Information about Sub-Saharan Africa África subsahariana


Michel Dessart, and Roland Ubogu
Published Date:
October 2001
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Information about Sub-Saharan Africa África subsahariana
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Ole Blicher Olsen

Ambassador of Denmark to Ghana

I looked at the program of the JAI for 1999-2000 and found it very interesting, with 12 courses and 2 high-level seminars. These training activities should help to improve the understanding of policy-makers of the importance of strengthening institutions, alleviating poverty, and promoting good governance. In addition, they should enhance their capabilities in designing and formulating policies relating to gender issues, protecting the environment, and achieving trade and exchange systems liberalization so that Africa can benefit more fully from the growing world globalization.

The changing role of the state and the requirement of new capacity implies the changing role of the International Financial Institutions. How can the IFIs respond to this new role?

The World Bank had since January 1999 developed the Comprehensive Development Framework (CDF), which has been adopted by the Government of Ghana. In the IMF, the Enhanced Structural Adjustment Facility (ESAF) has undergone some structural changes in terms of its focus and target. As a result, it is now called the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF), because of its new emphasis on poverty alleviation. This program, like that of the World Bank, entails a participatory approach and empowerment of the poor. As for the African Development Bank, it will continue, in cooperation with its multilateral and bilateral partners, to provide support for development of human resources and for the strengthening and development of key economic institutions through the traditional lending instruments and technical assistance grants. However, there is a need to provide more focused support to upgrade the knowledge and skills of those government officials who are entrusted with the management of key economic functions.

The question of capacity building, in my opinion, basically boils down to one simple sentence: How can Africa compete and survive in a global village? The Vice-President of Ghana, in his address at a recent conference, made a statement very relevant to the theme of this seminar. I quote: “There is a widespread acknowledgement that economic development and democratic practices must go together, neither one can be deferred. We must do both concurrently. Africa needs a little more support from the international community, at least until the political economic system develops the necessary strengths. Yet the attention in the international community does not focus enough on the long-term issues of development and capacity creation. Unfortunately for Africa, the world seems to be more concerned with disasters and crisis.” And he continued: “If democracy in Africa is to be strengthened and sustained, it is imperative that African economies and capacities be strengthened, otherwise we risk a reversal of the democratic gains. When elected governments see immediate benefits such as new jobs created, improved education and housing, new health care facilities, and increased disposable income, it is then that economic growth and sustainable development is in a sense supporting Africa’s process of democratization.”

How can the IFIs play a prominent role in order to assist Africa in the future? We have during the last two days learned a number of things from the speakers. Yesterday, we heard about the financial sector, labor market, private sector, gender issue, procurement, and consultancy. And today, we have listened to presentations from three countries, namely Uganda, Burkina Faso and Mozambique. I would like to highlight some of the points made. The emphasis was on the change of behaviour, the conduct of policies, good governance, political will, and programmes appropriation. In essence, the key word in capacity building is partnership. So what is the role of our IFIs? The requirements from IFIs are enormous and the demand for their assistance is unlimited, not only in skills, in attitude and behaviour, but also in how the countries can amass political will.

Cyril Enweze

Vice-President, Operations, African Development Bank

The Problem

Studies have documented that human capacity is a central condition for sustained development, and that weak capacities in African countries are amongst the most critical impediments which hinder African development. Weak capacities are manifested by lack of a critical mass of technical and managerial expertise, weak institutions, poor infrastructures, and financial resource constraints.

In this era of globalisation, Africa is traversing a period that is vibrant with challenges for development, challenges that have become more pressing and urgent. Thus, improving agricultural production, providing good education and improved health facilities to the population in Africa, removing the barriers that impede the access of women to higher positions in both public and private sectors, integrating civil society organisations in decision-making processes, and addressing inadequate research, are priority items on the development agenda of the continent. Closing the capacity gap requires not only creativity and innovation, but also full collaboration at the regional and international levels.

Addressing capacity building in their client countries is thus a central concern for International Finance Institutions (IFIs), including the African Development Bank (ADB).

Some Lessons

Past efforts to address capacity building needs in African countries relied heavily on donor programmes and were largely supply-driven. These efforts failed in building sustainable capacities because they adopted wrong approaches, which included the following:

  • they were largely donor-driven efforts to promote capacity building without local ownership;
  • they were short-term and piecemeal in nature, focused on the shortterm objectives of achieving project/programme results, rather than laying the foundation for sustainable development; and
  • they were often uncoordinated, involving several donors, sometimes addressing the same issues. These efforts often led to an overload as they soaked up the limited local capacity.

