About 370 million people live in low-income fragile and conflict-affected states (FCS). They have higher poverty rates, lower growth rates, and weaker human development indicators than other low-income countries. The World Bank Group has identified support to FCS as a strategic priority, critical to achieving its mission of poverty alleviation and shared prosperity. Progress is evident in several areas, but Bank Group engagement in FCS is clearly a long-term agenda with several challenges and constraints yet to be overcome.

The evaluation finds that:

  • Country assistance strategies have lacked tailoring to fragility and conflict drivers and realism, and do not currently have contingencies based on political economy and conflict risks to adjust objectives and results if risks materialize.
  • The Bank has been relatively effective in mainstreaming gender within the health and education and community-driven development portfolios, but has paid insufficient attention to conflict-related violence against women and economic empowerment of women in low-income fragile and conflict-affected states.
  • Community-driven development has been a useful vehicle for short-term assistance to local communities in fragile and conflict-affected states; but in the absence of a mechanism to ensure sustainability their long-term viability remains questionable.
  • The World Bank Group lacks a realistic framework for inclusive growth and jobs that is based on economic opportunities and constraints in fragile and conflict-affected states and effective coordination and synergies across World Bank Group institutions.
  • The global shift in aid flows toward fragile states has not been matched by IDA, and fragile and conflict-affected states receive less aid per capita from IDA than do other low-income countries.

To enhance the relevance and effectiveness of its assistance to FCS, this evaluation recommends that the World Bank Group adjust its strategy, approach, and product mix by:

  • Developing a more suitable and accurate mechanism to classify FCS;
  • Tailoring country strategies to fragility and conflict contexts;
  • Supporting institutional capacity building at national and subnational levels;
  • Enhancing the institutional sustainability of community development programs;
  • Addressing the effects of violence against women;
  • Developing a more realistic framework for inclusive growth and jobs; and
  • Adapting the business models, incentives, and systems of the International Finance Corporation and the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency to the needs of FCS.

Video: Fragility and Conflict: Assessing the World Bank Group's Work