Παρασκευή, 26 Αυγούστου 2011
Η Ακτή Ελεφαντοστού ή Ελεφαντόδοντος (Γαλλ.Côte d'Ivoire, αγγλ. Ivory Coast), μια πρώην γαλλική αποικία στον κόλπο της Γουϊνέας στην Δυτ. Αφρική, έρχεται συχνά στην επικαιρότητα λόγω των συχνών πραξικοπημάτων και των αιματηρών εμφυλίων συγκρούσεων που σπαράσσουν την χώρα. Έχει έκταση 320,803 τετρ. χλμ. και πληθυσμό 21.000.000 περίπου, αποτελούμενο από ένα μωσαϊκό φυλών και φύλων (Baoule, Beti, Senufo, Malinke, Anyi, Dan κλπ, συνολικά πάνω από 60 εθνοτικές ομάδες). Παρά το γεγονός ότι πρόκειται για μια προικισμένη χώρα σε φυσικό πλούτο και πόρους (παράγει πετρέλαιο, χρυσό, νικέλιο, ξυλεία και είναι από τους μεγαλύτερους εξαγωγείς κακάο, καφέ και φοινικέλαιου), εν τούτοις το βιοτικό επίπεδο των κατοίκων βρίσκεται σε άθλια κατάσταση. Αξίζει να σημειωθεί ότι το 2005 το Συμβούλιο Ασφαλείας του ΟΗΕ απαγόρευσε την εξαγωγή διαμαντιών από την χώρα διότι τα έσοδα από αυτά τροφοδοτούσαν τις εμφύλιες συγκρούσεις. Η ανάλυση που ακολουθεί επιχειρεί να απαντήσει ουσιαστικά στο ερώτημα κατά πόσον αυτή η χώρα έχει δυνατότητες να μπει σε τροχιά ανάπτυξης ή θα συνεχίσει να καταρρέει. Νομίζω ότι το άρθρο που ακολουθεί μας ενδιαφέρει γενικότερα.
Ivory Cost: a State Building
or Collapse State?
By Dr. Celestin Ngaleu Tchamabe
This paper aims to further discussions on both the contextual dynamics and implications of conflicts in a society marred by political division, tensions and cultural diversity. It focuses on Ivory Cost, specifically since the post-electoral period until today. Herein, the concept of state collapse and state-building are conceptualised and addressed concomitantly for two reasons: First, it facilitates descriptively analysis of the causalities of these concepts; secondly, it opens up theoretical inquiries on the prospect of appropriate responses of state reconstruction. In Ivory Cost, whereas state collapse can be conceived as a process describing the failure of the state to accomplish its functions, state building in the contrary is perceived as a multifaceted task aimed at evaluating political order, developmental capacity, institutional building and policy capacity of a post conflict society. The above definitions suggest the lack of a clear cut line between the two processes. This paper’s argues that, although state collapse and state building display different theoretical underpinning and definitions today in Ivory Cost, their influence provoke convergent assumptions and challenges about their incidence.
In general, “rigid” explanations of state-building, completely detached from contextual realities, seem to be a growing tendency in the field of conflicts led research. As a result, a great majority of analysts of state collapse and state-building argue that these notions follow certain unchangeable patterns almost everywhere. Because of such views, it is common to come across theories dealing with these two notions that are too broad to grasp or profoundly diluted in their specificities. For the above reasons, a prudent approach is adopted in this work. Herein, the theoretical analysis of state collapse and state building in Ivory Coast takes into account the current contextual post-conflict realities. This paper posits therefore that, state collapse is far from being a quick fix process since it cannot be analysed in isolation; but instead, it envisages it as a conjunction of phenomena that revolve around the failure of state to fulfil its fundamental functions, rendering state building an epiphenomenon. That is why, factors such as Ivory Coast’s weak political order, insecurity, institutional viability, and state incapacity to carry out its development agenda will be explored. As the analysis of state collapse is as important to appreciate as that of state building in such a context, the two notions or concepts are therefore both capable to provide a better understanding of the post-conflict era in Ivory Coast.
