Resilience in Africa: “Providing solutions is an act of justice and an indicator of global progress”

Resilience in Africa: “Providing solutions is an act of justice and an indicator of global progress”
Photo credit: ActionAid

12 Feb 2018

The second edition of the Africa Resilience Forum organized by the African Development Bank opened on Thursday, February 8, 2018 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. More than 300 people were expected to attend the opening of the Forum, held on the theme “Building Resilience at the Bottom of the Pyramid.”

The Forum, an effective platform for the exchange of experiences and knowledge on fragility and resilience, brings together development partners and institutional actors in the sector, as well as about 15 start-ups that will present innovative and concrete solutions for strengthening people’s resilience.

“The 2018 Resilience Forum also introduces an additional element, the ‘Market Place’. We have invited providers of new and innovative ways for the delivery of energy and water. The exhibition of these technologies provide an opportunity for participants to interact and engage with the providers and to appreciate the possibilities that innovations bring to the neediest communities,” said the African Development Bank’s Senior Vice-President, Charles Boamah, during the opening session.

The Bank’s Vice-President, Regional Development, Integration and Business Delivery, Khaled Sherif, called for participants to go beyond mere discussions and explore concrete actions that can be taken, especially on behalf of the most vulnerable populations.

“We must,” he urged, “provide solutions that are adapted to the needs of communities at the bottom of the pyramid, not just because it is an act of justice, but also because it is an indicator of global progress for everyone, including those at the top of the pyramid. To achieve this, we must mobilize the necessary resources wherever possible.”

The African Development Bank is committed to strengthening resilience on the continent. Of the 36 countries considered fragile around the world, 21 are in Africa. To combat pockets of fragility, the Bank launched initiatives in January 2017 to transform 10,000 fragile communities in Africa in 1,000 days. This is in line with the Bank’s five strategic priorities, known as the High 5s.

Welcome remarks by Khaled Sherif at the Second Africa Resilience Forum

This year’s Forum is held under the theme Building Resilience at the Bottom of the Pyramid. The theme was drawn from the recommendations made in last year’s event.

Those of you who were here in January 2017 when the African Development Bank launched this Forum will recall that we focused on the theme Building a Partnership for Resilience.

Allow me to highlight the recommendations from the inaugural Forum, which were:

  1. Forging stronger partnerships as the foundation for a more effective delivery in insecure environments through leveraging the various partners’ comparative advantages;

  2. Paying closer attention to the increasingly complex fragility challenges in the context of the security-humanitarian-development nexus in view of the recent large scale forced human displacements;

  3. Scaling up delivery of the High 5s and planning for sequenced engagement in fragile situations to ensure greater impact of AfDB’s activities in particular countries or regions; and

  4. Collaboratively responding to the needs of those at the bottom of the poverty pyramid by delivering quick community level interventions in fragile situations to ensure enhanced inclusiveness while also giving hope to the most vulnerable populations.

It was in this context that our President announced the 10,000 Communities in 1,000 Days initiative at the inaugural Forum. This initiative is at the heart of the second edition of the Forum, which also features an exhibition of innovative solutions and technologies.

So let me now turn to the purpose and objectives of this Forum. The primary purpose of this event is to share knowledge and to think outside the box for innovative solutions for reaching the people at the bottom of the pyramid. Our endeavor is to leverage this knowledge and technological innovation for the betterment of the lives of the people we serve.

Given the theme for this Forum that focuses on delivering basic services to vulnerable communities, our objective is to contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals, with particular attention on ensuring that no one is left behind.

We recognize that governments play a critical role in delivering services to their citizens and ensuring its sustainability will require enhancing fiscal space. Currently, many countries on the continent are facing challenges in that regard, which is a hindrance to what governments could do. In that regard, there is going to be a special lecture delivered on improved domestic resources mobilization. In addition, we will interrogate the role of technology in enhancing domestic resource mobilization in Africa, with particular attention on transition countries.

In responding to the needs of these vulnerable communities there is need for speed, ensuring affordability of the services and doing so in a sustainable manner. Some of the immediate questions that we will need to address are the following:

  1. What opportunities exist for reaching the isolated, forgotten and vulnerable communities in Africa?

  2. How can we better deliver community-level interventions?

  3. Are these interventions sustainable financially, institutionally and organizationally?

As you will notice from our Agenda, the Forum is organized such that all parallel sessions follow initial discussions during plenary sessions. This is meant to allow for deeper and wider discussions that would ensure that we draw useful conclusions.

Finally, I want to acknowledge the diversity of the participants in this Forum who come from different backgrounds and professions. We should exploit this diversity to draw on the experiences and knowledge that it presents.

Thank you.

Source African Development Bank
Website Visit website
Date 12 Feb 2018
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