A Fragile Guideline to Development Assistance
Title: A Fragile Guideline to Development Assistance
Citation: Development Policy Review, 2012, 30, 2, 211-230
The concept of fragility has gained an increasing relevance in development discourse. Nevertheless, it remains a fuzzy and elusive concept. This article presents a review of the literature, and identifies two main sets of definitions of fragility, which substantially differ in their focus and breadth, and that reflect the evolution of the discourse around this developmental concept. The limited consensus that is found in the literature suggests that the analytical salience and the direct operational value-added of the concept remain unclear. Nevertheless, the debate around state fragility has played an important advocacy role, and has offered key methodological insights with respect to the challenges that donors face, and what can be realistically achieved through external engagement.
Article first published online: 5 MAR 2012. Authors are grateful to Luca Alinovi, Stefano Bartolini, Nicolò Bellanca, François Bourguignon, Giorgia Giovannetti, Sara Turchetti and Franco Volpi for their comments on earlier drafts of this article, which was originally prepared for the European Report on Development 2009, Overcoming Fragility in Africa – Forging a New European Approach.
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