The Independent Development Evaluation (IDEV) of the African Development Bank (AfDB) hosted the quarterly Twende Mbele Management Committee meeting in Abidjan from 14 to 15 February 2018, to share perspectives on strengthening South-South cooperation.
A Swahili expression meaning "moving forward together", Twende Mbele is a partnership among three core countries (Benin, South Africa and Uganda) and two regional evaluation capacity development partners (CLEAR Anglophone Africa and IDEV). Officially launched in 2017 at the African Evaluation Association Conference in Kampala, Uganda, it focuses on knowledge sharing, peer learning and collaboration among African countries to build their monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems and as a result strengthen government performance and accountability to African citizens.
The meeting aimed at discussing the progress of the partnership's various activities, identifying lessons learnt, and planning for the programme's next set of projects and activities. The Management Committee also heard a presentation on Côte d'Ivoire's M&E system delivered by a representative of the country's government. The Committee also animated a lunch seminar for AfDB personnel on South-South cooperation for better performance of African governments, during which they presented the Twende Mbele initiative and answered questions from staff.
It is worth noting that development progress in lower-and middle-income countries depends to a significant extent on the success of governments in implementing policies, services, programmes and systems that promote socio-economic development. But, how can they do this most effectively, efficiently and sustainably, while maximising impact? Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) are key factors to achieve this, as a tool to improve government performance and accountability. The Twende Mbele partnership aims to strengthen M&E systems for this purpose.
To achieve its mission of facilitating programmes and activities geared towards improving monitoring and evaluation systems, based on shared experience, Twende Mbele is looking to grow and expand its network, and has recently welcomed Ghana, Kenya and Niger as collaborating countries.
As part of its mandate to promote an evaluation culture, IDEV is an institutional partner of Twende Mbele since monitoring and evaluation for greater accountability and better governance in Africa will ultimately improve the quality of life of the people of Africa, one of the Bank's key strategic objectives.
In only its second year of existence, the impact of Twende Mbele has been tangible for the member countries:
"Twende Mbele has helped the government of South Africa step up its national procurement system" said Ian Goldman, Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation of South Africa.
For Damase Sossou, representing the Cabinet of Benin President, "Twende Mbele can be credited for creating an evaluation thinking/mindset within our national development agencies. Our civil servants have become more responsive to the need of evaluation".
IDEV is an independent unit tasked with enhancing the development effectiveness of the Bank. By conducting independent evaluations and proactively sharing best practice, IDEV ensures that the Bank and its stakeholders learn from past experience and plan and deliver development activities to the highest possible standards. IDEV carries out independent evaluations of Bank operations, policies and strategies, working across projects, sectors, themes, regions, and countries. In addition, IDEV validates the self-evaluation of projects conducted by operations departments.
About Twende Mbele
Twende Mbele is a consortium of currently three national governments (Benin, Uganda and South Africa) who are interested to use M&E to strengthen government performance and accountability to their citizens. At the heart of Twende Mbele is the desire to move beyond a network of people just sharing experience, toward a partnership where countries collaborate on developing and implementing M&E systems that improve government performance and impact on citizens. The partnership also includes two regional evaluation capacity development partners (CLEAR Anglophone Africa and IDEV at the African Development Bank). The Programme is funded with support from the UK Department of International Development and the Hewlett Foundation, in addition to the contributions from each of the core partners.