“CSOs, essential partners for AfDB to achieve results and impact on the ground,” says Maria Mulindi, Senior Advisor to AfDB President
“Civil society organizations are essential partners for the African Development Bank (AfDB) to achieve results on the ground, and have positive impact on the lives of project beneficiaries,” said Maria Mulindi, Senior Advisor to AfDB President for Civil society and Community-Based Organizations. She was speaking at the closing ceremony of the AfDB regional consultations meeting with Southern Africa civil society organizations (CSOs) on 30 November 30 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
“The Bank cannot fulfil its agenda without you. We have to work together to meet the aspirations of the African people. And as long as we have a shared goal and objectives I am sure we will be successful,” Mulindi said. Speaking about the 3-day meeting, she said it was an opportunity to listen to CSOs of the region. For her, it was a learning process and the start of a partnership to work together for the benefits of the African people.
At the Johannesburg meeting CSOs expressed their concerns and expectations. These include their will to see the Bank’s development strategy fit within the African countries’ national strategies.
Capacity building for CSOs was raised as a concern, because it is necessary for them to be knowledgeable and credible partners in discussions with governments and the Bank, especially during project design and implementation as well as evaluation. A view shared by Robert Chimambo of Zambia Climate Change Network: “You need informed CSOs at all levels to avoid conflicts between them, governments and development institutions.”
“We have taken note of your request for information sharing, systematic continuous and constant interaction, and inclusion of CSO in the designing of country strategy papers and the implementation of projects….. We promise to do better in the future. And most importantly, as this was the common thread in the break out groups, we have taken note of the building of capacity to ensure Civil Society can participate and represent ably, at every level of governance and policy making and in strategic plans and government decision making,” Mulindi further highlighted.
The Johannesburg meeting was the third of a series of five regional consultations with African civil society organizations. Through the consultations, the Bank is strengthening dialogue with CSOs on three priority areas: energy-climate change, agriculture and jobs for the youth. At the end of the process, a roadmap will be elaborated by sub-region to serve as a basis for the Bank’s Civil Society Engagement Action Plan to set up the structure of the enhanced partnership to deliver the High 5s.
After Southern Africa, the East Africa consultations will take place in Nairobi, Kenya on 7, 8 and 9 December, while the North Africa segment will be organized in Tunis, Tunisia from 13 to 15 December 2016.