In the quest to achieve its primary objective of assisting African countries to attain economic development and social progress, the African Development Bank (AfDB) acknowledges the right to effective participation in decision making as essential for the development of an inclusive and just society. It equally recognises the need to promote respect for human rights and good governance. In this respect therefore, the Bank commissioned the preparation of an issues paper to provide an overview of the state of Indigenous People in Africa, highlighting options for their inclusion in the Bank’s development projects in its Regional Member Countries (RMCs).
This Issues Paper on Development and Indigenous Peoples in Africa, prepared by the Compliance and Safeguards Division of the AfDB, summarises the African perspective of indigenous people on the continent. It also provides insight into general trends in the handling of indigenous peoples’ affairs by international institutions, with a focus on due diligence and accountability.
In light of lessons learned from the review of the status of indigenous peoples and other vulnerable groups in Africa, the Bank can now account more effectively for ecological implications and their impact on social conditions and livelihoods of vulnerable populations in member countries. The Bank can also effectively and more efficiently address social and human development issues related to the implementation of its safeguard policies and procedures, which have been designed to ensure sustainable development. The AfDB has therefore taken the path of ensuring equal opportunity for all people, and that its operations and assistance to RMCs do not negatively affect the welfare and interests of all, indigenous peoples included.