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The African Development Bank (AfDB)’s new Disclosure and Access to Information (DAI) Policy, which is intended to enlarge public access to information, entered into effect on February 3, 2013.
The document replaces the previous Policy of 2005, and is based on the principle that the Bank Group, as a public and development institution, should be open and transparent in its operations.
Under the policy, all the information held by the Bank can be shared with the public unless it falls under policy exceptions indicated by the document. The policy embodies the Bank Group’s desire to deepen and increase information disclosure to enhance transparency and accountability.
For Cecilia Akintomide, Secretary General and Vice-President at the AfDB, the new DAI marks a major change in the Bank’s overall approach towards public information. In her words, “The policy is a reaffirmation of the Bank Group’s commitment, to carry out its development activities in an open and transparent manner, facilitating better knowledge and understanding of the Bank Group’s activities, its use of resources, its engagement with client countries and institutions, as well as its development effectiveness.”
The policy reflects a paradigm shift in the Bank Group’s approach to the sharing of information. It is pro-disclosure, and therefore provides for the disclosure of information in the Bank Group’s possession, as long as it is not covered by a policy exception. In addition, disclosure under previous Bank Group policies was restrictive, and eligibility for disclosure was list-based. Other significant enhancements include:
According to Akintomide, “Openness in this context reflects the Bank Group’s 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 new policy is the result of an extensive consultation process, both within and outside the Bank, including regional and online consultations.