This report examines the operations of the African Development Bank (AfDB or Bank) in fragile and conflict-affected countries (fragile states) between 2009 and 20111. It is part of our Development Effectiveness Review series, written to enhance accountability and promote learning.
Around a third of African states, home to over 200 million people, can be classed as fragile2. Historically, fragile states have received less aid, relative to their needs and absorptive capacity, than most developing countries. Some of them – the so-called ‘aid orphans’ – have suffered from serious, long-term neglect. In recent years, the AfDB has enhanced its capacity to help fragile states – especially those emerging from periods of conflict and political crisis – to consolidate peace, stabilize their economies and lay the foundations for sustainable poverty reduction and long-term growth. In 2008, we adopted a new Strategy for Enhanced Engagement in Fragile States and created a Fragile States Facility to implement it. With these new instruments, we were able not just to scale up our investments in fragile states, but also to tailor our operations to their specific needs. Between 2008 and 2011, the AfDB is committed to scaling up and strengthening its support to Africa’s fragile states. Since 2008, with the development of the new Strategy for Enhanced Engagement in Fragile States and the founding of the Fragile States Facility, the Bank has provided substantial support to a key group of fragile states. Between 2008 and 2011, the Bank provided around US $2.5 billion for 124 operations in Africa’s fragile states, and the level of investment is set to increase over the coming years. The scale and flexibility of Bank support were central to helping some of the most vulnerable countries weather the financial crisis of 2008–2009.
The African Development Bank has also moved forward with decentralization in fragile states, recognizing that proximity to clients and responsiveness to needs are particularly critical in ensuring effectiveness in these contexts. In 2011, the Bank established new country offices in Burundi, the Central African Republic, Liberia and Togo. We now have country offices in more than half of the countries currently supported by the Fragile States Facility.
The AfDB has become a key development partner for fragile states and will consolidate its leadership role in the coming decade. We are inspired by and believe in a vision of a dynamic, diversified and competitive African economic zone in which extreme poverty is eliminated within peaceful, stable and vibrant societies. We believe there is every prospect for realizing this vision within the next half century.