $220.86million was reported to have been spent on foreign education between December 2021 and February 2022.
Towards the end of 2021, the concept of Japa, which means to flee the country in search of better living conditions abroad had become a popular mantra in the day-to-day relations of many young Nigerians, showing more Nigerians are ready to leave the country to school or work abroad. Major destinations have been US, Canada, and UK. According to the CBN, the flight from the country and increase in demand for Dollars to settle foreign education bills has led to the free fall of Naira against the Dollar.