In a world where conflict abounds, and less than 20 percent of fragile states are challenged to meet poverty targets by 2015, what can be done to help stop conflict, reduce fragility, and end poverty was prominent at the World Bank’s one-day high level Fragility Forum 2013 held at the Bank Headquarters on Wednesday in Washington DC.
Liberia’s Finance Minister Amara Konneh who attended at the invitation of the World Bank President Dr. Jim Yong Kim shared the platform with Dr. Kim to discuss problems facing fragile states and together seek answers as the way forward. Other panelists were H.E. Joaquim Chissano, Former President, Republic of Mozambique (joined by video), Ms. Amat Al Alim Alsoswa, National Dialogue Member, Republic of Yemen, and former Assistant Secretary General, UNDP, and Makhtar Diop, World Bank Vice President for Africa Region.
At the session moderated by Lara Logan, CBS News and “60 Minutes” Chief Foreign Affairs Correspondent, Minister Konneh made the case for the Bank to focus more attention on the development of fragile states. He pushed the World Bank and the international community to double support to these countries, particularly in the IDA 17 replenishment. “Please consider doubling IDA allocation to fragile states,” the Liberian Treasury Chief appealed.
Much of the Bank’s work in fragile and conflict-affected states is supported by International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the poorest, which currently has an active portfolio of 190 projects in fragile and conflict-affected states.
Minister Konneh disclosed that there are some skeptics who believe that fragile states are basket cases. However, he challenged those skeptics not to walk away. “Well, it’s good to support the basket cases now than to walk away, because the goal of eradicating poverty will not be achieved when you leave these states behind. We need to support the ones that are making strong progress and encourage the ones that are lacking behind to catch up.”
Using Liberia as a success story, Minister Konneh said despite enduring political and economic challenges, his post-conflict country is rebuilding its institutions and beginning to provide its citizens with those basic services that were destroyed during the conflict.
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