Freetown, SIERRA LEONE – Sierra Leone, in its role as Chair of the G7+, has committed, on behalf of its member states, to collaborate with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank in achieving a crucial balance between savings and spending to enhance resilience within their unique contexts.
Finance Minister Sheku A.F. Bangura, speaking on behalf of the G7+ group, which comprises 20 Member States affected by conflict and fragility spanning Asia, Africa, the Pacific, and the Caribbean, emphasized the necessity for robust transformative policies and actions rooted in a shared understanding of how to address the challenges these countries face, ultimately bolstering resilience and stability.
Minister Bangura made this announcement during the Ministerial Conference held on Sunday, October 15, 2023, at the Annual Meetings, where the focus was on “Addressing Fragility and Conflict: A Global Public Good,” in Marrakech, Morocco.
As Chair, Sierra Leone took the opportunity to advance the collective understanding of fragility and foster new partnerships aimed at assisting states mired in repeated crises or convergence risks.
Minister Bangura’s address to the conference centred on three key challenges and their approach to tackling them:
The increasing prevalence of conflict, characterized by regime changes, geopolitical tensions, climate-induced competition, resource scarcity, and other factors, which have been undermining peace, stability, and growth. These factors are pushing already fragile nations further away from development.
The need for a framework that adequately assesses the complex risks of political fragmentation, conflict, disaster, climate change, disease, economic shocks, macro instability, and debt stress. Moreover, it’s essential to recognize how these risks overlap and compound the challenges faced in pursuing development.
A recognition that aid efforts to address fragility, poverty, and stability are often short-lived, project-based approaches. They seek a shift towards a more programmatic approach.
To strengthen the strategies developed by the IMF and the World Bank, the G7+ highlighted the following approaches:
The need for a framework that recognizes the type of resilience capability necessary to systematically build institutional capacity in these countries to address risk, crises, and their root causes. This includes formalizing capacities across organizations to create shared language and approaches to resilience.
The acknowledgement that there are often tensions between spending and savings in resilience strategies, which should be tailored to address the diverse political economy and social problems specific to these countries. Collaboration with the Fund and the Bank is sought to strike a balance between savings and spending for resilience in their contexts.
World Bank’s Anna Bjerde, Managing Director of Operations, emphasized the key areas of focus on prevention, resilience, and staying engaged. During the meetings, there was a stronger call to spotlight the International Development Association (IDA21).
Minister Bangura expressed concern that the fragility component of IDA21 funding must receive clear attention and serve as a conduit to support their case. He pointed out that many of their countries face significant debt distress, emphasizing the need to balance spending for resilience and fragility while continuing to meet their debt obligations.
IDA, established by the World Bank in 1960, is a concessional fund providing affordable finance to countries with the smallest economies, lowest per capita incomes, and lowest creditworthiness.
In conclusion, Minister Bangura stressed the critical importance of partnership and called on the IMF, World Bank, and other partners to deepen the principles of national ownership of these interventions, particularly government-country platforms, aligning resources with national strategies in a mutually beneficial manner. ZIJ/17/10/2023