Established in 1964 with a mandate to promote economic and social development in Africa, the African Development Bank is a regional multilateral development finance institution comprising the African Development Bank, the African Development Fund, and the Nigeria Trust Fund. The opacity of its operations and its emphasis on major regional infrastructure projects have generated concern among African and international civil society.
The African Development Bank works in close cooperation with other international financial institutions (IFIs), including the World Bank Group, and often provides complementary funding for joint projects and initiatives. See more information about the formal African Development Bank and World Bank strategic partnership (World Bank website).
The inaccessibility of Bank officials and documents has been a cause for concern among civil society advocates, considering the growing importance of the AfDB on the continent particularly within the infrastructure sector. In 2002, the Bank teamed up with the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), an initiative of the African Union, to develop and implement an Infrastructure Short Term Action Plan (I-STAP). This ambitious program has drawn sharp criticism for its overemphasis on the construction of massive hydroelectric projects and other costly and potentially destructive regional projects.
Because of its location in Washington, D.C., BIC’s Africa Program primarily focuses its efforts on direct engagement with the World Bank Group and with the U.S. Government. However, BIC also seeks to gather and disseminate information about the operations and impacts of the AfDB to civil society in the region. Leveraging lessons from past experience with other IFIs, BIC also advocates for greater transparency and accountability at the AfDB and increased opportunities for civil society actors to influence the institution’s policies and projects.
As the AfDB takes on an increasingly significant role in financing investments in Africa, BIC is building its knowledge of the institution’s operations and priorities, and is reinforcing civil society capacity to monitor and influence the institution in the future.
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