| Development |
5 May 2016
HARARE, Zimbabwe - The African Capacity Building Foundation officially celebrated the 25th year of its establishment in Harare on 3-5 May 2016, in Harare, during the second day of its 3rd African Capacity Development Forum. Amongst the Stakeholders present - notably Members of ACBF Board of Governors (who are African ministers of Finance, Planning or Economic Development), development partners, members of the ACBF Executive Board, implementing partners, civil society organisations, private sector organisations, academia, the media from Africa and beyond - there was a general consensus that the work of the Foundation, which was critical yesterday, remains even more critical and more relevant today in implementing the transformative agenda of the African continent as articulated in the African Union's Agenda 2063 and the United Nations' Sustainable Development Agenda.
elegates at the Forum were reminded that the sustainability of African Institutions is mainly dependent upon on African leadership and ownership and they strongly advocated for an appropriate level of funding of these African institutions through the effective mobilisation of domestic resources that will provide incentives for external support.
In his address during the official opening, Dr Renaud Seligmann of the World Bank said that at 21, a person reaches adulthood and at 25 they officially leave their abode, a signal that the ACBF would have to explore new ways of mobilising resources in the future. The World Bank has been the single largest funding partner of the Foundation over the past the 25 years. Though continued support of the World Bank is expected - albeit through different modalities - in to avoid a reversal of the capacity gains made on the continent since the establishment of ACBF, participants appealed to African member states and other development partners to step up their support to ACBF.
Throughout the celebration the delegates acknowledged the great support that ACBF has received from the Government of Zimbabwe since its establishment. On behalf of the Government of Zimbabwe, the Vice President, HE Phelekezela Mphoko expressed deep appreciation for ACBF's support to Zimbabwe, saying: "ACBF supported the creation of the Zimbabwe Economic Policy Analysis and Research Unit (ZEPARU). This think tank has been instrumental in providing strategic studies that contributed to policy formulation in order to address various development challenges we are facing." He also noted the Harare-based Women's University in Africa as another success story of ACBF in Zimbabwe and urged his African counterparts to "continue building capacities, but more importantly, support countries and institutions in avoiding the brain drain by retaining, harmonizing and utilising capacity built on the continent".
The Vice President was joined by representatives of ACBF's founding partners (the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the United Nations Development Programme) who reminded the audience of the role they played in the establishment of ACBF and the support they gave to the Foundation throughout its 25 years of operation.
ACBF was established in 1991 to help strengthen the human and institutional capacity of African governments and non-State actors for policy formulation and implementation as well as for development management. The mandate of the Foundation is even more relevant to the African continent today in it's quest for economic and social transformation. As revealed during the Forum, Africa only has 35 engineers per million people today, compared to 168 for Brazil, 2,457 for the European Union and 4,103 for the United States. In agricultural research, Africa has 70 researchers per million inhabitants, compared to 550 in Latin America and 3,000 in the USA.
Former ACBF Executive Secretary, HE Dr Soumana Sako, who is also the Former Prime Minister and Former Minister of Finance of Mali, in his address, also urged a new approach to partnership, calling for greater collaboration and greater solidarity. He likened the approach of some donors to the idea of African development to a car being driven while being managed by remote control, saying that donors should stay in the car, rather than blaming the driver if it crashed.
To commemorate ACBF's Silver Jubilee, a video was screened giving a snapshot of the Foundation's achievements over the years. A commemorative book highlighting the impact of the Foundation's work over the last quarter of century was also launched.
The ACBF Executive Secretary, Prof Emmanuel Nnadozie expressed his gratitude to the all member states and partners - who he listed individually - for their continued support and he gave a glimpse of the Foundation's next 5-year Strategy (2017-2021). He highlighted the four key pillars of the new strategy: Enabling the effective delivery of continental development priorities; Supporting countries to achieve tangible development results; Enhancing private sector and civil society contribution to sustainable development; and Leveraging learning and knowledge to attain greater development effectiveness.
AMA (African Media Agency)