World Bank targets conflict in war against poverty

Conflict and violence are holding back global economic growth and trapping 1,5-billion people in dire poverty, the World Bank said on Sunday, calling for an international effort to break the cycle.

In countries affected by repeated cycles of political and criminal violence, poverty rates are 20 percentage points higher than in other countries, the World Bank said in a new report.

“If we are to break the cycles of violence and lessen the stresses that drive them, countries must develop more legitimate, accountable and capable national institutions that provide for citizen security, justice and jobs,” said World Bank president Robert Zoellick.

The 2011 World Development Report examines how conflict and violence affect economic development and the lessons to be learned from countries’ successes and failures in overcoming those challenges.

The study ranges from Somalia piracy, continuing violence in Afghanistan and drug trafficking in the Americas to successful political transitions, such as in Northern Ireland and Indonesia.

All over the developing world, it was clear that repeated cycles of violence contributed heavily to the planet’s misery, the Bank said.

People living in fragile states are twice as likely to be undernourished and 50% more likely to be impoverished. Their children are three times as likely to be out of school, the economists found.

‘Stove-piped’ agencies
And 42-million people, about the entire population of Canada, are displaced from their homes due to conflict, violence or human rights abuses.

Zoellick, who took the helm of the World Bank in 2007, has made the issue of conflict and violence a key theme of the Bank’s work.

“As we are now seeing again in the Middle East and North Africa, violence in the 21st century differs from 20th-century patterns of interstate conflict and methods of addressing them,” he wrote in the report.


“Stove-piped” government agencies are ill-suited to cope, the report found. Instead integrated international action is needed on multiple levels.

The report offers a five-point roadmap for action, saying establishing institutional legitimacy was key to stability.

The bank also called for investment in citizen security, justice and jobs; reform of institutions to make them more responsive; and the adoption of a “layered” approach involving multiple levels in addressing a problem.

‘Cycles of repeated violence’
The fifth point stresses the need for an overarching awareness that the global landscape is changing away from the old model dominated by the rich countries.

The launch of the report “is most timely in view of what’s happened in the Middle East and North Africa in the past two months”, said Justin Lin, the World Bank’s chief economist, at the briefing.

“Conflict [and] security are not conventional topics for the World Bank and other international development institutions,” he said.

“However, conflict and security are closely related to development.”

The report, 18 months in the making, drew on resources including the United Nations, experts, national reformers and nongovernmental organizations.

“This past decade has seen the increasing penetration of instability in global life — in terrorism, an expanding drug trade, impact on commodity prices, and the rising numbers of internationally mobile refugees,” the authors said.

“Breaking cycles of repeated violence is thus a shared challenge demanding urgent action.” — Sapa-AFP

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Advertising

Where is the deputy president?

David Mabuza is hard at work — it’s just not taking place in the public eye. The rumblings and discussion in the ANC are about factions in the ruling party, succession and ousting him

Zuma turns on judiciary as trial nears

Former president says pre-trial correspondence is part of another plot

High court declares Dudu Myeni delinquent

Disgraced former SAA chairperson Dudu Myeni has been declared a delinquent director by the...

SANDF inquiry clears soldiers of the death of Collins Khosa

The board of inquiry also found that it was Khosa and his brother-in-law Thabiso Muvhango who caused the altercation with the defence force members
Advertising

Press Releases

Obituary: Mohammed Tikly

His legacy will live on in the vision he shared for a brighter more socially just future, in which racism and discrimination are things of the past

Openview, now powered by two million homes

The future of free-to-air satellite TV is celebrating having two million viewers by giving away two homes worth R2-million

Road to recovery for the tourism sector: The South African perspective

The best-case scenario is that South Africa's tourism sector’s recovery will only begin in earnest towards the end of this year

What Africa can learn from Cuba in combating the Covid-19 pandemic

Africa should abandon the neoliberal path to be able to deal with Covid-19 and other health system challenges likely to emerge in future

Coexisting with Covid-19: Saving lives and the economy in India

A staggered exit from the lockdown accompanied by stepped-up testing to cover every district is necessary for India right now

Covid-19: Eased lockdown and rule of law Webinar

If you are arrested and fined in lockdown, you do get a criminal record if you pay the admission of guilt fine

Covid-19 and Frontline Workers

Who is caring for the healthcare workers? 'Working together is how we are going to get through this. It’s not just a marathon, it’s a relay'.

PPS webinar Part 2: Small business, big risk

The risks that businesses face and how they can be dealt with are something all business owners should be well acquainted with

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday