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The lack of peace and security, often accompanied by fragility, conflict, and violence, presents a significant obstacle to poverty reduction in sub-Saharan Africa. Looking back to 1998, the World Bank identified 24 fragile, conflict-affected, and violent (FCV) countries globally, with 13 of them situated in sub-Saharan Africa, constituting more than half of the total.

Fast-forwarding to the most recent available data in 2021, the number of FCV countries in sub-Saharan Africa has risen by six, maintaining the region’s position as home to roughly half of all FCV countries worldwide—19 out of 37.

These two regions not only bear the greatest burden of fragility, conflict, and violence but also face alarming trends in extreme poverty. In sub-Saharan Africa, nearly two-thirds (30 out of 48 countries) have been classified as fragile, conflict-affected, or violent at least once since 1998. In the Middle East and North Africa, the equivalent figure is seven out of 14 countries, or half of the total.

However, the progress in reducing extreme poverty has been sluggish in sub-Saharan Africa, while the Middle East and North Africa have seen increases in extreme poverty levels, albeit from a lower poverty baseline. This trend in the Middle East is subject to greater uncertainty due to the lack of recent data for several countries in the region.

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