State Recovery is a Marathon, not a Sprint

In relation to last week’s discussion on Côte d’Ivoire’s path to recovery, I will continue to present examples of areas where the country has improved, needs improvement, and how to continue improving.

An article titled “A Tale of Two Countries: Is Côte d’Ivoire on the Path to Recovery?” written October 2013 provides an overview of events from the November 2010 presidential election until today, and how a country so deeply divided has been able to take positive steps forward. The author highlights these encouraging signs:

Of course there is still much more to be done, especially by President Ouattara as he seeks votes for the upcoming 2015 campaign. Here are some suggestions of areas where the president should focus his efforts:

  • Reconcile Ivoirians across the political, ethnic, and religious spectrum
  • Incorporate and meaningfully engage the FPI in the political process
  • Distribute equal justice for the grave human rights violations, both by Gbagbo and Ouattara supporters, that occurred between the post-electoral period and today

Now, in terms of how Côte d’Ivoire can continue recuperating from state failure, the following are two possible responses:

Traditional or Status Quo (Kraxberger 51)

  1. Maintaining existing territories
  2. Foreign aid in the form of money, tangible goods, and technical assistance
  3. Peacekeeping missions authorized by the UN or regional bodies
  4. Relatively short time horizons, usually around 2-5 years

Alternative (Kraxberger 62)

  1. Longer time horizons for state building projects
  2. Greater flexibility to redraw the territories of states
  3. Take into account the concept of regional contagion
  4. Reconsideration of state sovereignty or trusteeship models
  5. Allow dysfunctional regions to become “stateless zones”

“Especially in weak states (not failed states) that are already on a path to recovery, foreign aid can play a very helpful role in accelerating stabilization,” (Kraxberger 55). Because Côte d’Ivoire has shown positive signs, I believe a combination of increased foreign aid and a longer presence of development projects will be most beneficial. Although Côte d’Ivoire has received foreign aid in the past, I question whether some external powers are more valuable than others. In my next post, I will identify specific entities that established projects in Côte d’Ivoire and analyze their ability to remove this country’s image as a weak state.


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