ADB Support to Capacity Building

Over the years, the African Development Bank Group has also provided support to capacity building in its Regional Member Countries (RMCs). Bank Group assistance has been channelled through loans and grants (both project and policy-based) and through specific institutional support. Loans and grants were approved for general capacity building initiatives to support investments in education and other areas in the social sector, for structural adjustment-related support to civil service reforms and institutional development programmes, and for free-standing technical assistance and studies.

The ADB has also provided sustained support to specific regional institutions, especially those concerned with research and skills building in the fields of agriculture and rural development, health, education and specific programmes, such as research on AIDS in Africa and biotechnology. Such support has come from either its administrative budget, net income or from Technical Assistance Fund (TAF) resources. The institutions which benefit from Bank Group support, to name a few, include: West African Rice Development Association (WARDA); International Livestock Centre for Africa (ILCA), International Centre for Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE); International Crops Research Institute for the Semi Arid Tropics (ICRISAT); Association of African Development Finance Institutions (AADFI); African Stock Exchange Association (ASEA); African Agency of Biotechnology (AAB); Arab Organisation for Agriculture Development (AOAD); African Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (AFROSAI), African Centre for Development and Strategic Studies (ACDESS); Desert Locust Control Organisation—Eastern Africa (DLCO-EA) and the Senghor University. The ADB is also a founding member of the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) in Harare. The ADB, through the Agricultural Management Training for Africa (AMTA), a joint undertaking between the ADB, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Bank Institute (WBI), is also providing management and policy training in agriculture.

In its efforts to address the problems of poverty in Africa, the Bank has also developed procedures, mechanisms and guidelines for co-operation with Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), and a special initiative—the Micro-finance Initiative for Africa (AMINA)—which caters for capacity building to address micro-finance needs. AMINA’s capacity building activities aim specifically at improving the management and operational skills of partner micro-finance institutions, which include NGOs, village banks, institutions providing financial services to micro-entrepreneurs, especially women, and of rural populations, particularly in countries with low per-capita incomes.

The Bank is also active in providing support to the development of the private sector in Africa. Through development banks, the Bank has extended lines of credit which have contributed to the creation and expansion of private enterprises in many African countries, and have bolstered the beneficiary intermediaries’ capacity to leverage resources and better service their private sector clients.

Apart from financing, the Bank has also provided direct assistance to institution building in support of the private sector. The Bank co-sponsored with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), International Finance Corporation (IFC) and other donors, the creation of the African Project Development Facility (APDF) and the African Management Services Company (AMSCO). In addition, the Bank was instrumental in the establishment of the African Export-Import Bank (AFREXIMBANK), an institution solely dedicated to the promotion of African trade. The Bank has also provided institutional support to the African Business Round Table (ABR), which is devoted to the promotion of the private sector in Africa.

Some Strategic Partnership Programmes

The ADB has also entered into strategic partnership programmes with other IFIs in an effort to cater for the expanding needs for capacity building in Africa at a pace commensurate with the magnitude and urgency of the problem. These partnerships are designed to improve modalities of collaboration with client countries, exploit the comparative advantages of each IFI and achieve cost-effectiveness in the face of dwindling Official Development Aid (ODA) resource flows. Two examples of this new approach to IFI capacity building partnerships are the Partnership for Capacity Building in Africa (PACT) and the Joint Africa Institute (JAI), whose inauguration is the subject of these meetings and round table discussions.

Unlike many previous capacity building programmes, which were externally conceived and designed, PACT is an African-led initiative that has effectively harnessed the advantages of external partnership for its formulation, design and implementation. PACT is a joint initiative between African leaders, the ADB, the World Bank, and the IMF. The partnership was initiated in 1995 by African Ministers of Finance. PACT’s governance is also built on the principle of partnership, as it will be governed by an Executive Board of independent experts housed at the ACBF, and a Board of Governors representing participating countries and the external partner institutions and donors. Consensus has been reached that the initial focus of PACT will be to increase capacity in the public sector and in areas of Cyril Enweze interface between the public sector and civil society. It is expected that PACT will soon begin operations.