1. The Concept of State Collapse
a) Some Traditional Theoretical and Conceptual Underpinnings
In practice, it is assumed that, in order to examine the concept of state collapse one’s has to shed light on the different understandings of the failure of state functions. In this regard, Zartman (1995:5) argues that ʹcollapse means that basic functions of the state are no longer performed, as analysed in various theories of the stateʹ. Further, the above author tries to delineate the concept in stating that ʹstate collapse ... is the breakdown of good governance, law and orderʹ. However, Zartman (1995:5) warns that such a conceptualisation is problematic as it links the signalling of instances of state to the understanding of ʹgovernanceʹ. Doornbos (2005) notes that a better grasp of processes leading to collapse should offer additional insights into what makes states work, as well as what fails to work. The above theoretical stance implies that, what work and what fails to work can be both situated at opposite ends of the continuum. This implies that there are several key connections between the dynamics of state ʹformationʹ and state ʹcollapseʹ. Mazrui (1995) provides comparative arguments both of state collapse and state building in the case of Rwanda, Liberia, Angola, and Burundi. In theoretical terms, he argues that depending on one’s understanding of ʹcollapseʹ and the political dynamics that give rise to it, there is possibility to regard collapse as part of processes of state reconfiguration and formation. However, the extent to which this argument resonates in conflict environment is not a guarantee.
b) Contextual Realities State Collapse
In Ivory Coast the facts suggest that the incidence of state collapse is almost a reality. For instance, just four month after gaining the control of the country, the Watara’s government is still struggling to put in place a consensual administration. In this regard, a great majority of appointed in the government are originating from the North. This issue will undermine the impact of social and economic policies for those in the South, East and the Centre of Ivory Coast. Currently, the improvement of effective civil service is still a challenge. The delivery of basic services such as water and electricity and health service is very disparate and very limited throughout the country. In practice, these are significant signs that point to state’s failure to fulfil its basic functions. Also, the failure to enhance the capacity of line ministries and sub-national local authorities to implement basic decisions by the central government is emerging as a major problem. In such an environment, latent tensions between tribal groups, mobilizing tax revenues in the major Christian provinces might prove to be extremely difficult to achieve. However, can such issues lead to the complete collapse of Ivory Coast? In post conflict societies, it is commonly acknowledged that economic planning requires time. In theory, this is to enable the smooth establishment of institutions and the implementation of viable economic and development policies. In the context of Ivory Coast, the prospect of state collapse has some tangible underpinnings as exemplified through some evidences mentioned above. In such a scenario, the Watara’s government might find it uneasy of enacting new tax and financial management law. The current situation and the difficult prospect of institutional building depict a collapsing Ivory Coast. A central question at this level is, can state-building envisaged in such a context?
2. The Concept of State-building
The concept of state building has been a recurring theme in comparative politics for a while. Much scholarly interests in state-building have been prompted by social, political and economic costs of failure to build state capacity in its different forms. In exploring the issue of political order as a process of state-building, Huntington (1968:2) points out the lack of authority, effective organisation, and political competence in many developing countries as worrying issues. According to him, regardless of type of regime ʹgovernment simply do not governʹ. More so, for countries still experiencing civil conflict, the task of state building becomes a daunting challenge. Bayart (1993) describes the issue of the political order through the inability of many post colonial states to provide political stability, maintain social and political order, mobilise resources and successfully enforce decisions, policies, and interventions.
3. Total Collapse of the State: Some Major Factors
a) The Political Order: Issues of Insecurity and violence
In this paper, the concept of collapse state should be understood within the framework of factors that produce a chain of reaction leading to the ʹinability of the State to perform its basics functionsʹ. As previously mentioned, in its current situation, several facts suggest that Ivory Coast presents significant signs of a collapsing State. However, the total collapse might be due to the high level of insecurity. This is a major factor that might trigger it. A similar context of civil conflict in Sierra Leone provides some reminiscences for this type of situation. Reno (2000) refers to the Sierra Leonean’s massive insecurity and violence as powerful tools at the hands of armed rebel groups enjoying significant external support. The above author concluded that, insecurity proved to be detrimental for the State. Some Gbagbo former loyalists are still in the run with heavy arms and ammunition, the former rebel, the Republican Front are being integrated regularly in the state army without being submitted to formal military training and without passing though morality and ethical checks. Therefore mistrust, hostility and in-fighting between former rebels’ linked to the current President Alasane Watara and the former soldiers who have served under Laurent Gbagbo might be a real challenge in the realm of security. Also, the territorial control by militias in the North and in the South is likely to bring back some kind of guerrilla warfare in key provinces in Ivory Coast. This situation might expose further the weakness of the central government to succeed in its function of integration because of insecurity. Also, the inability to manage and accommodate conflicting interests is an important component in the issue of disintegration. In theory, practical challenges of integration include issues regarding territorial integration, maintenance of social and political order, resources mobilisation and successful enforcement of government’s decisions. In practice, the lack of integration might be translated by the inability of government authorities to intervene, control, and enforce their decisions and policies. Such a scenario undeniably will fuel further insecurity and promotes violence.
