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Engaging World Bank VP for Africa on Health Matters

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I was having an informal chat with 2 Africans at the venue of the reception organized for civil society organizations (CSOs) inside the World Bank Headquarters in Washington DC when I told them I would be attending the evening meeting called by the Vice President of the World Bank for Africa, Mr. Makhtar Diop from 7:30pm. They gave me a mischievous look and advised me against such waste of time as they had in the past 2 years being attending such kind of meetings that have become mere ritual with no actions implemented in line with meeting’s recommendations. I politely told them that I would be in the meeting as an “unapologetic optimist” hoping that this time around the Vice President of the World Bank for Africa, Makhtar Diop and his team could actually meant business and would do something at the end of the meeting no matter how little. The charismatic Mr. Makhtar Diop met us on Thursday, April 14th 2016 from 7:30 p.m at the J Building of the World Bank. With him were many of the senior officials of the African team and many country directors of World Bank. He didn’t minced words in telling us that he was interested in having conversation with us in line with 3 issues

  • Monitoring implementation of World Bank Programmes
  • How to support CSOs to have more voice
  • How to improve Social inclusion

He spoke eloquently and a lot of civil society organizations leaders have asked him questions and shared their thoughts about the 3 areas of interest to him. When it came to my turn, I told the Vice President Mr. Makhtar Diop that I was rather more interested about the “how” in achieving these 3 items. For example how would he support CSOs to monitor implementation of World Bank Programmes and how would he support them to have voice? What are the mechanisms that could be put in place to ensure he would initiate visible actions to achieve what were discussed? Monitoring of programmes is about having access to information regularly and I was wondering whether the country directors in the room were interested in sharing useful information about World Bank projects in their respective domains? Supporting CSOs to have more voice is about taking a genuine and proactive steps to bring CSOs closer to policy makers and political actors in Africa.


Let me take one example in the health sector to buttress my points. I published an article “Africa’s expectation of Global Financing Facility’ on Tuesday 21st July 2015 to comment about the July 13, 2015 launch of the Global Financing Facility (GFF) in support of Every Woman Every Child during the Addis 3rd United Nations Finance for Development Conference.

At the launch, the World Bank Group announced that $12 billion in domestic and international, private and public funding has already been aligned to country-led five-year investment plans for women’s, children’s and adolescents’ health in the four GFF front-runner countries of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania. Also eight countries to benefit from the GFF were announced; Bangladesh, Cameroon, India, Liberia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal and Uganda as the second wave of GFF countries.

I wrote in that article some expectations in Africa as follows;

  1. “Majority of the African NGOs present expressed concerns of not being actively involved and carried along by their governments during the engagement process as well as being part of the country platforms that will direct the affairs of GFF.
  1. Improving accountability and transparency of GFF in Africa should be more than the routine financial auditing process by World Bank and its investors but rather should be more engaging and encompassing of performance monitoring and matching financial investments with health outcomes and deepen citizens’ participation and feedback at country level, continental and global.
  1. The GFF team should support a movement in Africa at regional level that supports regular flow of information and support that will lead to improve performance of GFF as well as support NGOs to be engaged in budget tracking and accountability.
  1. The capacity of the NGOs in Africa should be enhance to strategically participate in the implementation of GFF. This could be achieve via training, mentorship, face to face and virtual interaction.”

These expectations published in July last year are still fresh and indeed have provided the cogent answers as to how and what the Vice President of the World Bank for Africa, Mr. Makhtar Diop could do if he is keen in improving CSOs voice and want them to support monitoring of World Bank Programmes in Africa. I wish him all the best.

All comments to Dr Aminu Magashi Garba Coordinator Africa Health Budget Network (AHBN) & Publisher Health Reporters (healthweekly@yahoo.com)  




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