Since the 1990s Africa has made significant and continuous progress in economic growth as evidenced by the average annual growth rate of 5.8 percent before the occurrence of the current financial and economic crisis. The growth has been attributed to various reforms undertaken by African governments to stabilize and liberalize their economies as well as stimulate growth. However, despite substantial progress in reforming the overall policy environment it would appear that many African countries may not achieve the Millennium Development Goals. This is partly attributable to a lack of capacity. Weak capacity in public and private sectors in Africa is acknowledged as a major impediment to the attainment of poverty reduction goals. It is therefore evident that no matter the amount of financial resources mobilized for Africa’s development, such funds would yield only limited or modest results if countries do not have the human, organizational and institutional capacity to absorb and effectively utilize them.
While capacity deficit prevails in all African countries, the African Development Bank Group Strategy recognizes the diversity in development needs in regional member countries (RMCs) which calls for different responses. Capacity in accessing advisory services and knowledge products is critical for African middle income countries. However, for low income countries and fragile states, the situation is quite different. These countries have made efforts at enhancing their capacities by establishing training institutions, yet few of these are still in existence and/or performing satisfactorily. Indeed most of them are financially weak, ill-equipped and poorly staffed. They therefore need to build their institutions so that some countries can transform their natural resources from a curse into a blessing.
The objectives of the strategy are to improve the capacity of RMCs to respond to development challenges through increased capacity, and enhance the quality of the Bank’s portfolio of projects by strengthening internal Bank capacity as well as capacity in the countries. It therefore aims to:
- Enhance the development effectiveness of the Bank funded operations;
- Strengthen regional member countries’ capacity for policy dialogue on key development issues; and
- Build internal Bank capacity.
Aligned to the Medium Term Strategy and the Knowledge Management and Development Strategy, it will assist the Bank in coordinating and reporting of all capacity development activities funded by the Bank. To increase the chances of successful implementation of the strategy, selectivity, focus on results and demand-driven approach will guide the support of the Bank. Moreover, the strategy takes advantage of the decentralization of Bank operations and proposes a progressive devolution of some capacity development activities to the field offices, keeping in mind the limited capacity of some of these offices. In line with the KMDS, the close collaboration with particular regional departments will assist in enhancing the capacity of the field offices to not only serve as provider of capacity, but also identify national and regional institutions with which the Bank can partner to increase impact and ensure sustainability of its programs.
The expected deliverable of the strategy include:
- A framework for the design,delivery, monitoring, implementation and reporting of capacity development activities of the Bank;
- Enhancement of the Bank position as a key partner in capacity development through branded courses; strengthening of internal Bank capacity for assisting RMCs;
- And establishment of a “market place of ideas” to promote innovations in Bank operations.