Rwanda has been cited among African countries which have properly utilized grants from the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) over the last decade with impressive results to show for it.
Speaking in Kigali, Rwanda on Monday, May 19, Prof Emmanuel Nnadozie, the Executive Secretary of ACBF said that while one of the key challenges in funding capacity building and policy research remains evaluating the impact, Rwanda has been able to prove that results of funding projects can be tangible.
Prof Nnadozie made the remarks during a stop-over at the National Capacity Building Secretariat (NCBS) offices in Kigali where he was briefed about the achievements of the government body charged with building capacity through financial grants from ACBF up to the tune of $10.8million.
The ACBF Executive Secretary pointed out that Rwanda serves an example of success stories of the Foundation’s work, adding that those who will be asking about ACBF’s work should be referred to Rwanda to see for themselves.
“Everybody knows about Rwanda and its best practices and to today I am seeing yet another best practice unfolding before my eyes. I would like to congratulate you for the great work you are doing in Rwanda to transform the public sector through capacity building,” he observed.
He noted that in order for the Rwanda and other African countries to achieve their development goals, there is need for both the public and private sectors to be vehicles of development and work hand but with the private sector taking a leading role.
“In the past, there was a perception among African countries that the public sector was the one that was going to do everything. Yes, the state has a fundamental role to play but it cannot do everything,”
“What we have seen that if you want to increase the health of the people, have high levels of growth, create jobs that will reduce poverty in a sustainable manner and improve the welfare of the people, the private sector has to play its role, as much as the public sector,” Prof Nnadozie pointed.
He pointed out that the vicious circle of development shows that if you have poverty, where people don’t have resources to improve their capacity, and because they cannot improve the economy, hence their incomes will remain static, hence the poverty cycle continues.
“This is where the public sector comes in to say that, let us help the private sector to break these barriers, hence the platforms we have in place. Governments are not anti-private sector but they come in to make it properly organised,” he added.
ACBF has been funding capacity building in Rwanda dating back to 2001 when it intervened to help the country address the acute capacity issues in both the public and private sectors as a result of the 1994 genocide.
ACBF funding evolved through different institutions which were restructured to the current NCBS but despite the institutional reforms undertaken overtime, ACBF has remained a close partner.
Currently NCBS enjoys the benefits of a stronger institutional arrangement including strategic positioning (being placed under MINECOFIN as tutelage Ministry); has a high level governing Board; expanded staffing (pool of talent has widened); and a body of knowledge that makes Rwanda a reference point for capacity building lessons and success stories.
ACBF support has contributed in a positive and significant way to the broader public sector and capacity building agenda in Rwanda.
According to Antonia Mutoro, the Executive Secretary of NCBS, the grants were directed towards strengthening the capacity of local training institutions to provide long term as well as continuous professional training of the public and private sectors of the Rwanda economy.
“The timing of the support provided by ACBF was ideal as it coincided with the period when Rwanda was transitioning from the post conflict period to a period of stability and development and therefore needed the support of development partners to build its human capacity,” said Mutoro.
Ever since he took over the position in December last year, Prof Nnadozie embarked on an ambitious programme to reinforce ACBF’s activities but he is quick to add that 2013 was a difficult year for the Foundation in terms of funding but said that the situation was improving and more funders coming on board.
“We have brought back capacity building right back at the centre of everything because we believe capacity building does not go out of fashion. It is at the centre of Africa’s development, we cannot let it slip out,”
“ACBF being the leader in capacity building, we have to continue doing what we have been doing and doing it well,” Prof Nnadozie pointed out.
He said that ACBF and its partners will have to change the way they do things to rhyme with the demands of the funders, which means that going forward both ACBF and its partners will be result oriented.
“We have to ensure results. You need to show results because that is the only basis upon which you can justify the use of public funds in development work,” he added.
Prof Nnadozie said that the nature of the business the likes of NCBS and the private sector are involved is difficult to show results hence the need for such beneficiaries to do even more to prove their worth.
NCBS Executive Secretary, Antonia Mutoro highlighted that her institution and ACBF are discussing ways of sustainability whereby the body can sustain itself in future without relying on external funding.
The funding which started in 2000 came to an end in 2011 but both ACBF and NCBS are still collaborating on a series of key areas to consolidate the gains of the previous funding. The two organisations are discussing further on different areas of cooperation.
“We are discussing more engagements and given our mutual discussions today, we are optimistic that we will find new areas to cooperate,” said Mutoro.
Established in 1991, ACBF’s mission is to build sustainable human and institutional capacity for sustainable growth, poverty reduction and economic transformation in Africa. The ultimate goal is to improve the lives and prospects of people throughout the African Continent.
ACBF supports capacity development in Africa through grants, knowledge sharing and technical assistance to countries and regional and sub-regional organizations.
ACBF’s approach to capacity development focuses on addressing capacity needs and gaps as well as on stakeholder ownership of interventions, project and program sustainability and synergy of interventions with other development funding institutions.