AfDB and World Bank Meet in Cairo to Assess African MICs Needs
Along with the World Bank, the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group is organizing a two-day conference in Cairo, Egypt, on the theme: "Increasing the Competitiveness of African Middle Income Countries (MICs): How Can Multilateral Development Banks Best Support African MICs?" The event, which runs from March 11-12, is a follow-up conference to the one held two years ago in Tunis, Tunisia, aimed at promoting and better aligning services provided by the World Bank and the AfDB with the needs of African middle-income countries. The conference which brings together eleven delegates from African countries would enable participants to explore how other development partners might contribute to efforts aimed at addressing development challenges facing African MICs.
Participants in the conference include senior governmental officials from Algeria, Botswana, Gabon, Mauritius, Morocco, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tunisia, and Egypt. Representatives of the private sector and other multilateral development institutions such as the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa and the Asian Development Bank are also participating in the conference.
Speaking during the opening session, the AfDB vice president for country and regional programmes and policies, Joseph Eichenberger, encouraged participants to provide candid and constructive exchanges that would directly shape and chart the way forward.
The AfDB Director for operations, policy and compliance, Philibert Afrika, for his part, said that the Bank was currently in the process of outlining a strategy for enhancing support to African middle-income countries. He presented an update of the progress made by the Bank Group since 2006, including increased assistance to the private sector, support to infrastructure development, targeted concessional funding for technical assistance and studies, as well as reducing non-financial transaction costs, thereby simplifying procedures in loan processing, procurement and disbursement.
"The African Development Bank recognizes the many diverse and dynamic development challenges that MICs face, and is in a strong position to adapt to assist MICs in addressing these challenges," he said.
The director of operations and strategy of the Africa Region of the World Bank, Hartwig Schafer, said that "this conference is a great opportunity to energize both traditional and new development partners and also the private sector to collaborate in meeting the development needs of the MICs." Said, adding that "overcoming these challenges will be key to enhancing competitiveness of MICs on an inclusive and sustainable basis that benefits all segments of society."
The conference is focusing on three areas of competitiveness which include the investment climate, science and technology and infrastructure. Participants are expected to agree on a list of ideas for governments and development partners on how best to address the needs of middle-income African countries.
The conference is expected to provide new ideas on how Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) and other partners can provide more useful services to MICs, generate practical follow-up steps for new initiatives and energize both traditional and new development partners to collaborate in efforts aimed at meeting the development needs of African middle-income countries.