The Joint Africa Institute, which was inaugurated yesterday, is the most recent venture, which illustrates the collaborative strategic partnership initiative that has been established by the ADB, the IMF and the World Bank. The JAI aims at providing high quality training in the areas of economic policy formulation and management. The JAI will allow the three institutions to mobilize their resources for training and to make available a much larger volume of training to African government officials and other participants than would otherwise be the case. It is thus evident that the JAI will, in the medium- and long-term, help to train a significant number of African officials who can be expected to play major roles in the economic management of their respective countries.

The distinctive features of the training that will be provided by the JAI, and the contributions that it can be expected to make to capacity building, include the following:

  • the high quality of the training that will be offered;
  • the opportunity that the JAI framework will provide for the development of joint courses that would benefit from the application of the regional experience of the ADB and the global development experience of the IMF and the World Bank to specific African problems and issues;
  • the synergy that will be created by the partnership;
  • the development, over time, of a training programme that is Africa-focused;
  • the opportunity that it will provide for African officials and participants to share experiences and to learn from each other in a unique setting; and
  • the use of modern distance learning facilities to enhance the training provided to participants.

In addition to the direct training activities that the JAI will undertake, it is also envisaged that the JAI will contribute to enhancing the capacity of other African training institutions to improve their training programs. Staff from such institutions can be expected to take part in the activities of the JAI as resource persons and as participants.

The JAI initiative is, therefore, one of partnership and of cost-effectiveness, which is modeled after the Joint Vienna Institute (JVI) based in Vienna, and the Singapore Regional Training Institute (STI) based in Singapore.

In-House Training Institute

Besides providing support for capacity building in its RMCs, the ADB also puts serious emphasis on its in-house capacity building. In this connection, it has set up its own in-house training institute, the African Development Bank Institute (CADI). The Institute offers courses to both regional member countries and the Bank’s own staff. Courses offered to RMCs include project management, macroeconomic management, environment, and gender development issues.


In concluding, allow me to reiterate the fact that for the African Development Bank Group (and other IFIs, for that matter), capacity building has become an integral part of the development effort. For the ADB, this principle is enshrined in its newly articulated vision statement.

What now needs to be done to gather even greater momentum in the race for time, and multiply and sustain the results, are the following:

  • regional member countries should show greater commitment and initiative at the national level to build and utilize opportunities for capacity building and for built capacities;
  • ownership and enthusiasm for capacity building opportunities should be unleashed at the grassroots, at the community level and by all constituencies of civil society;
  • there should be increased involvement of the private sector in efforts to build new capacity, and utilise existing capacity;
  • governments should implement sound and stable economic policies, provide political stability and the enabling environment, to retain and sustain capacities that are built; and
  • continued and appropriate technical and financial support should be provided, including from external partners.

With these important elements, the efforts by IFIs and others in the area of capacity building in Africa should be predicated on a sound basis as we enter the next millennium.

Saleh M. Nsouli

Deputy Director, IMF Institute


The title of this inaugural seminar appropriately highlights three important and interrelated components that are essential to economic development: capacity building, governance, and economic reform. Capacity building—the development of skills and institutions—is critical to sustained economic growth. But acquired skills cannot be exploited fully and institutions cannot operate effectively without good governance. And economic reforms cannot be implemented properly without well-functioning institutions. In line with the theme of this session, I shall be focusing on the specific subject of the role of the International Financial Institutions (IFIs) in capacity building in Africa.

The influence of capacity building on economic growth has been the subject of an increasing body of economic research in recent years. The emerging consensus in the economic literature is that institutions do matter for economic growth. For example, Rodrik (1977) shows that institutions have played a key role in East Asia’s economic performance. Moreover, that institutional differences help explain why some countries have done better than others. In this respect, an index of institutional quality performs extremely well in explaining growth differentials across countries—differentials which cannot be attributed to classical variables such as capital accumulation, technical progress, and increases in labor. These findings turn out to be quite robust to various regression specifications.

In another paper, Easterly and Levine (1998) point out that Africa’s growth potential was sometimes ranked ahead of East Asia’s in the 1960s. According to the authors, the failure of this potential to materialize has been closely related to a number of social political factors, including low schooling, political instability, and insufficient infrastructure.

In a study of 133 countries, Hall and Jones (1997) show that differences in social infrastructure account to a very large extent for differences in output per worker. They find that institutions that favor production over “diversion”—the misuse of production—and some form of private ownership will foster the accumulation of human and physical capital, eventually leading to higher total factor productivity and thereby expansion in domestic output and production.