b) State and Society broken linkages: the threat of instability
In Ivory Coast, we keep strictly to a bottom-line definition of state collapse as referring to situations where all normal state functions have ceased to exist. In this context, it is arguably certain that the post electoral conflict has had the capacity to weaken the incumbent President Mr. Watara. However, the prospect of broken linkages between the State and society is one of the major factors that might precipitate the collapse of the state as a whole. Actually, Ivory Coast is made up of a mosaic of ethnics, regions and religious identities. The fragile country’s condition contributes to put pressure on these elements. It is likely that mismanaging of these elements by the central government might contribute to undermine the Ivory Coast’s stability. It is theoretically acknowledged that ethnic and religious strife potentially both have the potentials of exacerbating instability. This will not be different with Ivory Coast because there is a fragmentation of the erstwhile state system into regional entities between North and South. In the medium term each of these entities will be vying with each other for political control of power. In the long term, such a scenario may encourage the phenomena such as ʹwarlordsʹ, conflicting clan interests. The spread of violence that prevailed after the presidential elections in November 2010 have fuelled further deeper antagonisms. The fact that the fallen President Laurent Gbagbo is still held without trial contributes to fuel those antagonisms amongst his supporters and those of Watara throughout the country.
c) Economic Potentials and Foreign Corporation Predatory Methods: Implications for Ivory Coast’s sovereignty (nationally and internationally)
Even at this moment, Ivory Coast is still ranked as the first economy of French West Africa. The country’s Gross Domestic Product per capita is among the highest in the region. Such a potential is one of the intractable ingredients that fuels the battle for political power and control of Ivory Coast. The economic potential attracts the appetite of various foreign corporations. In its analysis, the French N.G.O SURVIE describes unorthodox methods and practices of foreign corporations in several French Speaking Countries amongst which Ivory Coast. In the case of Ivory Coast particularly, SURVIE concluded that foreign corporations, mainly French, have become a significant fetter on the political and economic sovereignty of the country. More vividly, SURVIE describes the extent to which the fight for the business control of railways, port, and agricultural production of rubber, cacao exposes the Ivorian government and weakens the little legitimacy it may had have. Under the mandate of President Laurent Gbagbo, both economical and political sovereignty were seriously undermined by these corporations operating in Cote d’Ivoire. This behaviour proves to the more visible under President Alasane Watara in power just a few months after accessing to the highest office. The major French corporation such as Bollore, Lafarge and many others in other sectors are enjoying economic advantages and winning government contracts. This situation is due to their links with the executive and most importantly because they are backed by political favours of the new leader and his entourage. From this perspective, I argue that corporations have become sufficiently powerful institutions able to pose serious threat to state-building in Ivory Coast. It implies that, in this context corporations are using the influence they enjoy to influence the economic policies and damaging initiatives of potential local entrepreneurs. In a similar analysis, Bakan (2004, P.2) argues that corporations are pathological institutions, dangerous possessors of the great power they wield over peoples and societies. The above author advised that, by leveraging their freedom from the bonds and location, corporations can now dictate the economic policies of governments (Bakan 2004, P.22). In considering the above assertion in the light of strategic advantage enjoyed by corporations operating in Ivory Coast, it can be inferred that many existing corporations in Ivory Coast have indirect share in the fragile situation prevailing in this context. The analysis above suggests that, there are various factors both internal and external which are precipitating the state collapse in Ivory Coast.
Internally, other factors such recent civil conflict, post-conflict tensions, regional or religious ethnic politics or some combination of these have contributed also to exacerbate the situation. Externally, the appetite of foreign corporations on Ivory Coast’s economic resources as well as insecurity in the border posts with some neighbouring countries (sierra Leone, Liberia, Burkina Faso) are contributing to undermine Ivory Coast’s economic and political sovereignty. Although it be argued that Ivory Coast has not reached a complete collapse as yet, it is fair to recognize that the process of decline is widening also under the new government of Alasane Watara. Against the above background, an epistemological question is: will the attempt of state-building lead to total collapse of the State in Ivory Coast?
From Fragile State-Building to State Collapse?
