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The mandate of the African Development Bank (AfDB or the "Bank") and its related entities (collectively the "Bank Group") is focused on the sustainable economic development and social progress of the African member countries of the Bank Group. We, at the Bank, believe that this mandate is primarily about people, and creating an enabling environment for them to maximize their potential and effectively contribute to the growth of their countries, and the continent in general. It is also about assisting governments to effectively govern for the benefit of the people. In fulfilling our mandate, we are also conscious of the fact that our membership is constituted by member states that support the Bank Group and make valuable state resources available for the fulfillment of our mandate.
Accordingly, the timely, active and effective provision of information about the Bank Group and its activities, in particular its development operations, is essential to keeping stakeholders informed, and ensuring that the intended beneficiaries of the Bank Group’s development operations understand the intended objectives, and are adequately positioned to derive the benefits. It also ensures a consultative engagement for enhanced project or program identification, design and implementation, as well as policy formulation.
The Bank Group’s Policy on Disclosure and Access to Information (the "DAI Policy") provides the primary channel for achieving the above-mentioned objectives. The DAI Policy was adopted by the Bank Group Boards of Directors in May 2012, and will become effective in February 2013. Openness and transparency are key principles of the policy. 'Openness' reflects our willingness and availability to engage with stakeholders, and the provision of effective platforms and instruments for such engagement. 'Transparency' denotes the availability and facilitated access to information.
The DAI Policy incorporates lessons learned from the Bank Group’s previous policies on Disclosure of Information, adopted in 1997, and revised in 2004 and 2005. The Policy also benefits from the results of a comprehensive consultative process which allowed various stakeholders to share valuable comments and experiences. The Policy reflects a paradigm shift from a restricted disclosure process based on a positive list of information to be disclosed, to a presumption of disclosure with exceptions based on a limited negative list of information. In effect, under the DAI Policy, all information held by the Bank will be made public unless there is a compelling reason for confidentiality. It further reinforces the presumption of disclosure through a right of appeal.