AfDB engages in AU/NEPAD dialogue on Peace and Post-Conflict Reconstruction

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group is an active participant in an ongoing dialogue on post-conflict rehabilitation, recovery, reconstruction and development.  This is part of a comprehensive, participatory and consultative process initiated by the African Union and the Secretariat of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) toward the elaboration of a security and development framework for the African continent. Its objective is to prevent the emergence of conflicts in or between countries, to mediate and shorten conflicts when they have erupted, and to prevent post-conflict countries from falling back into conflict, by comprehensively addressing the root causes and risk factors.

Preliminary meetings on the framework have focused on issues of enhancing the effectiveness of post-conflict humanitarian assistance, including support for programs on disarmament, demobilization and resettlement of ex-combatants, rehabilitation, recovery and reconstruction, all as a prelude to re-launching the development of post-conflict countries. 

A brainstorming retreat involving the Bank, AU Commissioners, officials from the NEPAD Secretariat, and representatives of donor agencies and international civil society organizations met recently in Durban, South Africa, to share experiences and lessons learnt in post-conflict reconstruction and development and to review progress in elaborating the AU Framework for Post-Conflict Reconstruction and Development. The retreat was facilitated by SaferAfrica, an independent non-profit organization based in South Africa, specialized in long-term security and development issues in Africa.

The Keynote Speaker at the retreat, South Africa’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chair of the AU’s Peace and Security Council for the month of September 2005, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, spoke of the need to tailor the Framework to the realities of Africa in the 21st century.  She pointed out that women and children bore the brunt of wars and turmoil and emphasized the need to create space for a more effective role for women in the decision-making processes in their societies as part of conflict prevention, reconciliation during conflict, and rehabilitation when countries emerge from conflict.

The ADB team composed of Messrs Pierre T. Seya, head of delegation and the Bank’s liaison with the African Union Commission Secretariat and the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), and John S. kaNyarubona, program coordinator for POPR, presented a paper, Overview of Post-Conflict Recovery and Reconstruction: Experience and Lessons Learnt.  It reviewed the long historical inclination to conflicts and political instability in Africa dating as far back as 1800 and beyond, and outlined some key underlying factors.  The paper discussed emerging research on estimating the cost of conflicts versus the benefits of peace-building, before assessing the specific role of the ADB in post-conflict countries. 

Retreat participants were particularly interested in the Bank’s new Post-Conflict Country Facility (PCCF), its objective and operationalization.  Pierre T. Seya, who is the ADB resident representative to Ethiopia (ETCO), outlined the objectives of the PCCF, described its modus operandi, and explained its usefulness in breaking the vicious circle that prevented post-conflict countries to clear their arrears with the Bank and regain access to the institution’s concessional and grant resources, as well as opening the door to benefiting from debt relief under the initiative for highly-indebted poor countries (HIPCs). The Bank’s team, in its interventions, advanced three proposals.

First, the African Peer Review Mechanism needed to pay particular attention to social justice issues and keep an eye on equitable distribution of economic resources within countries. Social injustice has been identified repeatedly as one of the main causes of conflict in Africa.

Secondly, the proposed continental framework for post-conflict recovery, reconstruction and development should serve as a basis for harmonization, alignment and managing for results among development partners.

Thirdly, the role of the ADB as the continent’s leading development finance institution should be accommodated in the proposed framework.

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