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Causes and Consequences of Fragility in Africa: The Experience of the Greater Lakes Region


Nyende Magidu, Macro-Economics Department, Economic Policy Research Centre, P.O. Box 7841, Kampala, Uganda. Email:


This article identifies the consequences of fragility in African states but with more focus on countries in the Greater Lakes region. Such countries constitute a development challenge given their enormous needs and difficulties associated with implementation of recovery and development programmes. Although there is no universally agreed definition of fragility, this study pays much attention to both national conflicts and those with a regional bearing. Given the scale and frequency of these conflicts, Africa has witnessed the destruction of institutions, infrastructures and systems which have impacted negatively on the growth of economies. The article reviews the causes and analyses the consequences of fragility and the conclusions are that the causes range from historical perspectives, social to economic. Similarly, the consequences not only include the destruction of human capital, institutions and infrastructures, but also the erosion of good governance and accountability. This article also emphasises the principles for engagement in the stabilisation, recovery and development programmes, but most important is the reorganisation of capacity constraints and political will as well as aligning interventions with local priorities and systems. The article concludes that provision of recovery and development programmes should be integrated within the local programmes for ownership and sustainability in such engagements and financing mechanisms should be aligned within the existing framework for efficiency and effectiveness.