The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) on Wednesday, January 28, 2014 approved Guinea Bissau’s Country Strategy Paper (CSP) for 2015-2019. The document provides a framework for the Bank’s post-crisis support to the country.
The framework is expected to help consolidate State foundations and economic fundamentals. It will also accelerate the establishment of vital infrastructure for inclusive growth, and provide the country with knowledge-building support.
The CSP follows Guinea-Bissau’s return to constitutional order following legislative and presidential elections held in April and May 2014, respectively. The country’s economic situation deteriorated due to political turmoil including a military coup in 2012.
Thus, the CSP is anchored on two pillars: i) strengthening governance and State foundations; and (ii) development of infrastructure that will foster inclusive growth.
The pillars identify drivers of fragility for a post-conflict country in dire need of state rebuilding, basic infrastructure, and reform of the army. They underscore the importance of a strong justice system in order to build the foundations of inclusive growth.
Papers presented to the Board show that the country’s underlying fragility and the ensuing political instability have resulted in a significant decline in economic growth in recent years. The GDP growth dropped from 5.3% in 2011 to negative 1.5% in 2012. In addition, general living conditions have also deteriorated, especially among women and vulnerable segments of the population. Social services including health and education have been hardest hit.
The CSP aims at improving the situation by strengthening the rule of law and providing the population with the necessary infrastructure. Consequently, this will create the requisite momentum to build economic and socio-ecological resilience, strengthen public administration and restore basic social services.
The Bank will focus its support on four critical aspects: (i) Regional integration, in particular, the revitalization of regional partnerships that the country can depend on to safeguard transition and build institutional resilience; (ii) Increased involvement of non-state actors, especially the private sector which provides an opportunity to build resilience and reduce fragility; (iii) Coordination of the operations of donors and partners in order to increase transformational operations; and (iv) Dialogue on government policies in order to mainstream fragility effectively.