These studies, among others, underscore another important fact—namely that capital accumulation on its own is not enough to ensure growth. The complementarity between good and effective institutions and capital accumulation is essential for long-lasting growth.

The question therefore is no longer “do institutions matter?”, but “which institutions matter most and how does one acquire them?”. In a paper, to be delivered in just a few days at an IMF-sponsored conference on Second Generation Reforms, Rodrick (1999) argues that the emphasis must be placed on institutions that allow markets to function smoothly. These include a clearly delineated system of property rights that protects the assets of investors and the return of these assets; a regulatory system that limits the worst forms of fraud and anti-competitive behavior; social and political institutions that mitigate risk and manage social conflicts; and, finally, the rule of law and “clean” government.

What then is the evidence on the quality of institutions in Africa? A survey of 23 African countries conducted by the Harvard Institute for International Development and examined by Sievers (1998) gives Africa’s governmental and judicial institutions a mixed review. To quote Sievers, African institutions are: “better than conventional wisdom assumes, but lower than needed for sustained high growth”. Questioned about such issues as corruption, the quality of rule of law, and the effectiveness of the national legal system in enforcing contracts, African companies responded with scores that on average were equal to or slightly lower than those in other developing countries. These scores suggest that institutions in Africa have yet to develop sufficiently to be conducive to development.

Against this background, the remainder of my remarks are organised as follows. First, I will touch upon the role of the IFIs in capacity building. Second, I will review the role of the IMF in this area. The approaches of the IFIs, and in particular the IMF, to capacity building are, of course, applicable to most countries, including those in Africa. Third, and more narrowly, I will focus on the role of the IMF Institute in building capacity in Africa.

The Role of International Financial Institutions in Capacity Building

International financial institutions vary in their specific objectives as well as in their areas of specialization and expertise. Take the three IFIs represented here today, the African Development Bank, the IMF, and the World Bank. There are considerable differences in their mandates. However, there are also similarities in the broad types of contributions that IFIs make to capacity building, and in the mechanisms through which these contributions are made. As shown by Kifle (1998), the approaches that the IFIs can take, and have taken, to support capacity building include the following:

First, many IFIs provide financing, usually in the form of loans, but these include in some cases a significant grant element, that is extended with the aim of helping the authorities attain objectives agreed upon with the IFIs. The financing may support specific investments, such as in infrastructure and capacity building, or it may be part of a sector-specific or economy-wide adjustment package.

Second, IFIs support the authorities’ efforts to design policies geared to achieving specific economic and social targets. This process usually entails extensive consultation with the officials and private sector representatives of the country, and between headquarters and resident staff of the IFIs, with a view to identifying the bottlenecks and issues that the country faces. This is generally followed up by a written report summarizing the findings and proposed policy recommendations of the IFI staff. The policy packages agreed upon may include resources specifically targeted at enhancing capacity in social and economic areas.

Third, IFIs encourage the development, dissemination, and adoption of internationally accepted standards or codes of good practice in economic, financial, and business activities. The adoption and implementation of such codes and standards contribute to the development and well-functioning of institutions.

Fourth, many IFIs provide training on a multitude of topics. This training can take place within the framework of a specific project that a country implements with the support of an IFI, for example, public enterprise reform, civil service reform, tax administration, or financial sector reform. It can also take place in the context of courses, workshops, and seminars offered by the training institutions of the IFIs, for instance, the African Development Institute of the African Development Bank, the IMF Institute, and the World Bank Institute.

And fifth, IFIs collaborate with regional training and research institutions, including, in Africa, the Africa Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) and the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC), in order to train economic analysts, officials, and “trainers”, and to support economic research undertaken in Africa.

While IFIs play a role, it is, nonetheless, important to remember that the IFIs should only play a supporting role, and that the countries themselves do have the primary responsibility for building their capacity.

The Role of the IMF in Capacity Building

The contribution of the IMF to capacity building in Africa has taken on many forms. In this process, the IMF has played a key role through its relations with the broad spectrum of government agencies in African countries. This goes far beyond the provision of loans and debt reduction efforts. In fact, the IMF contributes to building expertise and “economic policy capacity” through all of its major activities. There are basically four such avenues.

First, economic training offered by the IMF Institute (and sometimes by other departments of the IMF as well) is a critical channel of involvement. Courses on macroeconomic management and on specialized topics target different levels of civil servants and different types of agencies. In the past 20 years, more than 3,000 officials from African Central Banks, Ministries of Finance, Economy and Planning, and from other government agencies have participated in IMF Institute training.

