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Do we need a new approach to support fragile states?

Time (GMT +01) 16:00 17:30


Alex Thier @Thieristan - Executive Director, Overseas Development Institute 


Charles Collyns @CharlesCollyns - Director of the Independent Evaluation Office, International Monetary Fund (IMF)

David Carew - former Minister of Finance, Government of Sierra Leone

Rachel Glennerster @rglenner - Chief Economist, DFID

Kathryn Nwajiaku-Dahou @NwajiakuKathryn - Head of International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding Secretariat, OECD

Marcus Manuel @marcus_manuel - Senior Research Associate, Overseas Development Institute


More than 60% of the world’s poor are expected to live in fragile states by 2030. But it is increasingly recognised that the current international approach to support states exit fragility is inadequate. A call to ‘pivot towards fragile states’ at the recent IMF/World Bank spring meetings in April followed fresh criticism by the LSE-Oxford Fragility Commission and IMF’s Independent Evaluation Office of the failings of international assistance to these countries.

Bringing together representatives of fragile states, international financial institutions, donors and research institutions, the event explores the extent to which external financial support to fragile states is working, and where better practice is needed. Panellists reflect on past experiences and assess the challenges ahead, discussing:

  • What has worked well in the past, particularly in terms of external financial support and long-term capacity development?
  • Have past commitments to prioritise fragile states and adapt approaches to their contexts been implemented?
  • Are we providing support at the required scale and speed?
  • Is the issue now to call for a new approach or just better practice?


Alex Thier, formerly a senior official at the US Agency for International Development (USAID), joined ODI in January 2017 from Triple Helix, a US-based consultancy firm which he founded to increase access to off-grid, renewable energy in Africa and Asia. In his role as Chief of Policy, Planning, and Learning at USAID he represented the US in key international development fora, including on Financing for Development and the Sustainable Development Goals.

Charles Collyns was appointed Director of the Independent Evaluation Office by the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2016 and also serves as Managing Director and Chief Economist of the Institute of International Finance. Charles previously held senior positions at the United States Department of the Treasury and the IMF, including Deputy Director of Research.

David Carew served as Minister of Finance between 2007-2009, and Minister of Trade and Industry 2009-2010 in the Government of Sierra Leone. David is now Partner at Moore Stephens International, a global accountancy and consultancy firm.

Rachel Glennerster is Chief Economist for DFID and formerly the Lead Academic for IGC Sierra Leone. Rachel was also Executive Director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), and sat on the UK government’s Department for International Development’s Independent Advisory Committee on Development Impact. 

Kathryn Nwajiaku-Dahou is currently Head of the International Dialogue on Peacebuilding and Statebuilding Secretariat at the OECD. The International Dialogue consists of 55 members dedicated to improve international engagement in fragile and conflict affected states, articulated through ‘the New Deal’. The members are composed of the g7+ group of fragile and conflict-affected states, donor members of the International Network on Conflict and Fragility (INCAF) and NGO members of the Civil Society Platform CSPPS.

Marcus Manuel is a Senior Research Associate at the Overseas Development Institute. Prior to joining ODI, Marcus held a number of roles within the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) including Director, Pan Africa Strategy and Programmes, one of three directors responsible for managing DFID’s programmes in Africa with focus on Africa wide strategies; issues and institutions, including trade; conflict and humanitarian issues and relations with multilateral and bilateral partners. 

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