Utilize Civil Society’s ‘Incredible Potential for Accelerating Social Change on a Scale’ – Graça Machel
“The time of Africa is now. It should not just be words or prayers. It is within reach. I am sure (the African Development Bank) will be able to meet this challenge” – Youssou N’Dour
“We will work much harder, together and in unity, to accelerate the impact of our work” – Akinwumi Adesina
Artists should be at the forefront of African development, given their key role as communicators, said Youssou N’Dour, musician, businessman and former Minister of Culture and Tourism of Senegal, during the opening of the 2020 African Development Bank Civil Society Forum said.
The two-day CSO forum started on Thursday under the theme “Engaging Civil Society in better building after COVID-19”.
The virtual event opened with remarks from senior bank officials, including Wambui Gichuri, Acting Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Vanessa Moungar, Director of Gender, Women and Civil Society, and President Akinwumi Adesina, with Graça Machel, chairman of the Graça Machel Trust, which represents civil society.
Adesina later had a conversation with Machel and N’Dour.
“The role of civil society in monitoring interventions is crucial and important to ensure that it is used effectively to reach the poor and vulnerable, who are most affected,” Adesina said, adding that the Bank’s efforts in the area will increase.
Adesina said the critical issue was not the amount of funds provided by the Bank and others, but who they reach, adding that transparency and accountability are also critical.
Machel noted the Bank’s strong record of working with governments and the private sector. She called for increased bank financing to directly support the efforts of civil society to address the impact of the pandemic on the most vulnerable and hard to reach families in our societies.
“These organizations have, with limited resources and in very dangerous circumstances, acted to save lives and restore dignity to communities in the midst of this pandemic,” she said. “There are much-needed resources for organizations working with women, children and people with disabilities and in rural areas.”
Machel noted that channeling resources to strengthen the civil society sector as it responds to the challenges posed by COVID-19 exploits their “incredible potential to accelerate social change on a scale”. The support of women in particular would help bring about long-term dividends, she said.
For N’Dour, artists must be at the forefront of the development of Africa, given their important role as communicators.
“Even in a place where there is oil, if there is no culture to explain it to the people, there is war … We must be able to say after (term of Adesina) term that culture was involved in the development of Africa, ‘he said, speaking in a French interpreter.
“Culture is profitable and I am available to help, to work with my staff to create other champions in Africa, to take the work of the African Development Bank to another level,” N’Dour said. said.
The forum will examine cost-effective strategies and reflect on best practices to improve the cooperation between the Bank and civil society, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The second day of the forum is dedicated to sessions led by civil society organizations, which provide the space to develop innovative ideas at grassroots level.
Kwasi Kpodo, Department of Communications and External Relations, African Development Bank, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org