The African Development Bank (AfDB) believes that investment in better information is investment in better development, as transparent information on aid is fundamental for democratic ownership and accountability.
It enables citizens and their representatives to monitor the allocation of resources for development and, in this connection keep their governments and partners accountable.
The AfDB's transparency agenda aims at empowering people on the ground with the information they need to follow development spending, drive results and scrutinize and make better decisions in their dealings with the AfDB.
The Disclosure and Access to Information Policy signals the strong commitment of the institution to this agenda. It commits the institution to carrying out its development activities in an open and transparent manner and is based on principles of good governance, particularly transparency and accountability. Hence our institutional commitment to make adequate and timely information on our work easily accessible.
The entry into force of the new policy on February 3, 2013 was an initial step in the process of establishing transparency at the core of the AfDB's operations. It has been complemented by various initiatives including regional and national sensitization and information workshops. The Vice President Secretary General, Cecilia Akintomide, is providing institutional leadership in this regard.
The publication on July 1, 2013 of data in line with the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI) standard also stands as an important complementary step towards further transparency. The published data covers a wide range of information on public and private sector projects. As noted by AidData, a global initiative that aims to increase the impact of development assistance by making aid information more transparent and accessible to a wide range of stakeholders, "this publication is particularly noteworthy given that the African Development Bank is the first multilateral development bank and second donor (after the UNOPS) to publish geocoding on all of its on-going activities in IATI format. In taking this decisive action, the African Development Bank, an endorser of the Open Aid Partnership, has demonstrated a clear commitment to full transparency that has established it as a leader within the donor community."
Feedback from partners is positive but numerous challenges remain, particularly in strengthening the institution's systems and tools to make transparency part of the institution's way of doing business.
Reforms are already on-going as part of the broader results agenda of the AfDB. Recent years have seen the publication of a series of Development Effectiveness Reviews examining through evidence and facts the contribution of the AfDB to development in Africa.
The institution is also revising its corporate results measurement framework to align it with the core objectives of its Ten Year Strategy 2013-2022, inclusive growth and transition to green growth, in order to manage for even better development effectiveness.
The Bank Group's transparency initiative provides an example in a rapidly changing continent in which citizens are demanding accountability and transparency. The AfDB continues to receive the support of its 77-member states and other stakeholders.
The AfDB is mindful that its transparency initiative has significant human and financial resource implications. It is however fully persuaded that these are justified. Transparency is the only way for the AfDB to conduct its development business.