The Independent Office of Evaluation of IFAD conducted its first sub-regional evaluation (SRE) to assess how IFAD’s engagement and support have addressed common rural development challenges in six countries in IFAD-West and Central Africa (WCA) Division: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger and Northern area of Nigeria. As fragility was the central theme, the SRE identified five categories of fragility drivers: socioeconomic issues, social disruption, environmental/climate change issues, institutional weaknesses/weak social contracts, and insecurity and conflict issues.
The evaluation found that while IFAD’s operations helped address fragility drivers related to economics, poverty, natural resources management, and social inequality, the other two categories (weak public institutions and insecurity resulting from conflict) were not broadly addressed.
The SRE found that IFAD's engagement and operations were relevant in the fragility contexts, especially for resilience building at the grassroots/community level. However, the evaluation identified critical gaps that hindered the performance of IFAD’s engagement in those contexts. These included the lack of guidance on how to conduct holistic fragility analyses, insufficient availability of technical capabilities within IFAD country teams, and non-presence of IFAD in all countries.
The report concludes with a series of recommendations. These include applying a comprehensive resilience framework in the design and implementation of projects, building the capacity of grassroots organizations to perform key functions, and ensuring that interventions for value chain development include tailored supports to women and youth, and are complementary to a community development approach. The report also emphasizes the need for a more coordinated and integrated approach among development partners.