International Development Committee Announcement

NEW PUBLICATION: DFID AND THE AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK

DOUBLING OF UK FUNDS COULD HELP KEY DEVELOPMENT BANK BECOME A REGIONAL LEADER ON POVERTY REDUCTION IN AFRICA

Ahead of the Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank this week in Mozambique, a report released today by the House of Commons International Development Committee says that the UK’s doubling of financial support to the African Development Bank could make a significant contribution to cutting poverty in Africa, providing the Bank spends the funds effectively.

The Bank is benefiting from early successes in a reform programme that is rebuilding its potential as a regional leader on development and poverty reduction. The UK’s Department for International Development (DFID), now the Bank’s largest single donor, is helping  to implement critical changes to the Bank’s operations, such as decentralising responsibility to field offices in 25 African countries.  Rt Hon Malcolm Bruce MP, Chairman of the Committee, said:

“The record donor support pledged for the African Development Bank at the end of 2007 offers a real opportunity for the Bank to build its capacity and cut poverty in Africa. DFID has influenced many important reforms within the Bank and it deserves credit for this. We support the Bank’s current strategies of building infrastructure, improving governance, boosting economic growth and helping Africa respond to climate change. DFID needs to monitor very carefully how these crucial strategies are implemented to ensure they really bring benefits to the poorest people in Africa.”

The Report argues that DFID should press for changes in the Bank’s Board structure to ensure that the UK and other influential donors’ leverage at the Bank is in line with their rising financial contributions.

Malcolm Bruce said:

“The Bank’s great strength is that it is an African-owned institution. However, given that DFID is the largest bilateral donor, we are anxious to avoid DFID’s influence at Board level being diminished, to mutual disadvantage, and we hope that the Bank can address this.”

The Committee recommends that DFID and the Bank continue to focus on results to ensure that funds are spent most effectively. This will require rigorous monitoring and evaluation. These safeguards will help the Bank fulfil its potential as a collective voice for Africa and major driver of development on the continent.

25% of the Bank’s current replenishment will be directed at middle-income countries. This is divergent from DFID’s own commitment to spend 90% of its budget in low-income countries and just 10% in middle-income countries. The Committee therefore recommends that the proportion of the Bank’s lending which goes to low-income countries is reviewed.

FURTHER INFORMATION:

Committee membership is as follows: Malcolm Bruce MP (Chairman, Lib Dem), John Battle MP (Lab), Hugh Bayley MP (Lab), John Bercow MP (Con), Richard Burden MP (Lab), Mr Stephen Crabb MP (Con), Daniel Kawczynski MP (Con), Ann McKechin MP (Lab), Jim Sheridan MP (Lab), Mr Marsha Singh MP (Lab), Sir Robert Smith MP (Lib Dem).

Media Enquiries: Alex Paterson, 020 7219 1589, or [email protected]

Committee website: www.parliament.uk/indcom

Watch committees and parliamentary debates online: www.parliamentlive.tv

Publications/Reports/Reference Material: Copies of all select committee reports are available from the Parliamentary Bookshop (12 Bridge Street, Westminster, 020 7219 3890) or the Stationery Office (0845 7023474)