Accra, 06 September 2017 (ACBF) – Finance and economic planning ministers as well as other top Government officials, leaders from the African Union Commission, the World Bank, the United Nations and others have urged both African and non African States, global development partners and the private sector to renew and increase their support to the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) “in its efforts to help create an Africa Capable of Achieving its Own Development as envisioned by the African people.” This is the main message contained in the final communiqué of two days of discussions of the 26th Annual Meeting of the ACBF Board of Governors held in the Ghanaian capital from 4 to 5 September 2017, under the theme “Accessing Funds for Development: Required Capacities for Resource Mobilization, Utilization and Absorption.”
Describing the above theme as “very relevant and timely for the continent,” the participating African leaders and development partners said “to efficiently mobilize the available resources, countries need to tackle capacity constraints” which “include human and institutional capacity to effectively manage tax exemptions, tax evasion, capital flight, illicit financial flows, as well as constraints to accessing private resources particularly blended finance offered by public private partnership (PPP) avenues and capital markets.”
The high-level delegates enumerated areas needing robust ACBF’s interventions for Africa’s sustainable development as “human resource capacity in the public sector, science and technology, institutional-level capacity around oversight, governance, and legal systems; absorptive capacity of the private sector and project implementation capacity.”
While the meeting’s participants acknowledged the pivotal role ACBF has played in coordinating capacity development efforts on the continent, they encouraged the Foundation to do more “to produce skilled people and strong institutions capable of bringing about transformative change at national, regional and continental levels in Africa.”
A clear recommendation was made for the Foundation to “develop capacity of African countries to mobilize resources either domestically or on the international financial market, including through the private sector, pension funds, etc.” to help with implementing their development plans.”
The delegates also expressed gratitude to the World Bank for 26 years of “unwavering support” to ACBF and solemnly requested the Bank “to ensure that the results that ACBF has achieved over the past quarter of a century remain sustainable by continuing support to the Foundation and, welcomes in this regard the renewed commitment made by the Bank to continue supporting capacity development programs in Africa.”
They echoed a similar note of gratitude to African member countries, the African Development Bank, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA), and Afreximbank and encouraged them to keep their promise of supporting the Foundation’s current Strategy covering the period from 2017 to 2021. The said Strategy, it should be noted, will be implemented through four mutually supportive pillars: enabling effective delivery of continental development priorities, supporting countries to achieve tangible development results, enhancing private sector and civil society contributions to sustainable development, and leveraging knowledge and learning to increase development effectiveness on the continent.
The next Annual Meeting of the ACBF Board of Governors will be hosted by the Republic of Cameroon at a date to be agreed between the Host Government and the Secretariat of the Foundation.
WHAT INDIVIDUAL LEADERS SAID
Hon Yaw Osafo Maafo, Senior Minister, Ghana
“We in Ghana certainly welcome any additional support for ACBF, but we should be able to mobilize among ourselves sufficient resources to keep ACBF going, before we stretch our hands to development partners for help. Their help should be the icing on the cake, not the main thing.”
Hon. Goodall Gondwe, Chair of the ACBF Board of Governors and Minister of Finance – Malawi
“The Foundation has invested in strategic engagement along the entire policy value chain and in building human and institutional capacity across Africa, encompassing over 321 capacity development projects and a commitment of more than $700 million to date.
“Through its 25 years of operation, our Foundation has helped us achieve significant results in terms of increasing macroeconomic stability, fiscal management and debt sustainability; enhancing our capacity for economic policy analysis and management, thanks to the training of over 50,000 economists and public sector managers as well as the creation of more than 40 think tanks and policy institutes.”
Hon. Ken Ofori-Atta, Minister of Finance – Ghana, and Host ACBF Board Governor
“The government and people of Ghana are especially honored to be hosting this meeting in Accra,” he said, adding that contributions during the forum would generate a new energy in “our collective discussions on African development grounded in capacity building.”
H.E. Thomas Kwesi Quartey, Deputy Chairperson, AU Commission
“ACBF has been granted the status of Specialized Agency not just because we like ACBF nor that we simply needed to add to the list of specialized agencies to expand the AU Empire. Rather, it is solely in recognition of the criticality of capacity development on the continent and the uncontested role and vast experience of ACBF in this area.”
“ I am urging all African countries, development partners, and non- African members and friends to support ACBF and channel all capacity development-related support through our Specialized Technical Agency for better coordination, efficiency, impact, and tangible results.”
H.E. Erastus Mwencha, Chair of the ACBF Executive Board
“Africa needs ACBF to continue playing its capacity building coordination role to effectively address development bottlenecks such as the limited absorptive capacity.
“The Foundation is well placed for this role on the continent not only because it has accumulated immense experience and knowledge on capacity development but also because the growing impact of its operations and interventions provides the proof that capacity should be central to development.”
Prof. Emmanuel Nnadozie, Executive Secretary – ACBF
“There is a compelling body of knowledge pointing to limited absorptive capacity as a key impediment to the implementation and effectiveness of various development projects and programs in Africa.
“The Foundation has discovered that it has become urgent that we go beyond addressing the resource access challenge towards finding solutions to the utilization and absorption of resources challenge.”
Mr Henri Kerali, Country Director for Ghana, Liberia and Serra Leone – The World Bank
We have been with ACBF in the past 26 years and we look forward to 26 more years to develop capacity in the continent.
Mr. Lamin Momodou MANNEH, Director, UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa
“We have paid all our financial contributions to the outgoing strategic plan and we pledge to play our part in the new strategic plan.”
“You will find in the UNDP a continued strong partner.”
“Agenda 2063 and the SDGs would pose serious challenges to the continent without adequate financial support to ACBF.”
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ABOUT the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF)
Having spearheaded and robustly coordinated capacity development programs worth over 700 million US dollars across 45 countries and 8 regional economic communities (RECs) in Africa since 1991, ACBF has gathered the requisite experience that makes it the go-to institution for expert knowledge and human resources to advise and support African countries, regional economic communities and institutions on decisive steps to take to develop the practical skills urgently required for the continent’s economic transformation.
Evidence from our cutting-edge work (constituting hundreds of knowledge publications) and the work of several partners show that Africa's development efforts are being hobbled by severe capacity deficits often in the form of shortage of critical skills, deficits in leadership, inhibiting mindsets and weak institutions. The continent’s practical skills shortage is acute in key areas such as Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and Agriculture.
At ACBF, we will continue using our unmatched track record in managing financial facilities for development, our vast knowledge gathering experience thanks to the exceptional skills mix of our core staff as well as our strong strategic partnerships and networks to help countries and institutions identify their capacity needs, advise them on how to plug these capacity weaknesses and on where to find the knowledge and resources to develop the requisite capacity resources, effectively use them and retain them to achieve their short and long-term development objectives.
ACBF’s vision is an Africa capable of achieving its own development.
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