Civil Society Forum: Engaging with civil society to accelerate Africa’s industrialization
The 2018 edition of the African Development Bank’s Civil Society Forum, “Engaging Civil Society to Accelerate Africa’s Industrialization,” kicked off Monday in Abidjan. The goal of the forum: to strengthen the institution’s engagement with civil society on the path to Africa’s industrialization, echoing the Bank’s High 5 development priority “Industrialize Africa”.
Participants at the Abidjan gathering discussed ways of bringing together various actors, including businesses, governments, and civil society, to define the key mechanisms needed to accelerate industrialization.
Vanessa Moungar, Director of the Bank’s Gender, Women and Civil Society Department, emphasized “the importance of strengthening the Bank’s commitment and partnership with CSOs to better address economic and social issues in Africa.”
The Bank’s Chief Economist, Célestin Monga, looked to African civil society for ideas on supporting small medium enterprises and to give voice to important matters regarding their communities. “Civil Society should learn from the success and failure of the continent, and provide examples that have worked.”
Jennifer Blanke, Vice-President of the Agriculture and Human Development Complex, pointed out that the Bank’s revised Civil Society Engagement Framework ensures that, “engagement with civil society is integrated into all of the Bank’s operational work, rather than simply strengthened.”
Rudo Kwaramba, Africa Director of One Campaign, insisted on ensuring that industrial policies be inclusive: “Our development policies focus more on urban areas and too often overlook rural areas.”
For her part, Justine Coulidiati, Coordinator of the G5 Sahel Women’s Association, stressed the role of women in development processes: “Women must be strategists, because women associations should have a major role in advancing Africa.”
Panelists discussing multi-stakeholder engagement at country level addressed the need for coordination among CSOs in the field, especially during crises to ensure that development assistance is effective and reaches marginalized people and communities.
Recommendations from the three-day Forum will strengthen the partnership between the Bank and civil society.
For more information: https://www.afdb.org/en/topics-and-sectors/topics/civil-society/