Development Effectiveness Review 2012 - Fragile states and conflict-affected countries

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Executive summary

This report examines the operations of the African Development Bank (AfDB or Bank) in fragile and conflict-affected countries (fragile states) between 2009 and 2011. It is part of our Development Effectiveness Reviews series, written to enhance accountability and promote learning.
Around a third of African states, home to over 200 million people, can be classed as fragile. 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, AfDB has enhanced its capacity to help fragile states — especially those emerging from periods of conflict and political crisis — consolidate peace, stabilise their economies and lay the foundations for sustainable poverty reduction and longterm 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, we provided around $2.5 billion through 124 operations in Africa’s fragile states.

Recognising both the importance and the difficulty of working effectively in fragile states, the Bank’s independent Evaluation Department commissioned an evaluation of the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, impact and sustainability of these operations. The evaluation sheds useful light on the challenges involved in implementing the Strategy and offers valuable recommendations on how to overcome them (see Box I).

This report follows the structure of our Results Measurement Framework. level 1 looks at trends in conflict and fragility in Africa, and at the overall development performance of Africa’s fragile states as a group. level 2 presents the aggregate outputs of the Bank’s operations in fragile states, showing our contribution to meeting their development challenges. level 3 assesses how well we manage our portfolio of operations in fragile states, while level 4 describes our efforts to improve our own capacity as an organisation to operate in the challenging environments they present.

We recognise that applying the Results Measurement Framework to our fragile states programmes does not necessarily capture all the specific challenges of operating in this difficult environment.
We have recently undertaken a review of our Results Measurement Framework, which in the future will make it more applicable to different contexts.