Scholarly interest in state-building is often prompted by the social, political and economic cost of failure to built state capacity in its different forms. The current situation of conflict in Ivory Coast make it all the more difficult to carry out political order, development plans, built viable institutions and implement sound policies. The challenge is enormous in terms of political stability and maintenance of social and political order. Despite Alasane Watara’s government being endowed with extensive constitutional powers, it is likely that it will be difficult to organize the entire system of the state apparatus. This means that enforcing legislation, formulating and implementing elaborated economic plans will not be an easy ride. This stems from the fact that, political opposition will be hardened from the PDCI members; also, the fragmentation of the linkage between the state and society will mitigate the government’s voice of being heard by discontented citizens. This condition will certainly contribute to produce abuses of political authority, ineffective agencies, favouritism and corruption. Therefore, it is likely to argue that if the root causes (national identity, political power, ethnic privileges) of the previous conflict are not addressed, political order cannot be restored. More importantly, decay of social cohesion and insecurity might instead deepen the relative amount of legitimacy enjoyed by the current government. A leading political theory argues that, when political legitimacy is weak, therefore political power has to be secured by exploitation of ethnic loyalties, patronage, coercion and repression of political opposition (Evans 1995: 46-7). In Ivory Coast, the lack of institutional viability may prove to be a real issue. Under the new government, this situation can be detrimental for political, economic and social development. All these issues combined will weaken the prospect of state-building and contribute to speeding the process of State collapse in Ivory Coast. Therefore, we are faced with a county trying to build itself but at the same time facing the prospect of collapsing due to several setbacks.
Often there are different and contrasted trajectories that contributes to the understanding of the concept of state collapse particularly where conflicts (latent or over) prevail. This principle becomes even more complicated in a situation where both the notions of state collapse and state building are analysed together. As this paper demonstrated, the theoretical underpinning of the government’s inability to carry out state functions is a core determinant that shed light on these notions and helps make sense of the contextual realities. In the case of Ivory Coast, it can be said that, the previous post electoral conflicts and existing tensions in Abidjan, in the West (in places such as Toulépleu and Bloléquin), in the Easter region of Noé and several areas in Bouaké point out to the direction that the State was already collapsing under Laurent Gbgabo era. This situation is deepening under the new President Alasane Watara as well. The fact that government’s functions such as the provision of basics security (vis a vis internal and external threat), the societal and state linkages have (are) been ʹfailingʹ during both regimes indicates the complexity of the situation in Ivory Coast. Adding to this endemic inability to deliver essential public welfare services, the current government is not showing clear signs of stimulating development and economic growth. All the above situations set the conditions of a collapsing state. However, in theoretical terms, it is worthy to note in the context of this work that, we are faced with the situation of state failure and afraid of the signs of ʹtotalʹ state collapse in Ivory Coast. This position is relevant and consistent with the theoretical paradigm that posits that, state collapse can hardly occur spontaneously, or all at once. In practical terms however, this paper suggests that it is cautionary to exercise patience on the likelihood of economic progress that could be made in the above context to mitigate total collapse. But foremost, the new government has to put its house in order. However, this paper concurs with Doornbos (2005) that, if state collapse is to happen ultimately, it is likely that it would be a combination of factors initiated by the complex conflict-ridden processes of deterioration, decline and erosion of state functions. This argument is applicable for Ivory Coast as well. However, in this context, the real assessment on State’s ability to bring about far-reaching political and social changes will be judged by the limits of its power and its transformative capacity to bring peace and equality for all its citizens.
Bakan, J., (2004). The Corporation: the Pathological Pursuit of Profit and Power. Constable London
Bayart, J.F, Ellis, S.; Hibou, B. The Criminalization of the State in Africa. (Bloominghton, Ind.: Indiana University Press/Oxford: James Currey, 1999).
Doornbos, M., (2005) The State Collapse and Civil Conflict. In Politics in the developing World. In Burnell, P., Randall, V. Oxford University Press. pp. 171-183
Evans, P., Embedded Autonomy State. Crisis and Innovation in Latin America and Africa (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996).
Huntington, S.P (1968). Political Order in Changing Societies. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Mazrui, Ali A. (1995) ʹʹThe African State as Political Refugee: Institutional Collapse and Human Displacementʹʹ International Journal of Refugge Law, 7:21-36.
Reno, W. 2000. Clandestine economies, violence and states in Africa.
Journal of International Affairs 53, no. 2.
Zartman, I. W (ed), Collapsed States: The Disintegration and Restoration of Legitimate Authority (Boulder, Colo.: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 1995)
 See Huntington, 1968
 See Survie in Bollore: Monopole Service Compris. Tentacules Africaines