Engagement with Civil Society: Call for More Transparency from the AfDB

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More than 50 civil society organizations attended a forum organized during the 2011 Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank (AfDB). The two-day forum took place on 9-10 June 2011 in Lisbon, Portugal.  

Opening the event, AfDB Vice President Aloysius Ordu reminded participants of one of the lessons to be learned from recent political developments in Tunisia, North Africa and other African countries: that development efforts must strive for social inclusion.

The AfDB has responded fast to these developments, with a recently approved of a USD 500 million loan to Tunisia, a USD 150 million loan to Côte d’Ivoire, and it has also provided much needed assistance to Guinea on its route to democratic development.

The Vice President also insisted on the need for sound and rigorous analysis if the AfDB is to play an increased and more efficient role with its member countries. Such analyses needed to be conducted with civil society organizations as partners, said Mr. Ordu.

AfDB officials received a clear message from civil society representatives from various regions of Africa: more transparency is needed in AfDB policies and operations. Civil society organizations can then play a decisive role in increasing the relevance and efficiency of the institution’s policies and projects on the ground.

In his remarks AfDB Director Thomas Hurley said: “We need to do much more of this type of interaction and open the avenues for communication. We recognize that this may not have been done sufficiently in the past, but we intend to change this. Judging from the outcome of the meetings today, we need to embrace three words - transparency transparency, transparency”.

In the course of the two days, participants met with AfDB President Donald Kaberuka, with senior management and with Bank staff to discuss various issues where their increased engagement will support development efforts pursued by the AfDB. The event was conducted in a participatory format and provided room for interactive dialogue, experience sharing and discussions of best practices.

The Bank is currently updating its Engagement Framework for civil society organizations. The AfDB’s 2008-2012 Medium Term Strategy mandates enhanced collaboration between the Bank and civil society organizations, based on the recognition that the extensive experience they have in their various relevant fields can make valuable contributions to the Bank’s strategic objectives.  

in their various relevant fields, they can make valuable contributions to the Bank’s strategic objectives.