Africa: International Finance Corporation launches $75 million Africa Fragility Initiative to promote growth and jobs in Africa

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, has launched the Africa Fragility Initiative (AFI), a five-year, $74 million program to support responsible growth and job creation led by the private sector in 32 affected African countries. by fragility and conflict.

At the heart of IFC’s strategy to strengthen some of Africa’s least developed markets, AFI brings together the private sector and development partners to provide advice and investment support aimed at generating the development of businesses, identify local market champions and improve the delivery of goods and services to the millions of people across the African continent.

Through AFI, IFC and its partners will provide on-the-ground support to encourage and catalyze investment in countries where business costs are high, operational challenges are significant and development needs are great, including including in the Sahel where a combination of instability, rapid population growth, climate change and food shortages have plunged the region into a tenacious trap of fragility.

Under AFI, IFC and its partners will provide market intelligence, identify and work with promising local businesses to prepare them for investment, and build relationships critical to job creation and development success. .

Speaking on AFI, IFC Regional Vice President for Africa, Sérgio Pimenta, said: “Africa is home to most fragile and conflict-affected countries, many of which suffer from extreme poverty. endemic and a long-standing lack of investment. The Africa Fragility Initiative is a new tool that enables IFC to work closely with our partners, share operational knowledge, integrate conflict sensitivity, and systematize responsible, context-specific investments in markets that need it most. »

Fragility is on the rise globally and Africa is disproportionately affected, with poverty being amplified by climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic. IFC is committed to significantly scaling up its FCS engagement: providing 40% of its program in International Development Association (IDA) and FCS countries, and 15-20% of its program in low income IDA and IDA FCS, by 2030.

IFC’s programs and programs across the World Bank Group focus on providing tailored and specialized resources designed to have impact in fragile environments, in line with the World Bank Group’s Strategy for fragility, conflict and violence. The AFI is intended to support IFC’s FCS commitments under the WBG’s FCV strategy and 2018 capital increase program.

AFI is a $74 million program supported by several donors. To date, the governments of Ireland and Norway have committed funds. The initiative builds on 13 years of expertise, knowledge and relationships developed under the IFC-led Conflict-Affected African States (CASA) Initiative, which ended in December 2021 after having provided investment and advisory support in 13 fragile and conflict-affected countries.

“Supporting fragile and conflict-affected countries in Africa is more vital than ever in the wake of COVID-19 and other pressing challenges,” said Vegard Pedersen, Senior Advisor, Partnerships and Shared Prosperity Department, Agency Norwegian Development Cooperation (NORAD) . “We have a long history of partnering with IFC to support the private sector in Africa and through this new initiative, we hope to make a significant impact by improving lives and contributing to growth in fragile places.

“The AFI initiative aligns closely with Ireland’s long-standing efforts to support development in African countries facing the greatest growth challenges,” Ruairí de Búrca, Director General, Irish Aid, told the ministry. of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Ireland. “The challenges of fragility must be addressed urgently, and we are confident that our partnership with IFC and others will support job creation and increased opportunity in these complex markets.”

AFI support will be provided in five sub-regions: the Sahel and West Africa; the Horn of Africa and Yemen; Central Africa and the Great Lakes; Southern Africa and Indian Ocean; and North Africa.

The AFI model is designed to address the sub-regional dimension of fragility, often complicated when conflict and its effects cross borders. The Initiative will also ensure that conflict dynamics and related mitigation activities are taken into account in the work of IFC and its partners in the field.

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