Second, technical assistance provided by the IMF is another important channel for building capacity. Through its technical assistance program, the IMF seeks to respond to specific needs raised by member countries in a wide range of areas, such as tax administration, public expenditure policy, commercial bank restructuring, banking supervision, and statistical systems. In 1999, the time devoted by the IMF staff to technical assistance is estimated to be five times higher than in 1991. The Monetary and Exchange Affairs and the Fiscal Affairs Departments have played an important role in technical assistance. So too has the Statistics Department, which in numerous missions has helped develop local expertise in collecting, processing, and disseminating economic data.

Third, Article IV consultations with member countries provide a less explicit, albeit important, channel for capacity building. In this process, the IMF and the authorities engage in a far-reaching dialogue involving a detailed analysis of the economy, a review of policy options, and the formulation of policy actions. These exchanges involve technical analysts, senior staff in key ministries and the central bank, and higher-level government policymakers. In part, because they require a dialogue among these officials, IMF consultations prompt different agencies, as well as units within each agency, to collaborate more closely. These interactions contribute to building the country’s capacity to analyze problems and design solutions. In addition, in recent years, the IMF has directed more attention and effort to encouraging its members to achieve greater transparency, and adopt and adhere to international standards. The emphasis has been on enhanced transparency in monetary and fiscal practices, improved banking regulation and supervision, and better data dissemination. Many of the elements are embedded in the Fund’s Code of Good Practices on Fiscal Transparency, the Code of Good Practices on Transparency in Monetary and Financial Policies, the Special Data Dissemination Standard, and the General Data Dissemination System.

Fourth, the dialogue surrounding the design of Fund programs and the monitoring of their implementation represent another avenue for capacity building in economic policy management. Even more than Article IV consultations, IMF-supported programs mobilize important human resources from member countries and other IFIs. This common effort greatly helps in strengthening core units of economic management, especially in Ministries of Finance and Central Banks. The build-up of expertise and knowledge among these units is cumulative, and, over time, creates increased capacity in many aspects of policy management.

In sum, the many facets of interaction between IMF staff and the authorities can be seen as constituting a model in capacity building. IMF training directly targets officials at various levels; technical assistance provides expertise in specialized areas; and Article IV consultations and program negotiations and implementation involve extensive contacts with technical analysts and high-level policymakers. From this viewpoint, the IMF’s contribution to capacity building in the area of policymaking is rather distinctive.

The Role of the IMF Institute in Capacity Building in Africa

The IMF Institute helps enhance and improve the economic policymaking capacity of its member countries by providing relevant high-quality training formulation and implementation of macroeconomic and financial policies to member country officials. There has been a significant increase in the demand for training, alongside that for technical assistance. This is consistent with the idea that, for IMF technical assistance to be effective, the skills of government officials must be enhanced.

During the 1990s, the average number of participants from Africa in IMF Institute courses in Washington and overseas tripled, averaging about 300 participants per year, relative to the 1980s. What is particularly important is that the high demand for technical assistance and training has originated from the African authorities themselves. This signals a deep shift regarding the perceived need for capacity building, and further suggests increased ownership of reforms.

The IMF Institute has conducted a survey to receive feedback from the authorities on its training in Africa. The results of the survey are very encouraging. There is a general consensus that IMF Institute training has improved the analytical skills of agencies’ staff and their expertise in a wide range of areas, including macroeconomic analysis and financial programming, budget preparation, and the implementation and development of a treasury system. This training has also enhanced participants’ understanding of the IMF and its operations. In addition, most officials who participate in training organized by the IMF Institute go on to higher positions in their respective agencies in their home countries. This training, therefore, has a dynamic impact on policymaking, as capacity in economic management is strengthened throughout the government. Policymakers get better advice and are themselves better trained than their predecessors.

While quite a lot has been done, much more still needs to be done—both in Washington and overseas—in view of the increasing demand for training in Africa. Demand is particularly high for technical courses in macroeconomic management and policies, macroeconomic statistics, and public finance. According to estimates of the above-mentioned survey, the demand over the next five years that will originate in Africa comes to about 8,000 potential candidates. This figure is much higher when compared with 1,500 African participants trained in the past five years through 1999.

