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Conflict and Development

Last Updated March 2005

Conflict is a critical obstacle to development in Africa

  • One in four African countries presently suffers from the effects of armed conflict.
  • The number of African casualties of conflict exceeds that of all other regions combined. In 2000, the total number of deaths reached 1,675,000 (Based on WHO data, 2001).
  • About one-fifth of Africans live in countries severely disrupted by conflict.
  • 46 percent of all developing countries affected by conflict are in Africa.
  • Approximately 15 million Africans are currently internally displaced; around 4.5 million have sought refuge in neighboring countries.
  • For the average country in Africa, half of the indicators point to a risk of conflict.
  • Wars and insecurity are associated with increasing out-migration, humanitarian catastrophes, epidemics, HIV/AIDS, criminal and terrorist networks.

Bank assistance in Africa

Two Operational Policies, Development Cooperation and Conflict and Emergency Recovery Assistance provide a framework for the World Bank engagement. The Bank provides financial and technical assistance to African countries affected by conflict in the form of an immediate support in assessing the emergency’s impact and developing a recovery strategy; restructuring the existing World Bank portfolio to support recovery activities; and providing emergency recovery loans. The Bank takes a comprehensive approach to ensuring conflict sensitivity in its operations including initiatives to promote economic recovery; address social sector needs; assist vulnerable groups; build institutional capacity; revitalize local communities; restore social capital; demobilize and reintegrate ex-combatants; and reintegrate displaced populations.

The Bank is currently involved with over 20 African conflict-affected countries. There are currently 8 completed Transitional Support Strategies, 82 projects worth $5.5 billion under implementation, $25 million in grants from Post Conflict Fund and Low Income Countries Under Stress (LICUS) Trust Fund, ongoing comprehensive assessments ( Sudan, Nigeria, Central African Republic, Chad and Uganda).

The Multi-Country Demobilization and Reintegration Program is one of the major programs focused on conflict in the Great Lakes region.

Role of the Bank

Political support : Upon request, the Bank provides technical assistance to peace negotiators to inform the parties of the economic development implications of peace agreement provisions. The Bank also supports institutions building, transparency, good governance, and representative structures to enhance the preparation and implementation of policies and programs.

Financial support : The Bank assesses post-conflict reconstruction needs; co-organizes resource mobilization meetings; and provides financial assistance during the recovery process.

Aid effectiveness : The Bank provides leadership for aid coordination or firm support to donors/agencies that are taking the lead; identifies, with local stakeholders and international partners, the most effective aid delivery mechanisms; and monitors implementation.

Security sector : The Bank supports well-timed demobilization and reintegration programs for ex-combatants.

Regional dimensions of conflicts : The Bank provides assessment of the costs of conflict on neighboring countries and helps build a long-term vision for regional development among neighboring countries; and supports cross-border trade.



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