Thus far, I briefly introduced a history of Côte d’Ivoire and topics relating to how and why its stateness has weakened since the 1960s. However, I feel I have neglected some important questions: what does state weakness mean, especially for the people of Côte d’Ivoire? How has ineffective governance affected them?
State weakness encompasses a variety of definitions and is influenced by numerous factors, including its financial systems, transnational security, environmental stewardship, infrastructure and development, healthcare, and education. Unfortunately, Côte d’Ivoire has experienced its fair share of most, if not all, of these political goods.
When comparing the economic, political, social welfare, security and GNI per capita standing of the world’s 141 weakest states, Côte d’Ivoire placed in the bottom quintile for its overall score in 2008 (Rice and Stewart 10). Although there exist some methodological differences between the Failed States Index and the Brookings Institution’s Index of State Weakness in the Developing World, both reports have ranked Côte d’Ivoire with similarly low scores within the past five years. The Brookings report defines weak states as those incapable of “fostering an environment conducive to sustainable and equitable economic growth; establishing and maintaining legitimate, transparent, and accountable political institutions; securing their populations from violent conflict and controlling their territory; and meeting the basic human needs of their population,” (3).
“Nation-states fail because they are convulsed by internal violence and can no longer deliver positive political goods to their inhabitants,” (Rotberg 1). In light of this statement, here are a few comments from the video that I found to be particularly alarming and disheartening:
“The people have been traumatized. There were presidential elections in Ivory Coast and we’ve seen what happened. For the trauma is still there. People saw what happened. They voted in masses and it ended in war.” –Father Cyprien, Catholic Mission
“They tend to come describing generalized body pain. Then they start to realize all they’ve been through. They relive it all again, all the killings and the violence they’ve experienced.” –Marie Koudou, psychologist at MSF
“The shock of violence, troubled mourning, and lack of security is leading to psychological and neurological disorders.” –Narrator
How can the common people of Côte d’Ivoire even think about setting goals and having dreams when they are facing such traumatic experiences and are lacking basic human needs like food, water, and a home?
Although parts of Côte d’Ivoire have begun to look past the violence from the 2002 election, it seems like the 2011 election has only worsened the lives of other communities. Will they be able move forward if most are still trying to recover physically, mentally, and financially from previous events? It seems like they cannot break from this vicious cycle of political corruption, widespread violence, and overall suffering, simply because certain individuals seek greater power.