Strategy review workshop lauds AfDB for development efforts, challenges it to do more
A workshop to validate findings of a Medium Term Review (MTR) of Nigeria’s Country Strategy Paper (CSP) was conducted on April 12, 2016. The meeting saw the various stakeholders endorse the MTR findings.
Participants concurred with the MTR outcomes that the African Development Bank (AfDB) continues to support the development of a sound policy environment, as well as investing in critical infrastructure to promote growth of the real sector of the economy. Participants also acknowledged the importance of aligning the CSP to the country’s new development priorities, in particular, targeted social protection programmes, aimed at addressing increased fragility and vulnerability in the North East region.
Presenting the review findings, Barbara Barungi, a Lead Economist in the AfDB Nigeria office, emphasised that the results were arrived at after wide consultation. The MTR also took stock of the performance of the strategy, and sought to establish a pipeline of new projects for the remaining period of the strategy. “The Bank will have to find a way to respond to the social sector priorities of the new government while ensuring alignment with the Bank’s top five priorities (High 5s).”
The review deliberated on the importance of fine-tuning the strategy to address emerging challenges and issues of fragility and vulnerability. This would ensure that Bank programmes contribute to building resilience.
Project implementation issues were discussed at length. The Bank, like several development partners, faces challenges in project implementation due to signature delays, lack of counterpart funding, and a protracted process of setting up project management teams. Participants underscored the urgent need for the Federal Government to address the bottlenecks and ensure effective project implementation. The Bank was called upon to adopt more flexible and faster procedures in addition to continued sensitisation on its agreements, rules and regulations. Development partners were urged to improve donor coordination and harmonisation through co-financing arrangements and streamlining of procurement processes.
The workshop brought together representatives from various Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), development partners, and AfDB Project Implementation Units (PIUs). The AfDB’s Country Director, for Nigeria, Ousmane Dore, underscored the importance of deepening policy dialogue so as to enable the Bank to improve the quality of its portfolio. The Bank’s current portfolio in Nigeria comprises 46 projects, valued at USD 3.9 billion.
The AfDB was lauded for its commitment to promoting sustainable development on the continent, and challenged to do more. Stella Maduka, the Deputy Director of the International Economic Relations Department within the Federal Ministry of Finance in Nigeria, called upon the Bank to “think big and deliver big for Nigeria in particular, and Africa in general.”