AfDB Makes Progress on Paris Declaration

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group has made strong progress in aligning its lending to national priorities of its member states, Vice President for Sector Operations, Zeinab El-Bakri, said on Tuesday in Tunis.

Addressing a seminar on the Bank’s progress in the implementation of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness, Vice President El-Bakri said the AfDB had also made important headway in working with other donors on member country studies.

She however said that there was room for improvement in technical cooperation with other donors and use of country financial management systems, among other areas.

Inadequate progress had also been made in ensuring that aid was more predictable and that donors are not creating parallel structures and country missions to do the same work.

Vice President El-Bakri urged AfDB staff to ensure that the Bank Group continued to be an important player in efforts aimed at implementing the Paris Declaration.

"The Bank today has the confidence of donors and its shareholders as well as increased respect in client countries. It is therefore very important that we take advantage of this confidence and translate it into measurable results," Vice President El-Bakri said.

The seminar reviewed the institution’s progress towards the attainment of targets of the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the Bank’s readiness for the Accra High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness scheduled to take place in the Ghanaian capital from September 2-4, 2008.

Endorsed by more than one hundreds ministers, senior government officials, and heads of development agencies, including the African Development Bank Group, the declaration lays out a roadmap designed to improve the quality of aid and its impact on development. It uses 12 indicators to measure improvements in aid effectiveness. Targets to be achieved by the year 2010 have been set for 11 of the indicators.

An important innovation in the declaration is that it makes both donors and recipients of aid mutually accountable for ensuring that aid is put to effective use.

VP El-Bakri said the meeting in Accra, to be attended by donors, partner countries, and other stakeholders, would identify what had been achieved so far and barriers to progress, as well as propose actions to improve progress.

Outlining plans for the Accra High-Level Forum, the Bank Group’s Director for Operations, Policy and Compliance, Philibert Afrika, said the AfDB was committed to the Paris Declaration, but needed to do a "little more" to ensure it fulfils its commitments.

He said the meeting would bring together ministers and senior officials, including heads of multilateral institutions and NGOs, from more than 150 countries. More than 800 participants are expected to attend. Ministers, senior officials and heads of multilateral agencies are expected to discuss a limited number of key issues and come out with the Accra Action Agenda.

Mr Afrika said the Accra Action Declaration would be a short and concise document that would outline priority actions for partners and donors to remove key bottlenecks in the implementation of the Paris Declaration.

Key issues to be discussed in Accra will include the conditionality of aid, the predictability of aid as well as capacity development, Mr. Afrika said.

Mr Afrika said the Accra forum would be a ‘marketplace’ of knowledge and ideas.

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