… A huge vote of confidence at Foundation’s 30th anniversary
The two-day virtual celebrations of the 30th anniversary of the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), opened on October 20 with a call on member countries and development partners to continue supporting the African Union’s specialized agency for capacity development, because “it is an institution we can all trust”.
Joining the anniversary webinar from the Egyptian capital, Cairo, Dr. Christiane Abou Lehafof the Afreximbank, said ACBF was one of the success stories of the bank, and since their collaboration started in 2007, the bank has been proud to know ACBF as a responsible entity that takes charge of capacity building on the continent.
Based on this track record, Dr. Lehaf called on the Foundation’s member states and development partners to come together and continue to help ACBF deliver on its mandate, “because it is an institution we can all trust”.
That vote of confidence coming from Afreximbank, was reinforced by the Chair of the Board of Governors of ACBF and Ghana’s Minister of Finance, Hon. Ken Ofori Atta, who said “Africa needs ACBF more than ever” to better play the role it has been playing for the past 30 years.
“The good news is that with 30 years of experience, ACBF has reached the age of maturity to contribute meaningfully to Africa’s development,” Hon Ofori-Atta said, adding that financial support by member states and development partners was critical to the activities and survival of the Foundation.
Hon Ofori Atta thanked the member states and development partners for having played the critical supporting role of providing funding for ACBF’s activities for the past three decades, and encouraged them to do even more to invest in the future of the continent.
Welcoming participants to the webinar, H.EEratus Mwencha, the Chair of the Executive Board of ACBF, said it was with a sense of pride that the Foundation was celebrating its 30th anniversary after three decades of positively impacting the life of Africa and its citizens.
“In February 1991 when the Foundation was founded, there were just 12 member states. Today, ACBF boasts of a membership of more than 40 countries,” H.E Mwencha said. “The Foundation itself has grown to become one of the best-run institutions in Africa in terms of corporate governance. No audit in the last 30 years has found any problem of financial mismanagement.”
In his introductory remarks, the Executive Secretary of ACBF, Prof. Emmanuel Nnadozie, gave a brief history of the Foundation, going back to
9 February 1991 when 12 African countries collaborated with bilateral and multilaterals partners to establish ACBF.
“The creation of the Foundation was in recognition of the serious capacity deficits on the continent,” he said, and expressed delight that in 30 years of excellent work, ACBF has left good footprints on the continent.
The Foundation has since trained about 50,000 public sector officials who hold high positions in ministries of finance, economic planning, and central banks. It has also created over 40 think tanks across Africa to support development on the continent.
In addition, the Foundation has published hundreds of policy research and analyses which it has passed on to member states for implementation. ACBF’s interventions have also strengthened African economies, but Prof Nnadozie conceded that more still remained to be done.
The anniversary webinar was attended by a host of dignitaries, including Zimbabwe's Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Prof. Mthuli Ncube; Cameroon’s Minister of Economy, Planning and Regional Development, Hon. Alamine Ousmane Mey; Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary,
Ambassador Ukar Yatani Kanacho; Mauritania’s Minister of Economic Affairs, Hon Ousmane Mamoudou Kane, and Nigeria's Minister of Finance, Hon Dr Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed.
In his contribution, Prof. Mthuli Ncube praised ACBF for changing the climate of capacity development in Africa. “Thirty years ago,” he said, “wherever one looked in Africa, the state of capacity building was alarming. Today the picture is significantly different because ACBF has made a notable contribution to strengthening African economies. Zimbabwe can confidently say that ACBF’s performance in the last 30 years has been to the expectation of our country.”
Other speakers who gave testimonials, included Prof Kevin Urama of the AfDB Group. He praised ACBF for having been“an anchor of development in Africa” and said the AfDB Group, having been a founding partner of ACBF, was happy to work with the Foundation, which is now helping the bank to implement its programs in Africa.
Mr. Sameh Hussein of the Islamic Development Bank promised continued
collaboration with ACBF, and commended the Foundation for doing a wonderful job in the past 30 years.
Dr Tshepelayi Kabata of the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA), equally pledged the Bank’s continued support for ACBF so that the Foundation could continue to deliver on its mission.
Speaking as an implementing partner, Ms Eugenia Kayitesi of IPAR-Rwanda, recalled how ACBF’s funding ensured the survival of IPAR-Rwanda, especially after the Rwandan government’s seed funding was withdrawn. The co-funding from ACBF, she said, was critical for the continued existence of her organization at the time.
As part of the anniversary celebrations the Foundation launched two new initiatives, the ACBF Alumni Network and the ACBF Media Awards on Capacity Development.
The Alumni Network aims to catalyze support of individuals and institutions that have benefited from ACBF services in the past, and former staff members, consultants, and former Executive Secretaries, to provide advice to ACBF activities and support its governance organs in the mobilization of resources.
The Media Awards will recognize excellence in African journalism, and particularly reportage on capacity development issues across the continent.