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The Independent Development Evaluation (IDEV) function of the African Development Bank (AfDB) has underscored the central role of evaluation to the economic growth and development of emerging economies in Africa.
These remarks were made at the opening session of the first annual evaluation days (February 12-14, 2015), organized by the Ivorian Evaluation Network (Réseau Ivoirien de Suivi et d’Evaluation), by Samer Hachem, Division Manager IDEV, representing the AfDB’s Evaluator General. The Ivorian Evaluation Days took place under the patronage of Dr. Albert Toikeuse MABRI, Minister of State, Minister of Planning and Development of Cote d’Ivoire, and Governor of the AfDB.
Drawing from the AfDB’s Independent Evaluation Strategy 2013-2017, Samer emphasized the twin roles of evaluation, accountability and learning, in building trust between states and citizens. “Accountability to citizens ensures that public funds are used wisely and in the interest of the public.” These assurances, Samer said, are “vital to building trust and helping to mobilize the domestic financial resources and the energy necessary for growth.”
“By providing information to the public, evaluations promote dialogue between various stakeholders such as government, citizens, and donors on the effectiveness of public expenditure.”
Many African countries have experienced considerable economic growth in recent years. And projections point to an annual average of six percent growth in the next decade. According to Samer, ”growth is not accidental, rather it is the fruit of persistent vision, leadership, perseverance and hard work. No path is drawn in advance, but the result of steady progress made up of successful and less successful attempts.”
However, without a global evaluation culture, evaluation cannot fully perform its twin roles of accountability and learning. Citizens and the media, he said must demand evaluations. “Policy makers especially Parliamentarians must make use of evaluative evidence in designing development-related policies.”
Other evaluation experts from IDEV also contributed to discussions at the three-day event. Foday Turay, Chief Evaluation Officer at IDEV, spoke at a panel on the theme of sharing intergovernmental practices on evaluation while Joseph Mouanda, Senior Evaluation Officer, made a presentation as part of a panel focused on evaluating the effectiveness of public policy.
2015 is the International Year of Evaluation. Several events are scheduled across the world to highlight the importance of evaluation to development and to further define the 2016-2020 evaluation agenda. As the Ivorian Evaluation Days were the first major evaluation event on the African continent, officials of EvalPartners, the global movement spearheading the International Year of Evaluation, were on hand to pass over the torch symbolizing celebrations of 2015 as evaluation year. The torch was first lit in December at the UN Headquarters in New York and will make rounds in different international and national evaluation events across the world.