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Failed States Index Report: Six of Top Ten Most Unstable Countries in Africa


A new report finds that six of the world's 10 most unstable countries are in Africa, with Sudan topping the list.

The report issued Tuesday by Foreign Policy magazine and the Fund for Peace ranked countries on 12 social, political and military indicators as measured during the second half of 2005.

It shows Iraq and three other African countries, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ivory Coast, and Zimbabwe, rounding out the top five nations that are acutely vulnerable to internal conflict and social disintegration. Filling out the top ten on the list were Chad, Somalia, Haiti, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The report says basic governance remains a huge challenge for many states. It says international institutions such as the United Nations and World Bank may help, but large-scale nation building by outsiders is costly and complex.

For the purposes of the study, the authors defined a failing state as one in which the government does not have effective control of its territory, is not perceived as legitimate by a significant portion of its population, does not provide domestic
security or basic public services to its citizens and lacks a monopoly on the use of force.

The study said it is almost impossible to predict when and how a state will fail, but it was essential for policymakers to understand the strengths and weaknesses that create the conditions for state failure.

The authors said there were few quick fixes to help nations become more stable. They said, however, appointment of independent judges, development of a competent civil-service and implementation of anti-corruption campaigns are often key to improving a country's governance.

Information for this report is provided by AFP.

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