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Nigeria not a fragile state

by Business News Report

Omoh Gabriel, Business Editor
Nigeria has been grouped among the fragile state by the World Bank Group. But the Bank’s Manager External Relations, Africa Mr. Marco Nelli said that it was a mistake on the part of the Bank to have added Nigeria. He said the Bank made a mistake. Fragile states according to the bank are low-income countries under stress characterised by weak policies, institutions, and governance. The bank said that countries in this group for which Nigeria is one are home to almost 500 million people, roughly half of whom earn less than a dollar a day, fragile states, until recently known in the World Bank as low-income countries under stress (LICUS), have attracted increasing attention. Concern is growing about the ability of these countries to reach development goals as well as about the adverse economic effects they have on neighboring countries and the global spillovers that may follow.
Other countries in the fragile state group include Burundi, Cambodia, Comoros, Congo Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea-Bissau, Kosovo (territory), Lao PDR, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea Sao Tome and Principe ,Tajikistan Timor-Leste Togo Uzbekistan Afghanistan, Angola, Central African Republic, Haiti, Liberia, Myanmar, Solomon Islands, Somalia, Sudan and Zimbabwe
The World Bank said “With their multiplicity of chronic problems, these countries pose some of the toughest development challenges. Poor governance and extended internal conflicts are common among these countries, which all face similar hurdles: weak security, fractured societal relations, corruption, breakdown in the rule of law, and lack of mechanisms for generating legitimate power and authority. As low-income countries, LICUS also have a huge backlog of investment needs and limited government resources to meet them.
“Past international engagement with these countries has failed to yield significant improvements, and donors and others continue to struggle with how best to assist fragile states. LICUS are characterized by weak policies, institutions, and governance. The Bank identified 25 such countries in fiscal year 2005. These 25 countries have a number of similarities: their infant mortality rate is a third higher than that of other low-income countries, life expectancy is 12 years lower, and their maternal mortality rate is about 20 percent higher.

“There are also important differences among LICUS. Some grew at around 4 per cent per annum during 1995-2003. Others had negative growth rates of a similar magnitude. Some have abundant natural resources, while others are resource-poor. These differences are recognized in four business models that the Bank developed to work with countries in crisis: deterioration, prolonged crisis or impasse, post-conflict or political transition, and gradual improvement.
“The LICUS initiative has enabled it to actively participate in international policy discussions on state fragility and has helped improve its operational readiness to engage with fragile states.
The Bank has contributed to macroeconomic stability and to the delivery of significant amounts of physical infrastructure, especially in post-conflict LICUS. Challenges, Reforms in some LICUS have lacked selectivity and prioritization. While the Bank has generally been effective in the immediate post-conflict phase, the Bank’s effectiveness needs to be improved following this phase, when structural change is needed. The Bank has not sufficiently internalized political understanding in its country strategies.
“In adopting state-building as one of its two main objectives, the Bank has made an area of traditional weakness (capacity development and governance) a part of its central focus in LICUS without yet adequately demonstrating how past weaknesses will be avoided and better capacity development and governance outcomes ensured.
Finally, three years after recognizing the need to make internal changes in support of the initiative, the Bank has yet to make significant progress on human resource reforms critical to ensuring that LICUS work is effectively undertaken.
Clarify the scope and content of the Bank’s state-building agenda and strengthen the design and delivery of capacity development and governance support in LICUS to ensure better outcomes.
Develop aid allocation criteria to ensure that LICUS are not under- or over-aided.
“Strengthen internal support for LICUS work over the next three years, in particular, ensure adequate incentives to attract qualified staff—both at headquarters and in field offices—to work on LICUS, and ensure an efficient organizational arrangement that removes duplication and fragmentation between the LICUS and the Conflict Prevention and Reconstruction Units.
Reassess the value-added of the LICUS approach after three years when sufficient experience on the outcomes of the approach will be available, and base continued Bank support for the LICUS category and approach on the findings of that reassessment.
The Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) is an independent unit within the World Bank; it reports directly to the Bank’s Board of Executive Directors. The goals of IEG ‘s evaluations are to draw lessons from Bank experience, and to provide an objective basis for assessing the results of the Bank’s ‚Äú

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