African Development Bank Launches New Civil Society Committee

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Focusing on "Engaging Civil Society to Accelerate Africa's Industrialization" the 2018 Civil Society Forum organized by the Africa Development Bank in Abidjan explored how to associate civil society in the Bank’s High5 priorities with special emphasis on the industrialise Africa priority.

The Forum, held 7-9 May at the Bank’s headquarters, launched a new AfDB--Civil Society Committee representing Africa’s five regions. The committee will serve as advisory body to guide the Bank in its engagement with Civil Society. It will ensure stronger engagement between the African Development Bank and African communities.

More than 200 participants from cross the continent attended the forum’s panel and thematic sessions on development issues and how to include the civil society in the implementation of the industrialise Africa priority.

Speaking on challenges and opportunities of Africa's industrialization, Abdu Mukhtar, Director of the Bank’s Industry and Trade Development Department, presented the "Industrialize Africa" Strategy.  Mukhtar highlighted the challenges the sector faces due to "the absence of efficient and effective policies, lack of an enabling environment, barriers in access to capital, and lack of entrepreneurial capacity and market access.”

For her part, Massogbé Diabaté Touré, CEO of Société Ivoirienne de transformation de l'Anacarde (Ivorian Cashew Processing Company), emphasized the importance for the private sector  to leverage on “Civil Society's presence and work on the ground." According to Touré, "the union of these two entities: the private sector and Civil Society – will find solutions to the real challenges on the ground.”

Highlights from the Forum’s Closing Ceremony:

CSO representatives’ rapporteurs in the parallel sessions on the ‘Industrialize Africa’ strategy presented key recommendations consolidated after two days of interactive sessions and consultations.

Zéneb Touré, the Manager of the Civil Society and Social Innovation Division presented the new AfDB-Civil Society Committee. The Committee is a advisory body that will serve as a vehicle for communication for the Bank toward communities in the continent. It mandate is to forging stronger relations and partnerships with the CSO community, and to help to hold the Bank accountable for its engagement with civil society. The Secretariat of the Committee is anchored in the Civil Society Division.

Following the induction of the Civil Society Committee, Vanessa Moungar, the Bank’s Director of Gender, Women and Civil Society Department, assured participants that her Department "has taken good note of the recommendations and will continue to coordinate the partnership between Civil Society and the African Development Bank."

In her closing remarks, Jennifer Blanke, Vice-President of the Agriculture, Human and Social Development Complex, thanked delegates on behalf of the Bank’s President  Akinwumi  Adesina. "Cooperation between the Bank and Civil Society to meet the challenge of Africa's transformation, will make all of our development efforts more than the sum of the parts.”

Contact: Civil Society and Social Innovation Division: CIVILSOCIETY@AFDB.ORG

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