The African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org) Country Office in Sao Tome and Principe held its maiden Open Day on 23 March 2023 to discuss its country strategy and portfolio, opportunities, and interventions for the island nation’s sustainable and inclusive development.
Some 31 representatives of civil society organizations (CSOs) joined the discussions, particularly on issues relating to youth employment, energy transition and support for agriculture and the marine economy. Participants included Mr. Lindley de Jesus, Director of Planning and Economic Studies at the Ministry of Planning, Finance and Blue Economy, and Ms. Zeneb Toure, Manager for Civil Society and Community Engagement at the bank.
Welcoming the participants, the Bank’s Country Manager, Mr. Pietro Toigo, reiterated the Bank’s commitment to engaging with civil society in Sao Tome and Principe in implementing the bank’s ‘High 5s’ toward inclusive and sustainable growth and development in the country.
In his remarks. Dr. de Jesus reaffirmed the contribution of civil society, saying the Government cannot achieve complete and inclusive development without it. He stressed that the role of CSOs is not only supporting the government but also holding it to account as part of their oversight role. He said the government was open to engaging with CSOs in addressing development matters in the country.
Ms. Toure said the CSO Open Day was an opportunity for sharing information on the bank’s portfolio and for CSOs to provide meaningful and actionable feedback to help maximize the bank’s efforts in-country. She added that the bank was looking forward to hearing more about how Civil Society is involved in the various development initiatives and how they reinforce the achievement of the country’s national development agenda and the Bank’s High 5 priorities.
She recognized the critical role that CSOs play in promoting service delivery, humanitarian relief, good governance, transparency, accountability, social protection, and focusing on a people-cantered development agenda. She hoped that through this exchange, the Bank and CSOs would collaborate more in addressing the country’s development challenges.
Martha Njeri Kinyoho, Senior CSO Officer at the bank, made a presentation on how the Bank engages with CSOs. There was a panel discussion moderated by the Monitoring&Evaluation Officer, Mr. Idalécio Viana. The panel featured case studies on some ongoing projects, notably PRIASA II agriculture and rural development project, a bank-funded project in the agriculture sector.
The Bank also presented its work and results over the past two years. They included key considerations and economic drivers underpinning the proposed strategic approach for the 2024-2027 period. The discussion was an opportunity to receive feedback to orient the strategic choices as the country strategy is developed and finalized.
Here are key recommendations from the event:
- Increase capacity building and support for the most vulnerable communities by investing more in agriculture, marine economy and agro tourism.
- Continue inclusion of local CSOs in the bank’s high-level platforms/discussions, such as CSPs.
- Support to the private sector to create more employment opportunities for the youth.
- Build community resilience.
- Prioritize energy as a critical driver of the economy
- Organize a “National Multistakeholder Platform” among CSOs, the private sector, the government, and the bank to explore business opportunities and shared values.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Development Bank Group (AfDB).
About the African Development Bank Group:
The African Development Bank Group is Africa’s premier development finance institution. It comprises three distinct entities: the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF). On the ground in 41 African countries with an external office in Japan, the Bank contributes to the economic development and the social progress of its 54 regional member states. For more information: www.AfDB.org