African Parliamentarians promote Private Sector Development

13/03/2012
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The Parliamentary Network on the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), together with the Rwandan government and parliament is holding  a special Parliamentary conference on Private Sector Development in Africa on 14 and 15 March in Rwanda.

The conference is organised in partnership with the African Development Bank, the IMFand the World Bank Group and brings  together some 100 parliamentarians from more than 35 African countries. Representatives of the private sector and civil society and the donor community will also join the conference, to review  the private sector environment in Africa and examine steps that African nations, and parliamentarians in particular, can take to promote sustainable private sector development that boosts inclusive growth.

“African Parliamentarians are a very important constituency in the development agenda, and they have shown, in many instances, that they can hold their government accountable and influence the political will for attainment of their set development goals,” said Obiageli Ezekwesili, the World Bank’s Vice President for Africa.

The choice of Rwanda to host this event could not have been more appropriate:  it is ranked among the top business friendly destination in East Africa, the third in Africa, and the second top reformer globally according to a recent study. Building on Rwanda’s impressive progress in the area of private sector development, the goal of the conference is to provide African parliamentarians with practical knowledge and tools about private sector development and to encourage them to push for reforms in their own countries.

“Private sector development  is one of the four pillars of the African Development Bank’s strategy for development.  African parliamentarians, as law-makers and representatives of the people, have the important role of shaping policies and passing laws which attract investments, protect property rights and provide safeguards for contract enforcement. The Kigali Conference is a major opportunity for discussing ways for all stakeholders to support private sector development”, said AfDB operations vice-president Kamal El Kheshen.

Among the key topics to be discussed at the conference are the role of legislators in areas essential to Africa’s development, such as transparency, ccountability, regional integration, infrastructure development, technology, skills development and capacity building, and access to finance. Africa’s first Nobel Laureate in Literature, Wole Soyinka, will speak on leadership and development.  .

"This conference is timely and important as parliamentarians play a key role in their respective countries discussing how the policy environment can help the private sector fulfill its potential as an engine of job creation and inclusive growth." saidRoger Nord, deputy director, IMF Africa Department .

Participants will also have a chance to discuss concrete development success stories and challenges. Presentations will be given by private sector practitioners and experts, parliamentarians and scholars.

“One of the aims of the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank and IMF is to encourage its members to better exercise their oversight role and champions reforms; and we hope that this conference will outfit our members with the requisite skills to debate private sector development constructively and with the requisite knowledge… we want to see many more nations in the continent replicating the Rwandese example” said Alain Destexhe, Chair of the Parliamentary Network on the World Bank and IMF.  The Parliamentary Network on the World Bank and IMF was founded in May 2000 as an informal action oriented network of individual parliamentarians.  Since then, ithas grown to become an independent organization of more than 1,000parliamentarians from 110 countries and mobilizes parliamentarians in the fight against global poverty while promoting transparency and accountability in international development. The network has unique access to the World Bank and IMF and offers a platform for policy dialogue between these institutions and parliamentarians worldwide.

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