AfDBAM2024: The African Development Bank and civil society unite in favour of Africa’s transformation and overhaul of the global financial architecture

Achieving inclusive growth depends on the involvement of all stakeholders in the design and implementation of development work. Such was the main conclusion of the debate under the title “Mobilising civil society to shape Africa’s transformation and reforms of the global financial architecture”, which took place on 31 May on the sidelines of the Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank (AfDB) in Nairobi.

The event was an opportunity to set out the institutional arrangements for involving civil society in the programmes and projects of the Bank.

Moderated by Solomon Mugera, the AfDB’s Director of Communications and External Relations, the panel discussion brought together Beth Dunford, AfDB Vice-President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Masheti Masinjila, Executive Director of the Collaborative Centre for Gender and Development, Karuti Kanyinga, Director of the Institute for Development Studies, Mavis Owusu-Gyamfi, Executive Vice-President of the African Centre for Economic Transformation and Augustine Njamnshi, Executive Secretary of the African Coalition for Sustainable Energy and Access.

The panel reaffirmed that civil society has a crucial role to play in economic and social transformation in Africa. The involvement of civil society in decision-making brings real benefits, where transparency and equality of opportunity generate an inclusive approach that helps to improve the quality of public projects and programmes, making them better designed and better adapted to the needs of local communities.

Expanding on these points Mavis Owusu-Gyamfi said: “All stakeholders need to adopt a quantitative framework for measuring economic transformation based on five axes which are diversification, export competitiveness, productivity, technology and well-being.” This framework, she said, would make it possible to “guide political decisions and ensure that countries and their institutions are accountable on the basis of reliable data.”

“This exchange has been decisive for the design of a strategic roadmap that engages civil society in Africa’s development,” Masheti Masinjila said. “I am very pleased to be taking part in this event, which focuses on how millions of ordinary people can contribute to global debates on finance and development.”

Underlining the importance of civil society’s inclusion in the development process, Beth Dunford stressed that “by working together, we can ensure that reforms are not only initiated, but are effectively monitored and evaluated. This commitment to accountability will help to build trust, ensure transparency and achieve the level of impact that we envisage.”

Commenting on overhaul of the international financial architecture, Augustine Njamnshi called for the creation of “fair and equitable financial structures that are adapted to the challenges and opportunities which Africa faces,” and stressed that “it is possible for us together to influence these reforms and create a financial environment that is conducive to sustainable development.”

“When we work together, combining the strengths and expertise of civil society and the African Development Bank, we can create a more inclusive and sustainable future for Africa,” said Sijh Diagne, adviser to Hassatou Diop N’Sele, the AfDB Vice-President for Finance.

The debates, which were rich in analysis and ideas for action, will inform the next African civil society forum, with the aim of further strengthening collective commitment to sustainable and shared growth.

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