African Development Bank adopts Integrity Due Diligence Policy on non-sovereign operations, a mitigating strategy to safeguard its investment policy

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In its bid to further promote good governance and ethical business practices in its operations and investment decisions, the Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), met on January 13, 2016 in Abidjan and approved the Integrity Due Diligence Policy on non-sovereign operations (IDD).

Board members in their majority welcomed the IDD Policy which they described as vital for the institution, in its quest for efficiently identifying, accessing, mitigating, managing and monitoring integrity risks. The Policy also supports the AfDB’s Know Your Customers Practices, a mechanism which allows the Bank to identify and evaluate its clients and customers before entering into a business agreement with them.

The IDD Policy applies to projects throughout the project cycle and provides for the process required to make a decision to enter into or maintain a business relationship. It also provides for record keeping for an effective post-evaluation and monitoring for learning and improvement.

The key principles of the IDD Policy are to ensure, among others, identification of beneficial ownership; assessment of civil, criminal and regulatory backgrounds; identification of sanctioned persons and entities; and identification of politically exposed persons and other high-risk relationships.

The IDD Policy further reinforces the principle for enhancing transparency and openness in Bank operations to ensure the full disclosure of information on counterparties thereby limiting the misuse of its funds for criminal and illicit activities such as fraud, corruption, money laundering, terrorist financing, trafficking and other offenses.

Presenting the paper to the Board, the Bank’s Integrity Anti-Corruption Department (IACD) Director Anna Bossman underscored AfDB’s commitment to meet the standards of anti-corruption and transparency, and to ensure that its funds are used for intended purposes. 

For the private sector to efficiently drive Africa’s economic growth and for the AfDB to effectively support the continent’s transformation, there is need for good governance and promotion of ethical business practices in Bank Group operations and investment decisions, she said.

“This commitment is reflected in the Bank Group’s policies and business processes as well as the endorsement of international standards of anti-corruption and transparency that apply to its operations,” said Bossman.

It is worth recalling that the Bank Group, along with leading multilateral development institutions, adopted the Uniform Framework for Preventing and Combatting Fraud and Corruption in 2006. Signatories to the Framework are the African Development Bank Group, Asian Development Bank, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, European Investment Bank Group, Inter-American Development Bank Group, and the World Bank Group.

The Uniform Framework is premised on a harmonized strategy for mitigating corruption and fraud and enhanced development effectiveness in projects financed by multilateral banks.