AfDB Holds Partnership Talks with African Civil Society Bodies in Libreville - Interviews
The AfDB successfully organised the first regional consultation on its Civil Society Engagement Framework in Libreville, Gabon, last week. Key representatives among the 31 participants described the talks as meaningful and positive.
Ms Ginette-Ursule Yoman, Gender and Social Development Division Manager
Question: What is your assessment of the just-concluded consultations with African civil society organisations on the Bank’s Engagement Framework which you led?
Answer: The first regional consultation between the Bank and African civil society has been very successful in three key areas. First, we had a full house of 31 credible CSOs representing all the countries in Central, North, and West Africa. Secondly, they brought quality and rich contributions to the discussions on the various issues on the agenda; namely, the institutional arrangements for engagement with civil society. The third success factor relates to the commitment of all participants to work with us in providing their comments on the Bank’s long-term strategy. Finally, we commend the huge support we received from the Gabonese government in various way that ensured the success of the discussion.
Question: CSOs have expressed the desire to be better integrated in the Bank’s activities. What is your response to this?
Answer: The pattern of our engagement with civil society in the implementation of actions will be gradual and sustainable. All actions cannot be implemented at once. We have a selection process leading up to the implementation of priority actions in which CSOs have an added value, that is to say, in communication, sensitization, and in their contributions to various processes in the preparation of country strategy documents.
Question: After the Libreville meeting what are the next steps in the implementation of the engagement framework?
Answer: The dialogue will continue with another meeting in Nairobi, Kenya for CSOs in East and Southern Africa. We will also consult internally within the Bank. The document will then be finalized and presented to the Board of Directors for approval.
Karim Trabelsi, University Lecturer, economist, member of the National Federation of Tunisia’s Higher Education (UGTT)
Karim Trabelsi, University Lecturer, economist, member of the National Federation of Tunisia’s Higher Education (UGTT) Council and General Coordinator of the Coalition on African Development Bank.
This is a step forward in the institutionalization of dialogue with civil society. The Coalition greatly appreciates the preparation of this document (AfDB framework engagement with CSOs) that marks a break with past practices. The document makes a clear difference with other multilateral development banks that have no framework for allowing evaluation upfront. This framework will be of great importance in strengthening civil society involvement in the Bank's operations both at institutional, national, and project levels.
Marcel Libama of the Union of Public and Private Administration workers in Gabon (USAP / PWYP)
This is the first time that CSOs in Gabon have participated in consultations with AfDB. We think it is an upstream exercise that can add value to the Bank’s policy documents and strategies. Libreville will remain for us a great moment for a desirable win-win partnership between the AfDB and CSOs. It marks the consolidation and confirmation of the importance of civil society in the continent's development. There has been a clear focus on transparency at all levels.