Tag Archives: West Africa
There has been a lot of bad news out of West Africa recently. Coup d’états have destabilized Mali and Guinea-Bissau. Nigeria has seen a series of terrorist attacks. Toureg rebels have conquered northern Mali and declared independence. Cote d’Ivoire is still recovering from its civil war. Meanwhile, there are reports about drug trafficking, al-Qaeda in the Maghreb, and a food crisis in the making.
No region in the world has more fragile states than West Africa. The region, which consists of the fifteen countries stretching from Senegal to Nigeria, exemplifies the problems of state building when surrounded by other fragile states. Pint-sized, expensive markets keep most countries isolated from the dynamic changes globalization is bringing elsewhere. The region’s aggregate GDP is roughly the same as Norway’s—despite having over fifty times more people. Although Ghana and Senegal have made significant political and/or economic gains in recent years, most of the other states have been rocked by war, ethnic or religious clashes, political unrest, famine, or serious economic dislocation at various times over the past two decades. (more…)
One of the largest problems in fragile states is how the government operates. There is a enormous shortage of capable managers and executives to staff key organizations. Externally driven initiatives aimed at improving capacity generally fall far short of expectations.
Recruiting professionals from outside the country to work either in specific positions or as special assistants to senior officials is one of the best ways to fill immediate needs, transfer skills, and encourage highly qualified people to relocate permanently to the country. Focusing on young members of the diaspora–including at times diaspora from neighboring countries–increases the chance that individuals will be familiar with local culture and conditions and will be interested in staying longer-term. (more…)