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To Establish Win-Win Collaboration: Gov’t, CSOs & AfDB Brainstorm In Monrovia

A tripartite dialogue involving the Government of Liberia (GoL), Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) aimed at establishing a win-win collaboration took place on Friday, August 30, 2019 at the AfDB Country Office in Monrovia, Liberia.
The participants of the one-day CSO open day mainstreaming civil society engagement in AfDB Work were drawn from the 15 Counties of Liberia. The AfDB places citizens at the center of its development policy and approach. AfDB recognizes the importance of integrated approaches to addressing socioeconomic development challenges through programing with citizens to drive governance for enhanced delivery, management and oversight.
Interestingly, civil Society remains the most critical partners in achieving community engagement in the bank’s transformation agenda for Africa.
During the interactive forum, Mr. TRAORE Francois, the Civil Society Officer- in- Charge of West and North Africa for the AfDB, made a brilliant presentation of AfDB Civil Society Engagement Approach-objectives and expected outcomes.
Francois explained that the forum was basically to provide opportunities for the bank to exchange with civil society, to inform the citizens about the job the bank is doing in Liberia and receive feel back and recommendations from civil society actors for the enhancement of the bank’s operations.
According to him, the bank has its ears listening to the citizens and receiving feel back from the citizens to ensure that they-citizens are engaged and to provide more insightful with knowledge in the context dynamism to help the bank provide its development work.
While describing the meeting as very fruitful and successful, the AfDB official said it was a good thing for AfDB to have a tripartite policy dialogue involving civil society, government and it, , especially given that a high government official from the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning(MFDP) was seated on the table to discuss with civil society on how they can work with the AfDB in moving its development drive in the country.
“In the long run, the bank is exploring ways of better engaging through providing capacity building at the technical level and in the future at the financial level,” the AfDB official, who is based in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, disclosed.
However, Francois was quick to point out that this is a process, because it has to go through policy and has to be integrated within the bank’s overall doing business.
“ It takes time, but we will get there. Civil society members need to be patience; they should not only look at the money aspect alone. We need strong collaboration that hold us accountable for the work we do for the population,” he, among other things, added.
The Officer- in-Charge of AfDB Liberia Country Office, Mr. Kelvin Banda, who spoke earlier when he gave the welcome remarks, strongly emphasized the need for the policy to be adopted so that it guides the bank in terms of how it can work in Liberia.
“Going forward, one important thing which I will like to emphasize which I mentioned to the government when we had the bilateral meeting is that this is a new area for us and will like to work well in that particular area rather than to bring in confusion in that environment. For this reason, I think the rules of the game are on government side to say what do we have a policy in place , do we have the relevant law for the participant of civil society and NGOs,” Banda pointed out.
Banda furthered that laws are the main reason, because that will set the ground the bank to engage the civil society and NGOs.
The Officer- In-Charge of AfDB Liberia Country Office, who thanked the participants for responding positively to the bank’s invite, told the participants that they will report to them in terms of what are the next steps as soon as the guidelines are approved.
Also speaking, the Director at the NGO Coordination Unit at the MFDP, Mr. K. Massayan SorSor, Sr., on behalf of President George Manneh Weah and the Minister of the MFDP, Samuel Tweah, who he described as his boss, thanked the AfDB for initiating such an interactive forum where the government, civil society and the AfDB met and discussed issues that would lead to the development of Liberia and the sub-region.
The MFDP official, on the other hand, encouraged the bank to climb a little, saying: “ We appreciate you, but we want you to climb a little bit, while it is true that this is a piloting program that after the piloting program there will be greater opportunities.”
Sorsor decried that Liberia, his land of nativity, which is a gave birth to several key international institutions, including the AfDB, has suffered so much and that it is about time that benefit from the development activities of the bank.
Sorsor, while acknowledging the AfDB continued support towards the development drive of Liberia, pleaded with the bank to help the government rehabilitate the much talked about Ganta-Zwedru Highway, describing the road as a complete nighttime, especially during the rainy season.
When this road is rehabilitated, he believes, it will bring a big relief not only to Liberia, but also to neighboring Guinea, Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone.
He reaffirmed the government’s commitment in working with the AfDB and other development partners in moving the country forward in terms of development.
For his part, the National Chairman of Liberia NGOs Networks(LINNK), Mr. Stephen B. Norman, on behalf of the participants, thanked the AfDB for the policy forum, recalling that this is the fourth time sitting with the AfDB.
“ We are making headways. This should be a process in good faith that we all can enjoy for the growth and development of the country,” Norman intoned.
While terming the gathering as good, Norman admonished his colleagues to always make transparency and accountability their hall mark in the execution of their assigned task.
“Let us be able to register our institutions, our institutions should be party institutions. We must hold together and work together,” he asserted.
He used the occasion to encourage the AfDB to continue such engagement for the betterment of not only the bank, but for all, including the government and the civil society.

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