Ethiopia most-worsened fragile state: Index reveals

ESAT News (June 9, 2017)

The annual Fragile States Index (FSI) compiled by the Fund for Peace revealed that Ethiopia has become the most-worsened fragile country over the past year owing to economic disparities, poor access to internet and communications as well as failing health infrastructure, among others.

“Ethiopia’s overall Fragile States Index (FSI) score has been incrementally worsening over the past decade, moving from 95.3 in 2007, to a score of 101.1 in this year’s 2017 index, with Ethiopia — along with Mexico — being the most-worsened country over the past year,” the 2017 Fragile States Index (FSI).

The Index ranked Ethiopia 15th, with South Sudan being the 1st and Denmark, the least fragile at 178th.

Among the key reasons for the worsening score in the Index was the complete control of the country’s resources, economy and military by the oligarchy.

“Tigray elites are perceived to still hold significant political power within the essentially one-party state. Military leadership has also been dominated by Tigrayans, which makes perceptions of Tigray influence within the state apparatus all the more unpalatable to populations that feel increasingly excluded,” the Index noted.

“The highly centralized nature of the EPRDF means that the nine ethno-linguistic regions of Ethiopia have limited power and resources for provision of public services. The military also plays an active role in reinforcing the centralized development agenda – with much of the county’s development driven via the military-controlled conglomerate Metals, Engineering Corporation (METEC),” the report said.

The Index pointed out that the gap and growing disparities in public services between the urban areas such as Addis Ababa and rural areas – where 81% of the population still live, the country’s failing public services score due to poor access to internet and communications, as well as limited improvements in water and sanitation facilities within the county, failing health infrastructure with just 0.02 doctors per 1,000 people within the populous country, were also mentioned in the Index as reasons for the poor score.

As a 2016 report by Dutch think tank Clingendael surmised, this increases risks of “corruption, nepotism and inefficient resource allocation,” all of which can increase the disconnect between development and rural populations, the FSI noted.

Last week the 2017 Global Peace Index listed Ethiopia among the bottom five countries that have become less peaceful. The report ranked Ethiopia 134th out the 161 countries included in the study.