World Bank opens Global Network to help countries in conflict

The World Bank has opened a new centre to help countries in conflict.

The Global Center on Conflict, Security and Development, the Bank says will make its financial support and expertise work better for poor and vulnerable people living in fragile countries.

The centre opened Wednesday February 22, 2012 in Nairobi, Kenya will focus on providing support to the more than 1.5 billion people living in countries afflicted by repeated cycles of conflict and violence, it will also help to establish a stronger community of practice and knowledge-sharing across the worldwide network of practitioners who work on development issues confronting fragile and conflict-affected countries, the Bank says.

According to the Bank more than 30 countries, mostly in Africa, are affected by conflict and that the new centre in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, will allow the Bank to provide their communities with more flexible, transparent help.

It said the world is now witnessing a number of countries that are navigating their way out of war and conflict – Sierra Leone, Liberia, Timor Leste, and Bosnia by resuming education, health, and other key social services, and creating stable, elected governments which in turn have drawn development support and local and foreign investors.

It however, noted that millions of people across Africa, South Asia, and other regions still face perilous, isolated, lives in war-torn situations.

According to the Bank  fragile and conflict-affected states are a key priority for its poverty-fighting mission. These countries face severe development challenges weak governments, corruption, political instability, and frequently, ongoing violence or the legacy of past violence; and while people living in fragile and post-conflict countries make up 15 percent of the world s population, they represent more than 30 percent of all people living in dire poverty. Their poverty rates are twice as high as people living in other low-income countries, it said.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, the World Bank’s Managing Director for Operations, Dr. Caroline Anstey noted that the Bank had mobilized more than 690 staff to work in fragile countries across the globe, and had provided more than US$5.9 billion in zero-interest in reconstruction support to these countries since 2000 from the World

“Our Nairobi hub represents a strategic shift in the way we help fragile and conflict affected countries, and will make us more flexible and smarter about how we can improve people s lives in desperate situations,”  Anstey said.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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