Alarming new World Bank report warns by 2030 up to two-thirds of the world’s extreme poor will live in fragile and conflict-affected countries

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Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

The World Bank on Thursday released a worrisome report from Washington D.C., warning that if urgent steps were not taken now to change the current trajectory, by 2030 up to two-thirds of the world’s extreme poor will live in fragile and conflict-affected countries, many of them in Africa.

The World Bank Group said countries impacted by fragility, conflict and violence (FCV) would be impacted severely.

“Addressing humanitarian crises requires immediate support and long-term development approaches,” said World Bank Group President David Malpass.

 “To end extreme poverty and break the cycle of fragility, conflict, and violence, countries need to ensure access to basic services, transparent and accountable government institutions, and economic and social inclusion of the most marginalized communities. These kinds of investments go hand in hand with humanitarian aid.”

The World Bank Group on Thursday released an FCV strategy, which for the first time systematically brings a full suite of financing and expertise to address these challenges in both low-and-middle income countries.

The World Bank said fragile and conflict-affected situations take a huge toll on human capital, creating vicious cycles that lower people’s lifetime productivity and earnings and reduce socioeconomic mobility.

It said one in five people in these countries are deprived of money, education and basic infrastructure simultaneously. And the number of people living in close proximity to conflict has nearly doubled in the past 10 years.

In the new strategy, the World Bank Group, founded to support post-conflict reconstruction in Europe after World War II, now emphasizes working before, during, and after crisis situations to tackle poverty.

“It emphasizes prevention by proactively addressing the root causes of conflict — such as social and economic exclusion, climate change and demographic shocks — before tensions turn into full-blown crises. During active conflict, it focuses on building institutional resilience and preserving essential services like health and education for the most vulnerable communities.

“The strategy also emphasizes long-term support to help countries transition out of fragility, including private sector solutions, such as scaling-up investments in small and medium enterprises that are essential to create jobs and spur economic growth. It addresses the cross-border impacts of FCV, for example by focusing on the development needs of both refugees and host communities.

“This institutional shift is backed by increases in financing, both through the World Bank’s General Capital Increase and through the recently approved replenishment of IDA, the World Bank’s fund for the poorest countries, which included over $20 billion for FCV. The Bank and IFC will also make key operational changes, such as deploying more staff and resources to countries impacted by FCV and partnering with a range of international and local actors. IFC and MIGA have also committed to significantly increase their support to private sector investments in economies impacted by FCV,” the bank said in a statement received by TODAY NEWS AFRICA in Washington DC

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