The response of the IMF Institute has been to expand its coverage of topics and issues, foster its regional partnership, and diversify training. In this respect, the IMF Institute initiated in 1994 a series of high-level seminars on policy issues particularly relevant to Africa, such as private sector development, trade liberalization and regional integration, the liberalization of capital movements, and structural adjustment in sub-Saharan Africa. These seminars, lasting two or three days only, are targeted at senior policymakers in Africa, notably ministers, governors, and other high-level officials. Since the inception of this series, one high-level seminar, with some 30 African participants, has been organized every year on average.

Another innovation of the IMF Institute has been to set up regional workshops, sometimes in collaboration with regional training institutes, which focus on more technical issues. The objective of the workshops is to offer experts from a few countries in a sub-region of Africa a forum in which to exchange views on these technical issues. The IMF Institute has conducted regional workshops on public expenditure control, bank restructuring and development of money markets, and will soon undertake a series of workshops on banking soundness. The first workshop took place in 1995. The goal is to organize one or two such workshops in Africa each year.

The IMF Institute maintains a long-standing collaboration with the training centers of the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO/COFEB) and the Bank of Central African States (BEAC). Courses given at these centers usually reach beyond the membership of the two CFA zones and include participants from other francophone, as well as Portugueseand Spanish-speaking countries of Africa. The IMF Institute partnerships in Africa expanded in 1995 to include anglophone countries through collaboration with the Macroeconomic and Financial Management Institute (MEFMI) in Harare and the West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM) in Lagos. An average of 120 participants per year attend the courses organized with regional training centers.

The IMF Institute has just introduced distance learning into its program of activities, mainly to address the issue of excess demand for its training. This program is designed to meet the training needs of officials who are unable to attend long courses abroad. The first distance learning course will begin in January 2000. During the first eight weeks, training in the course will be given at a distance, allowing participants to remain on the job. Following that, participating officials will come to Washington for a two-week residential workshop.

The Managing Director has already indicated that the establishment of the Joint Africa Institute (JAI) represents a singular effort by the African Development Bank, the IMF, and the World Bank to augment their contribution to capacity building in Africa. This partnership will indeed allow for more training opportunities for African nationals and at a training site close to their home countries. Moreover, by establishing the training center in Africa, the three institutions will be better able to integrate into the training program issues relevant to the region and to make fuller use of the skills of trainers in Africa. The JAI will provide high-quality policy-related training to a wide spectrum of participants, including government and central bank officials and representatives of civil society of African countries. With an estimated 400 participants per year attending courses and seminars at the JAI, our keen expectation is that this new institute will have a significant impact on capacity building in Africa.

In conclusion, I would like to emphasize that new thinking on economic development and capacity building continues to evolve. We are a long way from the days when development was thought to be only about rapid capital accumulation and high investment rates. We now know that effective market-supporting institutions are indispensable to the development process, and the IFIs need to build on this premise in formulating their approaches to capacity building.

Brian Levy

Senior Manager, Africa Region, World Bank

My presentation has three goals: first, to clarify what we mean by capacity building; second, to highlight some lessons from World Bank experience over the past fifteen years in trying to promote capacity building in public sectors in Africa; third, to highlight some key features of an emerging new approach to capacity building by the Bank.

1. What do we mean by Capacity Building?

The focus here is on capacity building in the public sector—specifically on the ways in which World Bank support for capacity building can help improve the effectiveness of African states. Following the 1997 World Development Report, I characterize state effectiveness as “flexibility within restraint.” “Flexibility” comprises the presence of the skills, resources and organizational arrangements needed to pursue effectively the social goals entrusted to the public arena. “Restraint” comprises the check and balance (monitoring and enforcement) mechanisms which restrain arbitrary and sometimes self-seeking actions on the part of public officials, and thereby help ensure that their focus remains on social goals.

Following the above definition, capacity building can thus be seen to comprise three inter-related sets of initiatives: training initiatives; initiatives to strengthen individual organizations; and initiatives to strengthen the institutional environment—the incentives—within which public officials and organizations operate. Put differently, capacity building can be interpreted as having a supply-side and a demand-side. Training and organizational development initiatives comprise the supply-side of capacity building. Initiatives to improve the institutional environment—to strengthen expectations of civil society that the public sector will indeed deliver public services efficiently and effectively, and to strengthen the monitoring and enforcement mechanisms needed to hold the public sector accountable—comprise the demand-side of capacity building.

2. The World Bank’s track record

How well has the World Bank performed in its efforts over the past decade and more to foster capacity building within the public sector? Perhaps the fairest way to characterize this experience is as a learning process. Here I highlight two specific sets of lessons.

