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Creating Opportunity in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Countries

India's Rural Women

For about 1.2 billion people living in countries affected by conflict and instability, breaking out of poverty can be nearly impossible.

People and businesses must contend with damaged infrastructure and trade, weakened institutions, destroyed regulatory framework, and political uncertainty. In the poorest countries, the challenges are even greater—these countries account for one-third of people with no access to clean water and one-third of children who do not complete primary school.

A number of fragile states have made—or are making—remarkable progress and rebuilding at a rapid pace. Yet, the share of global poor living in these areas is expected to increase to around 40 percent by 2030.

Countries emerging from conflict typically require immediate humanitarian support, aid, and, in some cases, the deployment of peacekeepers. However, to grow beyond aid dependency, a strong private sector is essential for providing goods and services, generating tax revenues, and creating employment opportunities.

The private sector accounts for 90 percent of jobs in developing countries and has been the engine of growth and poverty reduction in places like Brazil, China, and India.

Accomplishing similar results in fragile states is necessary if we are to achieve the World Bank Group’s ambitious goal of eliminating extreme poverty by 2030.

IFC’s Work

IFC is an integral part of a wider and growing international effort to move countries out of fragility and into stability and growth. We provide businesses and banks with the financing to grow. We also work with governments to attract investment for essential infrastructure and to enhance their countries’ investment climates.

In the last fiscal year, IFC invested $638 million in fragile and conflict-affected states for its own account and mobilized an additional $310 million for projects in a variety of sectors, such as agribusiness, telecommunications, financial services, and power generation. Our commitments included $133 million to support trade finance, helping fragile states expand their import and export markets for food, raw materials, finished goods, and other essential items.

IFC also advises fragile states on how to improve, simplify, and strengthen regulations to attract investors and enable businesses to expand.

By catalyzing the development of the private sector, IFC hopes to spur on the growth that can lift these countries out of fragility and into the next phase of their development.

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