The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group has approved a new strategy, expected to serve as a roadmap for building more resilient institutions, economies, and societies across the African continent in the next five years from 2022 to 2026.
A statement by the group, said the strategy, which will address fragility and build resilience across the continent, is the third, built upon previous strategies in 2008 and 2014, “draws on lessons learned from the Bank’s 20-year engagement on fragility in Africa and its increasingly sophisticated understanding of its drivers.”
The strategy, the bank assured, “has been informed by extensive consultations with partners and stakeholders, and identifies three interconnected and mutually reinforcing priorities, namely: strengthening institutional capacity, building resilient societies and catalyzing private investment.”
The statement quoted Dr. Yero Baldeh, Director of the group’s Transition States Coordination Office, as saying that “these priorities have clear synergies with many of the Bank’s existing sectoral and thematic strategies, including the Strategy for Economic Governance in Africa, the Private Sector Development Strategy, and all the High 5 priorities.”
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, especially in regions most vulnerable to instability and crisis.
The statement also noted that the COVID-19 pandemic and the effects of climate change have further underscored that fragility can arise in any context, which is why the strategy details how the AfDB 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.
The strategy is also 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, it added, besides defining a set of operational levers that will enable it to work more effectively in fragile contexts. These include a strong programme of analytical work, systematic application of the fragility lens in country and regional strategies, planning, and project design.
The African Development Bank’s evolved understanding of fragility, it stressed, has enabled it to draw up a blueprint anchored in an approach 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. Progress will be tracked through a results measurement and reporting framework and a mid-term review.
Also commenting, Ms. Yacine Fal, Acting Vice-President, Regional Development, Integration, and Business Delivery described the strategy as “ambitious yet realistic… 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,” she stressed further.