Fragility is the quality of being easily broken, damaged, or destroyed. It can refer to physical objects or systems, as well as to human beings, organizations, or societies. Fragility can arise from a lack of strength, resilience, stability, or adaptability, and can result in vulnerability to external pressures, stresses, or shocks. Fragile systems or individuals are often more susceptible to failure or collapse under adverse conditions, while robust and resilient ones are better equipped to withstand and recover from such challenges. The concept of fragility is often used in fields such as engineering, economics, psychology, and political science, among others.
Fragility is the combination of exposure to risk and insufficient coping capacities of the state, system and/or communities to manage, absorb or mitigate those risks.
Fragile contexts account for a quarter (24%) of the world’s population but three-quarters (73%) of people living in extreme poverty worldwide (OECD 2022).
Fragility is compromising people, planet, and prosperity. In an interconnected world, addressing the root causes of multidimensional fragility is essential for sustainable development and peace.
Somalia has been ranked as one of the most fragile states in the world for many years. There are several reasons why Somalia is considered one of the most fragile states in the world, but here are some key factors:
- Long-standing political instability: Somalia has experienced political instability for several decades. The collapse of the Somali government in 1991 led to a prolonged civil war that lasted for many years. This conflict weakened the state’s institutions and created a vacuum of power that was filled by clan militias and warlords.
- Weak state institutions: Somalia’s state institutions, such as the judiciary, police, and military, have been weakened by years of conflict, corruption, and mismanagement. This has made it difficult for the state to provide basic services to its citizens, including security, healthcare, and education.
- High levels of poverty: Somalia is one of the poorest countries in the world, with a GDP per capita of around $350. Poverty is widespread, and many Somalis struggle to meet their basic needs, such as food, water, and shelter.
- Ongoing conflict: Despite some progress in recent years, Somalia continues to experience conflict and insecurity. The Islamist extremist group Al-Shabaab controls large parts of the country and carries out frequent attacks against government and civilian targets.
- Humanitarian crises: Somalia has experienced a series of humanitarian crises in recent years, including droughts, floods, and famines. These crises have exacerbated the country’s already high levels of poverty and displacement.
Overall, Somalia’s fragility is the result of a complex set of political, economic, and social factors that have combined to create a challenging environment for the country’s people and institutions. However, the fragility of Somalia is a complex issue that requires a multifaceted approach to be addressed. Some of the key steps that could be taken to address the fragility of Somalia include:
- Strengthening governance: Somalia’s government structures have been weak and unstable for many years, contributing to the country’s fragility. Efforts to strengthen governance could include building effective institutions and promoting transparency and accountability.
- Addressing conflict: Somalia has experienced conflict for many years, with various groups vying for power and control. Addressing this issue would require a concerted effort to promote peace and reconciliation, as well as addressing the root causes of conflict, such as poverty and marginalization.
- Improving security: The lack of security in Somalia is a major contributor to the country’s fragility. Improving security could involve building effective security institutions and working to address the underlying factors that contribute to insecurity, such as poverty and unemployment.
- Investing in social and economic development: Poverty and lack of economic opportunities are significant contributors to Somalia’s fragility. Investing in social and economic development could include creating jobs, improving access to education and healthcare, and building infrastructure.
- Promoting regional and international cooperation: Somalia’s fragility has regional and international implications, and addressing the issue will require cooperation and coordination between different actors. This could involve working with neighboring countries and international organizations to promote peace and stability in Somalia.
It’s important to note that addressing the fragility of Somalia will not be an easy or quick process, and will require sustained effort and commitment from a range of stakeholders.