This is a guest post by Hamish Stewart, a co-founding Director of the Centre for African Development and Security.
The world is optimistic about Africa’s future, but to unlock its economic potential concerted efforts must be made to engage with its most fragile states.
The New Deal for Engagement in Fragile States is a country-led peace and statebuilding framework agreement aimed at stabilizing and developing the world’s most fragile states. The agreement is sponsored by the g7+ grouping of fragile states and accepted by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member states at the High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in Busan in 2011. It provides a mechanism or approach for fragile states themselves in order to build political support for those countries transitioning from conflict and to maintain stability where regional tension threatens renewed conflict.
The New Deal is a long-term framework. In addition to security, its goals include access to justice at the domestic level, as well as job creation in the continent’s burgeoning private sector. Many fragile states are resource-rich. While they have the potential for growth, transparent resource management is essential if they are to curb corruption and control illicit money flows that retard economic and social development. That, too, is a goal of the New Deal.
The return of conflict in Mali and the recent unrest in central Mozambique underline the fragility of even successful transitions to peace. And no low-income or fragile state has yet achieved a single Millennium Development Goal.
The New Deal for Fragile States represents a new, long term approach. Its potential is illustrated by the positive developments in Liberia and Sierra Leone in the decade following civil wars. Somalia’s newly elected government has announced that it will conduct all future development cooperation through the New Deal.
The New Deal is, among other things, a follow-on to the Millennium Development Goals and involves a new conversation. On April 18, the International Dialogue on Peace Building and State Building convened a stakeholder meeting in Washington, DC to promote The New Deal as a framework for development and peace building.