The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) has approved a new strategy to address economic fragility and building resilience in Africa for the period 2022-2026.
Dr. Yero Baldeh, Director of the Transition States Coordination Office noted that the strategy offers a roadmap for building more resilient institutions, economies, and societies across the continent over the next five years. Meanwhile, this new strategy constituted the Bank’s third fragility and resilience strategy, built upon previous strategies in 2008 and 2014. It draws on lessons learned from the Bank’s 20-year engagement on fragility in Africa and its increasingly sophisticated understanding of its drivers.
The Director of the Transition States Coordination Office averred that the strategy has been formed by extensive consultations with partners and stakeholders, who identified three interconnected and mutually reinforcing priorities, namely: strengthening institutional capacity, building resilient societies and catalysing private investment.
“These priorities have clear synergies with many of the Bank’s existing sectorial and thematic strategies, including the Strategy for Economic Governance in Africa, the Private Sector Development Strategy, and all the High 5 priorities.”Dr. Yero Baldeh
Despite major economic gains across Africa over the past two decades, evidenced by improvements in basic services, infrastructure and governance, significant parts of Africa have been left behind. Dr Baldeh indicated that the above have been found to be regions most vulnerable to instability and crisis.
How the Bank Group Will Adapt
Dr. Yero Baldeh noted that the COVID-19 pandemic and the effects of climate change further underscored the fact that fragility can arise in any context.
“While looking at fragility as a condition that can arise in any context, the strategy details how the Bank Group will adapt its operations and instruments to tackle the root causes of conflict and fragility, recognising the need to scale up investment in crisis prevention. It is anchored in a theory of change that links measures to strengthen the Bank Group’s capacity and portfolio to deliver better results in fragile contexts with an end goal of increasing resilience in Africa.”Dr. Yero Baldeh
The Director explained that the strategy also have a defined set of operational levers that will enable it to work more effectively in fragile contexts, including a strong program of analytical work, systematic application of the fragility lens in country and regional strategies, planning, and project design.
Meanwhile, the African Development Bank’s evolved understanding of fragility has enabled it to draw up a blueprint anchored in an approach which focused on building resilience in all its African member countries, and the recognition of the need to shift resources from crisis response to long-term investment in crisis prevention.
Dr Baldeh disclosed that the progress of the strategy will be tracked through result measurement and reporting framework and a mid-term review.
Yacine Fal, the Acting Vice President in charge of Regional Development, Integration, and Business Delivery concluded that the action is an ambitious but realistic strategy.
“This is an ambitious yet realistic strategy, grounded firmly in the Bank’s comparative advantage, unique mandate, and position within Africa’s development architecture. It will reinvigorate and scale up the Bank’s engagement on fragility in Africa by making its full suite of operations and instruments more effective at preventing crises and building resilience.”Yacine Fal