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President Bio Challenges Fragility Report

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President Bio Challenges Fragility Report

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Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the only woman to have won the $5 million Mo Ibrahim Award for achievement in African leadership, arrived in Freetown with Jonathan Leape, Executive Director of the IGC.

The Commission on State Fragility, Growth and Development was established under the auspices of the International Growth Centre (IGC) in March 2017 to guide policy to address state fragility. The Commission is chaired by David Cameron – Former UK Prime Minister.

In April 2018, the Commission published its report: ‘Escaping the Fragility Trap’. According to the report, “the Sustainable Development Goals  (SDGs)  set  the  mission  to  eradicate  extreme  poverty  by  2030.  Yet nearly a  third  of  the  way  towards  that  deadline,  almost  900  million  people  are  still  living  on less  than  two  dollars  a  day  and,  in  too  many  of  the  world’s  poorest  countries, progress  is  completely  stuck”.

It explains that: “A  great  many  of  these  countries  are  what  are  often  called  ‘fragile  states’. They are blighted by conflict and corruption.  Their  governments  lack  the  legitimacy  and  capacity  to  deliver  the  jobs,  public  services,  and  opportunities  their  people  need.  The  latest  estimates  suggest  that  by  2030,  half  of  the  world’s  poor  will  live  in  countries  that  are  fragile.”

The  report  sets  out  the  characteristics  of  fragility,  including  the  lack  of  basic  security,  inadequate  government  capacity,  the  absence  of  a  properly  functioning  private  sector,  and  the  presence of  divided  societies.

The Commission says that its  findings  are  clear:  “If international  assistance,  aid,  and  – crucially  –  economic  development  are  to  help  make  our  world  safer  and  more  prosperous,  we  need  to  address  what  we  call  the  ‘syndrome’  of  fragility.

The report adds that at the moment, we  are  failing  to  do  so.  Indeed,  some  of  the  things  developed  countries,  non-governmental  organizations  (NGOs),  and  donors  have  done  have  arguably  made  matters  worse.  After  decades  of  aid,  many  of  these  countries  are  as  poor  as  they  ever  were  –  some  even  poorer.

It went on to state that solutions to such  fragility are largely  domestic and they can be slow  and  tough,  but  once the solution is taken it  is  likely  to  be  more  lasting. Homegrown  solutions  and  locally  negotiated  coalitions  of  governments,  businesses,  and  civil  society  are  the  things  that  will  make  well-designed  international  support  more  likely  to  be  effective it added.

The team visiting Sierra Leone, told President Bio that Sierra Leone and Liberia are vulnerable to fragility and instability. They said that if proper care was not taken to consolidate a lasting peace in the Mano River Union basin, the situation might lead to serious problems in future.

“Sierra Leone and Liberia share similar features about this fragility. This is the reason why the International Growth Center has drawn the attention of the two countries to quickly look into the recommendations in the report and find ways to address issues around political and economic growth in the two countries,” Leape advised.

President Bio thanked the team visiting and told them of his government’s plans to work very hard and go beyond the foundation he inherited.

“I have carefully looked at the report and the recommendations proffered therein and we are trying to forge beyond the foundation that we met to make serious efforts at dealing with issues raised in the report,” President Bio assured.

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