Arusha — Nigeria to Chair ACBF Board of Governors, represented by Finance Minister, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, as Sweden steps down. Finland and Senegal, voted Vice Chairs.
The 20thAnnual Meeting of the Foundation's Board of Governors has ended in Arusha, Tanzania, 2011, with African members pledging resounding support towards ACBF's third Strategic Mid Term Plan. The Board of Governors meeting follows ACBF's fifth High Level round table: "Twenty Years of Capacity Development: Africa's Story", which looked at the urgent and pertinent issues of Youth Unemployment and Africa's position on Aid Effectiveness ahead of the international development conference in Busan, South Korea.
The Arusha Board of Governors meeting was officially opened by Dr Mohammed Ghalib Bilali, Vice President of the United Republic of Tanzania, and hosted by Hon. Mustafa Haidi Mkulo, Tanzania's Minister of Finance, who is also ACBF's Governor for Tanzania.
In total, 150 to-ranking officials from African and non-African Governments and development partners attended the High Level Forum and Board of Governor's meetings. These included former Prime Ministers, African Ministers of Finance and Economic Planning, representatives from multilateral agencies and bilateral members, Tanzanian officials, leading thinkers on capacity development, academics and media. ACBF's newest member, The Gambia, who joined the Board in March, 2011, attended the Governors meeting for the first time, together with the Islamic Development Bank and Ecobank, who attended as observers.
Speaking at the conclusion of the Board of Governor's meeting in Dar es Salaam, outgoing Chair, Ambassador Sten Rylander, said: "The 20th ACBF Board of Governors meeting which coincides with ACBF's 20th anniversary comes at a time when ACBF is gearing itself for its third Strategic Medium Term Plan, which runs from 2012 to 2016. As I hand over the reins of the Foundation's highest governance organ, it is extremely gratifying that ACBF has delivered such an impressive turnaround performance, not only improving its overall portfolio quality, visibility and influence on the continent, but also repositioning itself to address some of the critical capacity development challenges facing the continent."
During Ambassador Rylander's tenure as Chair, ACBF has sought to increase the share of African members' contribution to the Foundation, in order to balance the African ownership with the support the organisation receives from the key multilateral and bilateral donors. "The special pledging session held here in Arusha", said Ambassador Rylander, "has resulted in USD14.6 million being committed by twenty countries to SMTPIII. What is most encouraging is that all these countries are doubling, trebling, or even quadrupling their SMTPII contributions, which is an excellent signal. Those African countries with arrears have also committed to clearing any SMTPII arrears by the end of 2011, with several undertaking to increase their pledges following additional consultations in their countries.
Speaking at the end of the Board of Governors meeting, ACBF Executive Secretary, Dr Frannie Léautier said: "I am grateful to the African member countries for their aggregated pledge of USD 14.6 million, which is expected to increase according to the statements made by the African Governors at their Special Session held on 8 September 2011. I also look forward to pledges by the other African countries, which could not attend the 20th Meeting in Arusha. My thanks, too, go to ACBF's founding Institution, the World Bank, who pledged USD100 million, over three years, subject to Board approval. Sweden, a founding member, also pledged USD 10 million towards SMTPIII, subject to Parliamentary approval. I further wish to express my most sincere appreciation to the African Development Bank, to Canada, to Denmark and to Finland, who all have expressed their full support to ACBF and will confirm their pledges after going through the necessary internal processes. I finally extend my thanks to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), which has expressed its commitment to working with ACBF on a programmatic basis. This continued unwavering support to the Foundation is greatly appreciated and signals renewed international support for ACBF's interventions on the continent."
Ambassador Rylander added: "Leaving the highest governance organ of the Foundation at this time is bittersweet, particularly as I have spent several decades serving Africa in various capacities. However, I am extremely delighted that Nigeria, represented by Finance Minister, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, is taking over the Chair. I have no doubt that given her depth and breadth of development experience as former Managing Director of the World Bank, her renowned international diplomacy and unsurpassed risk and knowledge management, Ngozi will add immense value to the organisation. She will be a great asset to the Foundation."
About the African Capacity Building Foundation
ACBF was established in February 1991. It is the outcome of collaboration between African governments and the international donor community. Its mission is to build sustainable human and institutional capacity for sustainable growth and poverty reduction in Africa. ACBF's vision is for Africa to be recognized for its socio-political and economic capabilities and endowments – a continent with effective institutions and policies acquired through sustained investment in people and institutions. The Foundation aims to become a leader, major partner, and centre of excellence for capacity building in Africa.
The African Union currently serves as an Observer on the ACBF Board of Governors.
For further information on ACBF, please contact:
African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF)
PO Box 1562, Harare
Tel: + 263 4 700208/210