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MDBs discuss how effective portfolio management leads to quality and impact


Portfolio performance management is essential for the African Development Bank to deliver development results and impact. It is instrumental in making sure that operations are on target, and in tracking disbursement, procurement and impact.

The Multilateral Development Bank (MDB) Forum on Portfolio Management, hosted by the AfDB from March 7 to 9, 2017 resolutely adopted this comprehensive approach to portfolio management looking at hard numbers with a view to achieving quality and results.

The Forum was an opportunity to discuss detailed case studies focusing on the attributes of well performing and poor performing projects, dashboards to guide decision-making and incentives to foster performance among staff. Simon Mizrahi, AfDB Director for Delivery, Performance Management and Results, stressed that “Portfolio management helps us better track the delivery of the High 5s, while hard-wiring across the Bank the focus on designing high-quality projects with theories of change that bring the desired development outcomes.”

Around 20 professionals from the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, the Caribbean Development Bank, the European Investment Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank, the World Bank and the African Development Bank attended the forum. They shared their experiences on what worked well and what did not work across the MDBs, as well as ideas on how to implement new mechanisms that track and help successfully complete operations.

The focus on achieving impact was made clear at the onset of the meeting with the presentation of an analytical framework on Public Impact Fundamentals. This presentation was made by Adrian Brown from the Center for Public Impact to help participants reflect on what is under MDBs’ control and what is not in achieving effective projects. This framework examines issues such as the use of evidence, the importance of stringent quality assurance criteria, the need for political commitment and ways to strengthen capacity.

This Forum, in its fifth edition, presented both challenges and opportunities for the African Development Bank to learn from in order to improve its portfolio performance and also provided a platform to share its tools and tracking framework.