By the mid-1980s, just a few years after the Bank embraced the agenda of policy reform and structural adjustment, it had become apparent that accelerated growth and development required not just policy reforms but also a competent state. Consequently, the World Bank initiated an ambitious program of support for public sector management (PSM) in Africa. Between mid-1980s and mid-1990s, it supported various PSM projects in many countries.

These programs have recently been reviewed by the Bank’s Operations Evaluation Department (OED). The results are sobering: just 28 percent of these projects were rated as “successful”—one of the lowest success rates of any segment of the Bank’s operational portfolio. In the context of the framework laid out here, an OED conclusion that is particularly noteworthy is that a key reason for poor performance is that the operations tended to focus overwhelmingly on training and organizational initiatives (the supply-side of capacity building), rather than on improving the institutional environment (the demand-side). A first key lesson for the Bank is thus that capacity building initiatives call for an integrated approach—one that focuses on the demand- as well as the supply-side of capacity building.

The second key lesson concerns how to most effectively bring the demand-side into an integrated approach to capacity building. Initially, this challenge was addressed in a similar way to other initiatives to strengthen the enabling environment for economic development—namely with conditionalities attached to adjustment lending. Looking back, it is clear that structural adjustment has severe limitations as a tool for strengthening the “demand-side” of capacity building.

A first limitation—one that is broadly applicable to all structural adjustment initiatives—is that they cannot achieve much that is sustainable in the absence of genuine country “ownership” of the reform program. All of us are familiar with, say, resource abundant countries which adopted seemingly ambitious programs of policy reform in times when commodity prices were depressed, only to reverse these programs when prices recovered. Similarly, the experience is all too familiar of countries agreeing to stringent targets to reduce the number of employees on the civil service payroll, only to find “off-budget” mechanisms of re-employing people which did not directly violate the letter of adjustment agreements.

A second limitation of adjustment lending emerges from consideration of the changing character of the agenda of economic reforms. The first generation agenda—exchange rate adjustments and elimination of price controls and of quantitative restrictions on imports—generally comprised reforms which aimed to roll-back heavy handed state actions; typically these were implementable by a “stroke of the pen.” By contrast the second generation of reforms—for example, improved delivery of social services and better financial management—call for greater state effectiveness, something which cannot be conjured into being simply by requiring it to be so in a lending condition.

3. The emerging approach to supporting capacity building

If improved public performance requires action on both the demandand the supply-side—and if neither traditional (supply-side) projects nor (demand-side) adjustment programs can achieve the requisite integration—how then can the Bank support the vital effort to improve public performance? The emerging new approach is to support capacity building with initiatives which have at their foundation an unequivocal commitment to “partnership” and to “client ownership.” In recent years, “partnership” and “ownership” have been heavily used terms in development discourse—almost to the point of becoming motherhood and apple-pie cliches. In fact, though, if taken seriously, they imply a radical departure from the traditional paradigm of development thinking.

The traditional paradigm of how development proceeds has been a technocratic and hierarchical one: experts learn through careful research what works best, and share their knowledge with top leaders; these leaders, in turn, use their hierarchical authority to ensure that this cutting-edge expert knowledge is acted upon. In such a view “ownership” and “partnership” have little place—except insofar as they refer to a unidirectional process of “persuasion,” where hierarchs privileged to have “seen the light” browbeat their “partners” until they too accede to the reigning intellectual fashion!

Contrast this hierarchical view with a “networked” approach to the change process. The latter approach takes as its starting point the presumption that governments, donors—indeed all stakeholders—are embedded in a complex web of interlocking relationships, with each set of actors having distinctive goals and distinctive understandings of reality. Viewed from this perspective, sustainable change cannot be achieved by fiat. Rather, it requires that a critical mass of these actors voluntarily realign themselves to a new vision of the future and of their roles in it. Now “ownership” and “partnership” genuinely move to center stage—as key drivers of change, via the iterative, mutual learning processes whereby all key actors learn from one another in the process of building a genuinely shared vision.

