Skip to content
Politics & Current Affairs

MIFFs: Middle-Income but Failed or Fragile States

State failure, it appears, does not necessarily go hand in hand with other human woes, such as poverty. Some countries with rising incomes remain plagued by poor governance. 

What’s the Latest Development?

A quarter of the countries on the World Bank’s new list of middle-income nations are also failed states, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. These failed middle-income states range from Côte d’Ivoire to Yemen; the most important of them are Pakistan and Nigeria. The newest nation in the world, South Sudan, may soon join their ranks with its large oil profits and fragile government. The emergence of this group of middle-income but failed or fragile states represents serious problems for global stability. 

What’s the Big Idea?

Middle income but failed or fragile states—The Economist calls them MIFFs—are an important group for several reasons. While MIFFs’ per-capita income is not as dire as poorer nations, their country’s populations are rising very fast threatening to create income inequalities that fuel poverty and aggression. “Now countries like Pakistan, Yemen and Nigeria may pose bigger problems to the West than traditional failed states, such as Congo, whose disasters are mostly visited on their unfortunate citizens.”


Up Next