A dialogue between civil society organizations, the African Development Bank (AfDB), and the government through the General Directorate of Economy and Planning was held in Ouagadougou on Wednesday, May 17th, 2023. This meeting follows a review of the AfDB’s portfolio of projects and programs in Burkina Faso in which civil society took part for the first time.
The AfDB finances many projects and programs in Burkina Faso. According to statistics from the Ministry of the Economy, Finance and Forecasting, development projects and programs represent a global envelope of CFAF 8,000 billion, or 80% of the country’s GDP. The AfDB alone contributes CFAF 500 billion to ongoing projects and programs.
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Participants will discuss, among other things, the prospects for partnership between the government, civil society, and the AfDB
According to Dr. Charles Didas Konseibo, a member of the SPONG Board of Directors, although this funding is to be welcomed, the execution of these projects and programs is still fraught with difficulties. He emphasized that during the review of the portfolio of development projects and programs financed by the AfDB with the national party and which involved civil society for the first time, it emerged that some projects and programs had been extended beyond their initial implementation period. Others have even lasted three years without any activity being implemented apart from operating costs.
In addition, the contracting process is held hostage by the national contracting system of the ministries in charge of the projects and should therefore be made more dynamic. To overcome these difficulties, civil society believes that it is up to the national party to undertake reforms to increase the effectiveness of projects and programs and civil society to support the momentum of government reforms and intensify citizen watch. “Today’s meeting is the culmination of the actions we followed during the AfDB’s portfolio review. Today is the meeting between the AfDB and civil society to discuss the level and status of implementation of projects and programs financed by the AfDB.
The conventions are between the AfDB and the Burkinabe party
And civil society has to keep a watchful eye on these projects and programs so that they meet the needs of the people at the grassroots. It must be said that we, civil society, NGOs, development associations, and foundation members of SPONG, are organizations that are on the ground. This being the case, we are more familiar with the problems that the populations are experiencing in the field.
“The interest for us to follow this portfolio review was to bring out the concerns of the populations so that they are taken into account in the design and implementation of projects and programs financed by the AfDB in Burkina,” said Dr. Charles Didas Konseibo, a member of the SPONG Board of Directors.
Zéneb Touré, manager of the AfDB’s civil society and community engagement division, also welcomed the participation of civil society in the review of the AfDB’s project and program portfolio. Indeed, she emphasized that the development NGOs that SPONG mobilized to participate in the review brought innovative solutions to enable the re-articulation of AfDB interventions. And this is thanks to their knowledge of the field and their proximity to the communities.
This, in his opinion, will enable the Bank to address the real concerns of the population. “We are used to holding dialogues and portfolio reviews on the projects we finance in the country. For the first time, we are involving civil society in this review so that it can also bring its local knowledge, its proximity to the people as a relay to bring their expectations to us so that we can take them into account in the projects,” she said.
Convinced of the important role that civil society can play in the implementation of projects and programs, Mrs. Touré confided that with the authorization of the AfDB country office, the dialogue meeting between civil society, the AfDB, and the government will be institutionalized with a periodicity agreed by all parties.
The dialogue, which was held on May 17th, 2023, was an opportunity for the stakeholders to discuss the current state of affairs and the prospects for their partnership, in particular the ways in which the government-civil society-AfDB tripartite committee can be formalized. It was also an opportunity to present the AfDB’s engagement with civil society, namely the 2024-2028 guidelines and action plan.
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First published in lefaso.net, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.
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