AfDB-Civil Society Engagement & Consultation Forum: Two Eminent African Leaders to Deliver Keynote Addresses

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Tunis, 16 February, 2010  - Two key note addresses by Botswana’s Former President, Festus Gontebanye Mogae, and the Sudanese Pan-Africanist, Mo Ibrahim, will launch the platform for an AfDB-Civil Society Engagement and Consultations Forum at Hotel Sheraton Tunis on Monday, March 1, 2010.  

The keynote addresses entitled, respectively: Development Challenges and the Role of Civil Society in Africa and “Partnering with the African Development Bank” will follow welcome remarks by the AfDB President, Donald Kaberuka, who will preside over the forum’s opening session.

The first keynote address by President Mogae will, in addition to key development challenges facing the continent, highlight the increasing roles of civil societies in Africa. These roles are already evident in Bank Group operations.

For example, the Tanzania Agricultural Sector Development Programme was designed with inputs into specific activities and delivery mechanisms based on a nation-wide consultation forum. The Uganda support to Rural Income Enhancement and Employment Project was also designed only after a comprehensive consultation process was completed. The Bank has supported specific projects in The Gambia, Malawi, Mauritania, Mali, Liberia, Sierra Leone, the Central African Republic, Guinea Bissau, Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique and Ethiopia to increase the capacity of rural micro-finance institutions to reach the rural poor.  

This was particularly so within the framework of the recent food and financial crises. All Bank-supported roads and energy sector projects implement a consultation process with stakeholders and communities in the project area with an advance of at least two to three years. To further deliver services to the Bank’s regional member countries in a timely and effective manner, the Bank recognises the opportunity to capitalise on local knowledge, skills and networks of NGOs which are specifically sought in times of natural disasters.

The second keynote address that will focus on partnering with the Bank will reflect the institution’s modalities and guidelines on cooperating with civil society organisations and non-governmental organisations at various levels in efforts at delivering development services.

Over the last twenty years, the collaboration has been strengthened with increased mutual knowledge and experience based on best practices and lessons learnt in the field, leading to the development of certain formalized policies and guidelines since 1990. The policies and guidelines which were revised in 2000 provide a framework for improved collaboration with CSOs/NGOs in all sectors. The Tunis forum will provide an occasion to deepen mutual cooperation mechanisms between the Bank and the CSOs.   

The following brief profiles of the two eminent speakers explain why the Bank chose them to flag off this very important forum.  

Dr Mo Ibrahim is the founder of Celtel International and one of Africa’s most successful business leaders. Originally from Sudan, Dr Ibrahim is a global expert in mobile communications with a distinguished academic and business career. In 1998, he founded MSI Cellular Investments, which was later renamed Celtel International. The company now operates in 15 African countries, under licenses that cover more than a third of the continent’s population. The company has invested more than $750m in Africa, helping to bring the benefits of mobile communications to millions of people across the continent. In 2005, Celtel was sold to MTC Kuwait for $3.4bn, making it one of Africa’s most successful companies ever. Dr Ibrahim holds a BSc in electrical engineering from the University of Alexandria, Egypt, an MSc in electronics and electrical engineering from the University of Bradford, and PhD in mobile communications from the University of Birmingham. He is a member of the Africa Regional Advisory Board of London Business School.

Festus Mogae was born on August 21,1939, and is a former President of Botswana having served from 1998 to 2008. He currently serves as the United Nations Secretary-General Special Envoy on Climate Change. Mr. Mogae studied Economics at University College, Oxford, and University of Sussex. He worked as a civil servant with the IMF and the Bank of Botswana. Mogae was awarded the Grand Cross of the Légion d’honneur by French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, on 20 March 2008 for his “exemplary leadership” in making Botswana a model of democracy and good governance. He stepped down as president on 1 April 2008 and was succeeded by his vice president, Ian Khama. Mr. Mogae won the 2008 Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership, and will receive US$ 5 million over 10 years and US$ 200,000 per annum for life thereafter. At London's City Hall on 20 October 2008, former United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, said that  "President Mogae's outstanding leadership has ensured Botswana's continued stability and prosperity in the face of an HIV/AIDS pandemic which threatened the future of his country and people.”