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.