By Elisângela Pinto

The African Development Bank in Mozambique recently met with representatives of Mozambican civil society in Maputo. Country Manager Cesar Mba Abogo welcomed government officials, development partners and civil society representatives at the Bank’s Civil Society Open Day on 9 March.

Discussions dwelt on the African Development Bank’s country strategy and portfolio. Participants also sought to identify opportunities and interventions for the sustainable and inclusive development of Mozambique, particularly around engagement with civil society organizations and a just energy transition.

This event is the latest development of the bank’s dialogue around the Country Strategy Paper for the period of 2023-2028, which was recently presented to the Government of Mozambique. The Open Day is an opportunity for “civil society organizations to engage and address the challenges and capitalize on the opportunities to transform economic gains into clear social benefits,” said Abogo.

Participating in the meeting were also the African Development Bank’s director of special programs in the bank president’s office, Ms. Maria Mulindi and from the government side, Ms. Enilde Sarmento, the national director of economic policies and development.

Mulindi explained that “the African Development Bank customarily assesses and analyses its engagement with civil society, learning from their technical expertise, while seeking to improve the quality of the impact of its development interventions.” She urged participants to explore how the bank can add value to their work.

Sarmento observed the timely delivery of the African Development Bank’s initiative in Mozambique, given that the government was finalizing the proposed National Development Strategy for the next 20 years. “This forum will provide valuable inputs to the National Development Strategy and align the African Development Bank’s strategic interventions in Mozambique,” she added.

Bank officials emphasized the institution’s recognition of the pivotal role civil society organizations play in raising the voices from the ground, especially those representing the less privileged, to advocate for the grassroots work done—particularly in areas where governance faces fragilities and post-conflict settings—and to increase public sector accountability and transparency through strong support for good governance.  Open Days is a forum for civil society organizations to provide meaningful and actionable feedback to the African Development Bank. The bank’s objective is to draw on this feedback to maximize its development interventions in Mozambique.

Some of the key recommendations at Open Days were to: (1) strengthen the capacity of civil society organizations in the African Development Bank’s procurement processes; (2) continue to include local civil society organizations in the bank’s high-level platforms/discussions; and (3)  organize a “National Multistakeholder Platform” between civil society organizations, private sector operators, the government and the bank, as a mechanism to explore business creation opportunities to share value.

This initiative is aligned with three of the bank’s High 5s priority areas—energy, industrialization, and quality of life—and the institution’s strategic pillar on economic governance aimed at catalyzing Mozambican structural transformation to enhance its fiscal position, generate decent jobs, and drive inclusive growth.

Martha Njeri Kinyoho, the African Development Bank’s senior civil society organization officer, shared information on how the bank engages with civil society organizations. The bank’s country program officer, Patrícia Baptista, and the senior country economist in Mozambique, Rômulo Corrêa, moderated two panel discussions titled Civil society organizations perspective on collaboration with the African Development Bank, and Just energy transitions for civil society, respectively.

Panelists included Frederica Ferrari, country program coordinator for the Institute for International Economic Cooperation; Eduardo Sengo, executive director of the Confederation of Mozambique Economic Associations; Professor Adriano Nuvunga, director of the Center for Democracy and Development; Lidia Mangane, marine biologist and alumnus of the Girl Move Academy; Olga Utchavo, the director of renewable energies at the Electricidade de Moçambique (EDM); and Feliciano Massingue, energy specialist at the African Development Bank Group.