FCS Africa Program


In a fast-moving, increasingly globalized and connected world, Africa’s fragile and conflict-affected situations (FCS) cannot afford to fall further behind.

An Urgent Need

Two billion people live in countries affected by fragility, conflict, and violence. Extreme poverty will increasingly be concentrated in these areas, rising from 17 percent of the global total today to almost 50 percent by 2030 due to population growth and weak development.



IFC has long believed in the importance and promise of states that have suffered through recent conflict, supporting their transition to stability and growth.

IFC’s FCS Africa Program was specifically designed to help fragile states strengthen their private sectors with targeted advisory and investment interventions. These might take the form of training for smaller businesses and helping larger companies develop supply chains, to legal and regulatory improvements, and backing large infrastructure projects.

Specifically, the FCS Africa Program provides support through a combination of:

  • Funding
  • Market intelligence
  • Business development
  • Coordinators on the ground (in many FCS)
  • A focus on gender (a ‘gender lens’ is helping ensure IFC projects support women in business)
  • A focus on conflict issues (a ‘conflict lens’ is helping ensure IFC projects ‘do no harm’ in FCS)
  • Knowledge management

The FCS Africa Program is a regional initiative designed to bring private sector development to Africa’s fragile states by increasing our portfolio in these challenging markets. It builds on years of operational experience and learning gained by the CASA Initiative (see below) and achieves its development goals by having a presence on the ground, and by providing flexible funding and technical assistance. The program also creates and disseminates operational knowledge on private sector development in these countries.

Experience has shown that three strategies are critical to successful private sector development in FCS: long-term engagement, market intelligence, and flexible funding. The FCS Africa Program has embraced all three to support IFC’s advisory and investment projects.


About the CASA Initiative

Launched in 2008, the Conflict Affected States in Africa Initiative (CASA) was IFC’s first program specifically designed to support private sector growth in fragile states. A partnership among IFC, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Norway, CASA funds IFC advisory projects in FCS directly, provides market intelligence and advice, and helps governments strengthen their business environments. Lessons learned by CASA’s interventions have helped inform IFC’s approach to supporting fragile states across Africa and in other regions.

CASA is currently active in Burundi, the Central African Republic, Cote d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, and Zimbabwe.