The African Development Bank’s (AfDB) engagement with civil society began in the early 1990s, when the Bank held its first consultative meeting with nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. Following the meeting, the Bank developed a policy paper and a Procedures, Mechanisms and Guidelines manual to orient its cooperation with NGOs. It revised the policy and the manual in 1999 to reflect its enhanced commitment to this cooperation, focusing on civil society more broadly, rather than just NGOs. A joint committee was established in 2000 to guide and facilitate the Bank’s collaboration with civil society organizations (CSOs).
Under this policy, the following activities have been part of the Bank’s work over the past two decades: CSOs have been directly involved in the Bank’s country programs and have participated in project implementation; the Bank has encouraged CSOs to participate in consultations related to the preparation of Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs), Country Strategy Papers (CSPs); under its Fragile States Facility, the Bank has channeled resources to provide service delivery through non-sovereign funds, including contracting CSOs to undertake critical public-sector functions; the AfDB’s environmental and social impact safeguards policy requires a thorough consultation process and country ownership in defining the possible environmental and social impact of Bank-funded projects; etc.