WASHINGTON, April 11, 2014 -- The World Bank has hailed African civil society organizations (CSOs) and the media as the main drivers of change on a continent on the rise.
“Civil society and media are an essential part of the transformation taking place in Africa,” World Bank Vice President for Africa, Makhtar Diop, told some 50 leaders from African CSOs and U.S.-based organizations working on Africa.
The dialogue session that brought them together is part of the Civil Society Policy Forum held on the margins of the ongoing Spring Meetings of the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington, DC.
Drawing from his own experience growing up in Senegal, the Vice President noted how things have changed since the 1980s when much of aid and development lending was subject to so-called “conditionalities”, imposed by international institutions. He praised the work done by media and civil society organizations to highlight these issues, adding that he would not advise going back to that time.
“Sustainable development solutions must be homegrown to be successful,” Mr. Diop said. “We (at the World Bank) are just a catalyst.”
Focused on citizen engagement in the World Bank’s work in Africa, the session provided information on how CSOs can partner with the Bank through various programs to ensure better development outcomes in their countries.
In a rich and spirited exchange, the CSO leaders shared their views on the Bank’s objective to end extreme poverty by 2030, challenging the institution to better listen to the beneficiaries of its projects and programs, and to reflect on lessons learned from past experiences.