In October 2012, the African Development Bank (AfDB) adopted a Framework for Enhanced Engagement with CSOs (CSO Framework), which provides the architecture for enhanced cooperation between the Bank and CSOs, in line with its 2013-2022 Strategy that envisages CSOs as key partners in the development of Africa. As part of this Framework, an Action Plan will be developed and implemented to increase attention to the mainstreaming of CSOs participation to Bank policies and operations. PTF developed the draft Action Plan to implement the Framework over a period of two years.

The Action Plan includes measures across the following categories, with priority given in implementation within each category to enabling implementation of the High 5s:

  1. Complete organizational set up. Fully staff the agreed new organization structure for civil society engagement within the Bank, including focal points, and put in place an appropriate incentive structure for management and staff to effectively implement the agreed Action Plan.
  2. Improve outreach and communication. Effective outreach and communication includes dialogue with governments and pro-active disclosure of information to allow for a meaningful dialogue with stakeholders and subsequently engage them to participate in and monitor design and implementation.
  3. Mainstream Civil Society Engagement and Build Capacity. It is necessary to adapt and clarify business processes where necessary to ensure that CSE becomes an integral part of AfDB operations. This should be combined with not only awareness and capacity building of management and staff but also selective capacity building at the level of recipient governments and implementing agencies.
  4. Leverage existing and additional financial resources: Part of the funding for the enhanced CSE will come from existing budgets for preparation of CSPs, RISPs, analytical work and Projects, and in some cases part of what is needed would be included in the cost of feasibility studies and /or implementation through the AfDB-financed operation. However, more funding will be needed and it is proposed to also consider setting up a multi-donor Trust Fund Facility towards this end.
  5. Monitoring and Evaluation. To measure implementation of the Action Plan as well as the results of mainstreaming CSE in operations, specific performance indicators will be put in place at the corporate level as well as at project level.

Many of the actions presented in this paper were already planned in the 2012 Framework. They build on experience since the approval of the Framework; inputs from consultation with AfDB staff and managers; inputs from CSO representatives taking part in the regional consultations; experiences among other multilateral development banks (MDBs) and review of AfDB experience and status undertaken by PTF.