Interview with AfDB Governance Director, Gabriel Negatu on the “Strategic Partnership with Africa (SPA)”-Third Accra High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness Underway
"The African Development Bank is one of the leading institutions on the continent that provides budgetary support as well as balance of payment support to African countries", said AfDB Group Governance Director, Gabriel Negatu, on the fringes of a Special Partnership for Africa Plenary meeting the institution will co-host from February 21-22, 2008.
Question: What is the SPA and why is it important?
Answer: The Strategic Partnership for Africa (SPA) is a voluntary, high-level partnership of African governments and development partners based on a mutual commitment to improve the effectiveness of aid to Africa. The SPA’s partners are officials of African Finance and Planning Ministries and donor representatives, with particular experience and knowledge about issues relating to aid provision, poverty reduction, good financial management and budget support.
The SPA is important as it serves as a forum for donors and recipient countries to reflect on the changing nature of the international aid environment, based on the principles of ‘ownership’ and ‘partnership’. It has therefore been instrumental in fostering the implementation of the Paris Declaration on aid harmonization.
From the Bank’s perspective, the SPA is important as our institution is one of the leading institutions on the continent that provides budgetary support as well as balance of payment support to African countries. This form of aid is often considered effective and efficient at it reduces the cost of implementation.
Question: What is the history of the SPA and what does it do today?
Answer: The SPA was established in 1987 when Africa was going through an economic crisis and when the international community saw the need to mobilize additional quick-disbursing resources to support countries undertaking reforms to address the crisis. Since then, the SPA agenda has moved from an emphasis on support for economic reform programs to improving the coordination and effectiveness of aid through the relationship between donors and recipient countries. Activities of the partnership have recently focused on active engagement to develop new approaches on the ground, and monitoring the effectiveness of aid through surveys and case studies on aid delivery mechanisms to Africa. The SPA’s work is followed by three working groups which include, General Budget Support, Sector Budget Support and Capacity Building for Effective Aid Management.
Question: How is the Bank contributing to SPA activities?
Answer: The Bank has been engaged in this initiative since its inception and we have been represented in almost all meetings of the SPA. In fact, it has hosted SPA plenary meetings on a number of occasions. The last meeting that was hosted by the African Development Bank was held in Tunis in December 2004.
Over the last year, the Bank has enhanced its engagement, in particular, by launching studies on vertical funds in the health sector and capacity building for aid management. The objective of these studies is to share experiences on coordination among development and country partners so as to maximize aid effectiveness and promote compliance with the Paris Declaration and other good practice principles. More specifically, these studies will bring out lessons learned and recommend policies to enhance partner support to capacity development for aid management.
Question: What are the expected outcomes of the plenary meeting in Tunis?
Answer: The main outcomes of the SPA meeting are two fold: firstly, the meeting provides a means for African countries to prepare for the Third Accra High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in September. As such, the forum will strengthen the African voice in international forums; and, secondly, the meeting will present policy recommendations with the objective of making aid efficient and effective, a goal that is supported by African countries and development partners alike.