The World's Riskiest Countries
July 10, 2009
Africa and the Middle East are high reward but high risk propositions. Proof of the latter is in the 2009 Failed States Index from Foreign Policy magazine and The Fund for Peace.
The index ranks those countries most vulnerable to fail or that have already failed. A state is considered "failed" when it is no longer able to serve its people, either by delivering very low quantities and qualities of goods to citizens and/or losing its ability to control violence inside its borders.
The index rates 177 countries around the world, but only the 60 most vulnerable are included in the index. Seven of the top 10 are in Africa, and the other three will generate little surprise: Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
For the second straight year, Somalia leads the failure index by ranking first or near the top in each of the 12 categories. Somalia hasn't had a functioning government for several years and has recently become the pirate capital of the world.
The State Department's travel guide for Somalia: "Armed banditry, road assaults, kidnappings for ransom, shootings and grenade attacks on public markets, and detonations of anti-personnel and vehicle land mines regularly occur."
Ten Most Likely States to Fail
|3.||Sudan||8.||Central African Republic|
|5.||Democratic Republic of the Congo||10.||Pakistan|
Source: Foreign Policy, The Fund for Peace
Some have argued that Mexico was on the verge of becoming a failed state amid a rapid increase in drug-related violence. The index disagrees, placing it well out of the top 60 and behind Russia, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia.
Surprisingly, China is in the top 60 at No. 57. While the country scores well on measures like external intervention and security, its lower scores on geographic evenness of development and demographic pressures have potential to create instability.
We could be seeing evidence of this in the recent deadly clashes between Han Chinese and Muslim Uighars in northwest China, where economic opportunities are far fewer than in the country's eastern provinces.
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