The African Development Bank is hosting in Tunis a delegation from the World Bank Group in a series of meetings from Monday, January 21 to Wednesday, January 23, 2013 to discuss the joint strategy planning between the two Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs).
The goal of the meeting is to discuss challenges and opportunities facing Africa, including rapid economic growth, new natural resource discoveries and urbanization, as well as infrastructure deficits, climate change, food security and fragile states.
"As trends show, Africa is changing very rapidly challenging all conventional norms including the way we do business as Multilateral Development Banks," said Gilbert Mbesherubusa, AfDB Vice-President in charge of Infrastructure, Private Sector and Regional Integration, at the opening session of the three-day consultation.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the World Bank (WB) both have large presence in Africa as financiers, advisors and catalyzers of development across all economic and social sectors. They are therefore well positioned to offer sound guidance to Governments and economic and social actors, both public and private, within Africa's rapidly changing landscape.
The Joint AfDB/WB Strategic Planning meeting follows a series of consultations where it was agreed that there was need to come together to explore how best to coordinate operations in Africa in areas of mutual interest and focus in order to optimize impact of interventions.
The objectives of the Joint Strategy Meeting are to: i) align the strategic directions of respective (AfDB/WB) regional integration programs; ii)review the joint portfolio of projects and explore opportunities for enhanced collaboration particularly on regional projects; iii) draw lessons and learn from each other's experiences and best practices in managing regional projects across Africa; and iv) strengthen partnerships, knowledge products and collaboration as well as information sharing and dissemination.
The AfDB/WB meetings are expected to touch on the following areas of discussion: i) strategic directions of respective (AfDB/WB) regional integration programs; ii) human development and capacity building; iii) portfolio performance and lessons learned in energy and transport projects including private sector led projects; iv)modernizing approaches to project delivery; v) innovative procurement approaches; vi) measuring results and improving poverty focus (inclusive growth) of regional projects; v) enabling environment and policy reforms to better support infrastructure projects, specifically large infrastructure projects; vi) innovative and alternative approaches to financing, preparing and delivery of transformational projects (such as the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa -PIDA); vii) support to the continental trade agenda, including agricultural trade; and viii) strengthening partnerships, knowledge products and collaboration, and information dissemination.
Discussions on Monday centered around the following cluster areas: Energy, agriculture and transport sector; Human development and capacity building; Fragility and conflict; and Continental free trade.
The meetings are expected to strengthen collaboration between the AfDB and the WB on regional integration in Africa; help define a more systematic approach to working together in the key areas of intervention and focus; and help the two MDBs reach an agreement on a program of priority actions to guide their joint collaboration.
"Regional integration has been a part of the AfDB's Charter since its establishment in 1964, reflecting the continent's aspiration. In addition, over the last decade, the Bank has significantly increased its share of Multinational Operations (or Regional Operations) from 5.9 per cent (2000) to 15.4 per cent (2010) of total Bank Group's volume of approvals informed by the Bank's Regional Integration Strategy (RIS), which gave priority to infrastructure, trade and regional public goods," said Vice-President Mbesherubusa.