Conflict and fragile states support still a priority for AfDB

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The Africa Development Bank continues to play a crucial role in the development and support of fragile states in the continent.

“If you define fragile states as countries going through conflict or crisis, there was a time when most of Southern Africa was in crisis. If you look today at South Africa, Mozambique, even countries like Ghana in the ‘80s, they’ve all come up and are now the high flyers for Africa. So there is hope. The African Development Bank will play a critical role in providing sustainable development to the continent but also especially to fragile states,” Africa Development Bank’s (AfDB) resident representative Margaret Kilo told CNBC Africa.

Conflict and fragility have always been major constraints to Africa’s development. While the African continent generally has enjoyed an economic growth rate of 5 per cent over the last decade, fragile countries and those in conflict have not benefitted.

Globally, GDP per capita is at 945 US dollars but in fragile states, it hovers at only a third of that at roughly 333 US dollars.

The AfDB is however playing a considerably large role in the development and reconstruction of fragile states through capacity building, governance support and linking the private and the public sectors for assistance.

Between 2009 and 2011, almost 2.5 billion dollars was approved to support fragile states in Africa, and countries such as Liberia have made significant progress due to the funding.

“Liberia, for one, the first thing that happened was arrears clearance. Most of the fragile states like Liberia were under sanctions. Today we have three countries that are still under sanctions and we’re trying to clear their arrears,” Kilo explained.

African nations still under sanctions include Somalia, Sudan, and Zimbabwe.

Assisting government with getting back on course on internal revenue generation is also a key development objective for the AfDB’s fragile and conflict state strategy. The AfDB also plans to expand its strategy to include a greater scope of fragile states.

“The bank has a regional integration mandate, and when you look at conflict or crises, it doesn’t remain in Africa, within national borders of any country. The bank works at a national level but also works for regional integration, and works at the sub-regional level,” said Kilo.