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African security in the twenty-first centuryChallenges and opportunities$
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Stephen Emerson and Hussein Solomon

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781526122735

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9781526122735.001.0001

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Failing states

Failing states

(p.62) 4 Failing states
African security in the twenty-first century

Stephen Emerson

Hussein Solomon

Manchester University Press

States are the only contemporary political organizations that enjoy a unique legal status under international law—sovereignty—and are deemed to possess an exclusive monopoly on the legitimate use of force within their borders. A central feature of the state is to provide for the delivery of public goods (such as security) to its citizenry, and states fail to function as states when they can no longer do this. While the concept of “state failure” or “failing states” is much debated, the consequences of such failure are all too real, especially in Africa. Endemic violence, ethnic and religious tensions, rampant human rights abuses, rising terrorism and crime, along with a lack of legitimacy and political inclusion, as well as an inability to exercise effective control over territory are hallmarks of failing states.

Keywords:   legitimacy, monopoly on the use of force, political goods, Westphalian state system, non-state actors, fragile state index, security linkages, Somalia

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