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Finance for Peace at World Bank Fragility Forum: How are we progressing on making a positive impact in conflict settings?

March 6, 2024
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The World Bank’s biennial Fragility Forum took place at its headquarters in Washington DC at the end of February and this edition was titled “Adapting and Innovating in a Volatile World”. Finance for Peace took part in a session on ‘Building Peace and Profit for Private Sector Engagement in FCV (Fragility, Conflict and Violence) Contexts’, with our Head of Research and Senior Peacebuilding Advisor Daniel Hyslop introducing Finance for Peace and our work, including the partnership with the African Development Bank Group.

The panel discussion was hosted at the World Bank offices on the Friday of the Fragility Forum week, with the day branded as Partners Day. In a full house, Elizabeth Hume, the Executive Director of the Alliance for Peacebuilding moderated the lively discussion which explored the potential of private sector partnerships to align peacebuilding and business ambitions.

The panellists were:

  • Daniel Hyslop, Senior Peacebuilding Advisor, Interpeace’s Finance for Peace initiative
  • Catriona Gourlay, Executive Director, PeaceNexus Foundation
  • Frederik Teufel, Lead Coordinator, Partnerships, Innovation, Private Sector Development, African Development Bank Group
  • Rob Jenkins, Assistant to the Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development

Daniel Hyslop introduced the pioneering work of Finance for Peace at Interpeace to reduce the risk and cost of financing projects by integrating a peacebuilding dimension in their design. Finance for Peace has developed a model for this, the Peace Finance Impact Framework. Daniel introduced an example case from Ghana where the costs of raising capital for a project were significantly reduced with the inclusion of robust community dialogue and monitoring mechanisms. He highlighted that if such innovative financing mechanisms were to be scaled up with just a percentage of investment funding contributing to peacebuilding partnerships, this would amount to more than all aid for peacebuilding.

Catriona Gourlay reflected on the experience of PeaceNexus as a mission-aligned investor in both public and private markets. Through a peace-themed equity fund and other collective shareholder initiatives, PeaceNexus has engaged multinational companies to monitor their exposure to conflict risk and their performance in FCV contexts.  A common challenge for this work has been a lack of geographically specific data from companies. She called for more transparency from publicly listed companies on their operational footprint in FCV.

Frederik Teufel, African Development Bank Group, noted that peacebuilding organisations such as Interpeace and development banks are increasingly aligned and speak the same finance language. In response to rising instability, for example in the Sahel, he noted that governments, business and civil society are seeking new solutions. He cited the AfDB’s partnership with Interpeace’s Finance for Peace initiative as an example of pioneering work to integrate peacebuilding into the Bank’s instruments.

Rob Jenkins, U.S. Agency for International Development, confirmed that aid alone was insufficient to meet current peacebuilding challenges and that the US Global Fragility Act provided an opportunity for new collaboration with partners including business, especially in the pilot region of coastal West Africa.

We will share more about the team’s insights from the @World Bank #Fragility Forum in our next newsletter. If you have not signed up to it yet you can do so here: https://shorturl.at/abmZ1

© Finance for Peace 2023