4 December 2012

The AfDB's Operations and Evaluation Department Celebrates 25 Years

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The Operations Evaluation Department of the African Development Bank, OPEV, celebrated its 25 years of existence within the Bank with a week dedicated to evaluation, under the theme "Evaluation for Development". This year, the event brought together development experts as well as evaluation specialists from the World Bank, the International Finance Society, the Asian Development Bank, the International Agriculture Development Fund, and representatives from regional member countries.

Chairing the opening ceremony, AfDB Group President Donald Kaberuka affirmed that "as an independent evaluator, OPEV should be better equipped to assist the Bank in improving upon its services and results." Kaberuka equally pointed out his appreciation for the independence of OPEV. He thanked the department for the work it had accomplished over the past five years, adding that "my colleagues and I give great importance to evaluation. We will continue to support you." He then enjoined the evaluators to encourage top Bank management and staff to make good use of the lessons learned in evaluation reports.

Samy Zaghloul, AfDB Executive Director for Djibouti and Egypt, and Chairman of the AfDB's Committee for Development Effectiveness (CODE), agreed that OPEV had made significant progress, resulting in the launch of its self-evaluation and the creation of a dedicated website.

In an impressive and well-articulated presentation, Tertius Zongo, former Prime Minister of Burkina Faso, gave an account of development challenges in Africa and agreed "that development is a complex issue and the results of our actions are difficult to predict and regulate."

Zongo shared with participants the fruits of his long and rich experience in government service. In a burst of pan-Africanism, he hailed the work accomplished by the AfDB and expressed pride to be associated with such an institution. "Our Bank," he said, "works tirelessly to pursue its mission - that of promoting inclusive development in Africa." For him, "the challenges facing Africa can never be met without the Bank's support. Our Bank should be proud of its experience and results, but it should also be lucid enough to improve upon its errors and shortcomings." In conclusion, Zongo observed that evaluation is more of a political process than a technical one.

The opening ceremony closed with an enriching panel led by Jim Adams, former Vice-President of the World Bank. Also present were Donald Kaberuka, President of the AfDB Group; Shehu Yahaya, AfDB Executive Director for Nigeria, and São Tomé and Principe; Caroline Heider, Director General and First Vice-President of the World Bank Independent Evaluation Group; Rajat Nag, Chief Executive Officer of the Asian Development Bank; and Mustapha Nabli, former Governor of the Central Bank of Tunisia.

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