, Number 10

Alex De Waal
This article examines the political and economic functioning of fragile African states using the lens of a 'political marketplace' in which local elites seek to obtain the highest reward for their loyalty, over short time horizons, within patrimonial systems. In such systems, political institutions are incapable of managing conflict, which means that standard peacemaking efforts and peacekeeping operations do not align with domestic possibilities for settlement.

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