The 21st Annual Meeting of the ACBF Board of Governors (BoG) in Nairobi, Kenya brought together Finance and Planning Ministers and Treasury Secretaries from across the African continent as well as ACBF bilateral donor countries, the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the IMF to discuss the status of capacity in Africa and the overall performance of the Foundation. Nigeria's Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, chaired the session, which also reviewed the financial status and performance of the Foundation, including pledges from supporters and partners.
Speaking at her first Governors' meeting as Chair of the Board, Dr Okonjo-Iweala stated that both she and her fellow Governors were highly satisfied with the overall state of the Foundation. She said that chairing the annual meeting for the first time since her election had been a gratifying experience, coming at a time when the achievements of the Foundation were very clear.
"I take this opportunity to congratulate the Executive Secretary and her team for a job well done in enhancing the operational capacity and control environment within the Foundation, which should give comfort to the stakeholders in this room that any resources will be put to good use in building capacity on the African continent. I want to thank all those that have pledged today and those that have confirmed pledges already made. I want to encourage all of us to move beyond pledging to the actual disbursement to the Foundation to enable the functioning of the Foundation."
Dr Okonjo-Iweala noted the enthusiasm and the anticipation shown to the various programmes run by the Foundation and urged her fellow Governors to keep their side of the bargain by supporting the Foundation – not only financially, but also through collaboration on a number of initiatives that the Foundation is involved in, particularly those involving information-sharing, exchange of expertise and supporting countries that may be emerging or struggling. She thanked the government of Zimbabwe for its huge contribution to the Foundation and also expressed gratitude to the governments of Nigeria and Kenya, who offered support for Southern Sudan. By working together and supporting one another, the future could be in Africa's hands.
Turning to the Foundation's institutional members and bilateral donors, The BoG Chair said: "I want to thank you for your continued and unwavering support. I thank the World Bank sincerely for agreeing to Chair the pledging session to be held on the margins of the Annual Meetings in Tokyo. This support is much appreciated."
While appreciating this support, Dr Okonjo-Iweala said that she also wished to laud the efforts made by ACBF towards financial sustainability, adding that the Governors should put all mechanisms in place to ensure that the Foundation moves to a situation where it no longer has to rely on pledges. She appealed particularly to the African Governors to support the Foundation in its efforts to grow the Endowment Fund.
The two-day meeting was generously hosted by the Government of Kenya. The ACBF Governor for Kenya, Hon. Wycliffe Ambetsa Oparanya, Minister of State for Planning, National Development and Vision 2030 officiated at the Board Meeting on Sunday 1st July, while Hon. Dalmas Otieno, Minister of State for Public Service spoke on the High Level Panel on Saturday 30th July.
Concluding the weekend's events, ACBF Executive Secretary, Dr Frannie Léautier said that ACBF's convening power was clearly evidenced by the quality of the deliberations at the round table discussions on public sector capacity building and natural resources management, adding that ACBF was well positioned to take on the emerging capacity challenges on the continent, fully utilising its demand- driven approach and focus on results. Dr Léautier said that she was pleased with the outcomes of the discussions, which, she said, would not only improve the design and implementation of policies in the context of increased decentralised governance and the pressing demand to create jobs and reduce youth unemployment, but also increase the awareness of state and non-state actors of the various dynamics and dimensions shaping natural resources management.
"By exposing the current thinking and practice in public sector capacity development in Africa, such that they can be fully considered in the design of policies, these panels bring together experts and decision makers who are passionate about the issues, facilitating the robust exchange of lessons and experiences" she said, adding, "We will use the outcomes to develop and strengthen strategic partnerships to support initiatives in these areas, while improving our own understanding of the capacity needs associated with the natural resources management and the specific role of public sector capacity development, so that we can continue to fund more relevant interventions".
ACBF used the opportunity of the Board of Governor's meeting to sign eight grants, valued at USD USD16,456,550.00 for various programmes and projects on the continent.
The next Board of Governor's meeting will be held in June, 2013.
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 is 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.