AfDB Board of Directors approves the Bank’s Knowledge Management Strategy for 2015-2020

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The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB), in its meeting on June 24, 2015 in Abidjan, approved the institution’s Knowledge Management Strategy (KMS) for 2015-2020.

The vision of this Knowledge Management Strategy is for the AfDB to become the premier knowledge institution in Africa in the areas of its mandate. This is a long-term goal and an aspiration, where the journey is as important as the destination.

Today, knowledge and innovation have emerged as crucial features of development strategies in many parts of the world. With its ability to combine knowledge with funding, the Bank is uniquely positioned to lead the development of innovative solutions for the complex challenges facing the Africa. To play this role, the Bank increasingly complements its financing with knowledge products and services, including analytical, advisory and policy work.

The strategic objective of the KMS is to raise its development effectiveness through providing and exchanging innovative knowledge solutions for Africa’s transformation with African countries. Effectiveness, quality and impact will require focus on critical knowledge areas. The priorities are aligned with those of the Bank’s Ten Year Strategy (TYS) for 2013-2022: infrastructure development, private sector development, regional economic integration, skills and technology, governance and accountability as well as the areas of special emphasis – gender, fragile states, and agriculture and food security.

The KMS has two pillars reflecting the role of knowledge in enhancing the effectiveness of Bank operations to address Africa’s pressing development needs; and strengthening the quality of the institution’s policy dialogue, advisory services, and involvement in the development debate.

The implementation of the KMS will build on the Bank’s established knowledge assets, such as its flagship publications, policy dialogues, capacity-building programs and knowledge management and learning ICT platform. The KMS will strengthen existing strategic partnerships and establish new ones. It will be important for the Bank to choose its knowledge management activities strategically, based on demand, consensus among key actors, and targeted interventions, with measurable outcomes.

The KMS will aim to address areas for strengthening identified in the evaluation of Bank’s Economic and Sector work, the recent Knowledge Management Audit, and evaluations of knowledge work in other International Financial Institutions. These include the need to balance the Bank’s lending and knowledge work (raise the share of knowledge products on infrastructure, for instance); pay more attention to quality of knowledge products; incentivize the generation of the knowledge products and services as well as avoidance of supply-driven approaches and working in silos.

Ultimately, the key to successful knowledge management resides in the culture of the Bank and the mind-set of its staff. Attention will be paid to turning the Bank into a continuously learning and innovating institution that is able to learn from its own projects and initiatives as well as from those of its development partners and counterparts.

The KMS is not prescriptive; rather, each Department and unit of the Bank will adapt the framework to their own needs. The results of the Bank’s knowledge activities will be measured to monitor and evaluate progress and to address any emerging challenges. The KMS 2015-2020 mid-term review will take place in 2018. Responsibilities for implementation will be shared among the knowledge-generating departments of the Bank. The Chief Economist’s Office will continue to provide overall coordination.