A Bank-sponsored Partnership Forum which brought together major regional and international Bank Group partners and donors to Tunis to share information on funding opportunities, and deepen cooperation ended March 6, 2009, with a strong commitment by all parties to strengthen collaboration and build lasting partnerships with the African Development Bank.
Speaking on behalf of the Bank Group’s Vice President for Country, Regional Programs and Policy, the Partnerships and Cooperation Unit head, Ikeda-Larhed Kazumi, said she was pleased with the overwhelming positive feedback the Bank received throughout the event regarding its efforts in creating trust funds and promoting Private Sector project financing. She thanked the donors and partners for their participation and called for stronger collaboration and cooperation. Citing the well received Partnership and Cooperation Opportunities Working Document prepared by the Unit, which donors described as “extremely useful”, Mrs. Kazumi promised partners and donors that they would be properly informed of the Bank’s progress and development “by making the partnership forum an annual event”.
Asked, on the sidelines, if there is reason to panic that donors had not made any pledges to the various Bank-managed trust funds, the ORRU manager replied: “It was not intended to be a pledging meeting”. She, however, added that donors had indicated certain areas to support such as private sector development, infrastructure, water, the Governance Trust Fund and South-South Cooperation Trust Fund.
Earlier in the day, Bank Group made a presentations focusing on proposals for multi-donor partnerships, agricultural and natural resources strategy and major cooperation opportunities, emerging needs for new funds and strategic alignment of the ICT Trust Fund, as well as other resource-gathering initiatives like the South-South Cooperation Trust Fund, Climate Adaptation and Risk Management Trust Fund as well as the Fragile States Facility and cooperation opportunities. Participants were informed that G8 countries had committed US$ 5.2 billion to the Clean Technology Fund for 15 countries worldwide, but only three African countries – Morocco, South Africa and Egypt – had met the qualifying standards. “The Bank must reposition itself to address climate change through climate change risk management and adaption”, the Interim Head of AfDBs Gender, Climate and Sustainable Development Unit, Sunita Pitamber, advised.
Presenters explained the Bank Group’s obligation to assist regional member countries (RMCs) achieve their targets MDGs, and to support the interconnection of Fragile States with electricity. They explained that the Bank Group uses country strategy papers as a guide to make interventions, and agreements with RMCs are made through coordination with governments and within the framework of the Bank’s mandate. The Director of ICT for Development (ICT4D), OIVP Mr. Ibrahima N’diaye, informed the meeting that the Connect Africa Initiative had set 2012 as the target year for the interconnection of all African capitals to each other and to the rest of the world. In the short term, the Bank would concentrate on two pillars: (i) regional and national backbones -financing of broadband infrastructure and (ii) enabling policy and regulatory environment - support to Africa’s efforts to attract private financing flows through improvement of policy and regulatory frameworks, with the overriding objective of bringing about economic growth and poverty. “This approach is in line with the Connect Africa Goals” , he affirmed. “But the issue”, he continued, “is how to finance national (fragile states and low income countries) ICT projects –feasibility studies. He recalled that the Bank has received requests from some countries in need of resources for ICT infrastructure development projects. Responding to a question as to why the Bank was requesting a new ICT trust fund instead of NEPAD-IPPF fund , Mr. N’diaye pointed out that NEPAD –IPPF focuses on regional projects while “our niche is to use the ICT Trust Fund to finance national projects through feasibility studies, capacity building, and pilot projects, etc” he added.
The Bank encouraged partners to participate in the South-South and other trust funds to foster and enhance their visibility.