All of the above can, of course, sound rather rarefied: a discussion of “a paradigm shift from a hierarchical to a networked view of the world” can all too easily sound as just the latest in a long line of intellectual fads. But four examples of recent efforts by the World Bank to foster capacity building in Africa suggest that perhaps there is more going on here than just developmental hot air:

  • Fostering public sector reform in Ghana. Even while Ghana was achieving major successes in the 1980s in attaining macro-stability, its efforts to strengthen public management seemed to be going nowhere, with little to show for a variety of donor-sponsored initiatives—including the World Bank. Things began to change in 1994, when the Government of Ghana created a National Institutional Renewal Program (NIRP) to give focus and strategic direction to the many reform activities then underway within the public sector. After an initially slow start, the NIRP was revitalized under the leadership of Vice President Atta Mills and, in 1997, the government issued its “Public Sector Re-invention and Modernization Strategy for Ghana: Transforming Vision into Reality.” With the country in the driver’s seat, the World Bank agreed to support this country-led initiative over the long haul, with a 12-year adaptable program loan—designed around goals and benchmarks set by Ghanaians themselves.
  • The Partnership for Capacity Building in Africa. The PACT embodies a networked approach to capacity building in at least three ways. First, its conception (by African leaders) and governance structure (jointly by Africans, multilateral and bilateral donors) embody a commitment to African ownership and development partnership. Second, though the primary focus of the PACT is on strengthening the public sector, it does not offer specific prescriptions, but rather provides a framework within which individual countries can determine their own capacity building priorities. Third, with its commitment to provide support to strengthen the interface between the public sector on the one hand, and civil society and the private sector on the other, the PACT incorporates the demand-side as well as the supply-side of public sector reform.
  • Engaging the battle against corruption. One key front in the fight against corruption is to give voice to the frustrations of citizens and their expectations of what a well-functioning government can and should do. The World Bank, through the World Bank Institute, is working to do just this in many African countries. It has brought together teams comprising government officials and influential participants in the private sector and civil society; worked with these teams to conduct surveys which provide empirical benchmarks of the severity of the corruption problem; helped the teams to develop action programs to combat corruption; and mounted public workshops to share the empirical findings and proposed action programs. Early indications suggest that, in many African countries, these efforts have helped bring to the forefront of the development agenda a commitment to improving governance and a growing appreciation of the importance of supply- as well as demand-side initiatives to strengthen capacity.
  • Empowering communities. If the process of change is understood as a networked one, there is no essential reason why reform should proceed hierarchically from the top-down, rather than from the bottomup. In this spirit, in countries as diverse as Guinea and Uganda, the World Bank is supporting an integrated set of reforms which aim to empower communities to set their own agendas of local public investment, and take charge of the effective delivery of the requisite services. On the fiscal front, the reforms bring resources directly to the community front-line, rather than channeling them through circuitous (and often top-heavy and leaky) public bureaucracies. On the accountability front, the reforms foster participatory approaches within communities to identify local priorities, plus related changes aimed at signaling to service providers that local citizens—not central bureaucracies—are their most important clients. And on the administrative front, the reforms work to realign capacities towards decentralized levels as a way of bringing government closer to the people.

Viewed from the perspective of development technocrats accustomed to acting as if they lived in a neatly engineered world, these four examples—with their continued back and forth bustle of multiple stakeholders, each with their distinctive ideas and priorities—might sound like recipes for frustration. But viewed from a networked perspective, all four examples embody what I hope are some key lessons which we have learned at the World Bank: that the sustainability of development initiatives is rooted in shared confidence in their legitimacy; that the path to legitimacy is to respect the processes through which the key actors in social processes wrestle with the challenge of change and—through ongoing dialogue and learning-by-doing—give it shape on their own terms; and that it is important that these processes include a full range of stakeholders, not only the immediate allies of reformers. My hope is that in coming years you will find the World Bank to be a reliable partner in helping to facilitate and to sustain these kinds of inclusive learning processes.

Comments from the Floor

  • To be meaningful and relevant to the emerging development environment, capacity building in Africa should be put in the context of countries’ competition and struggle within the globalisation process. Thus, emphasis should be laid also on training in competitive entrepreneurship, production, trade, and investment.
  • The experience of the recent past shows that the beneficiary institutions and governments in African countries perceive too often capacity building as a responsibility of the IFIs alone. However, the responsibility is joint, and the recipient institutions must demonstrate greater commitment to capacity building programmes by providing supplementary resources for meeting the programme’s costs and make better use of the assistance being offered by the IFIs.
  • The African demand for training in macroeconomic and financial policy management can be estimated at 8000 trainees for the next five years (compared with 2000 places that could be available in the IMF and World Bank Institutes). Therefore, the JAI has to work out a well planned and co-ordinated programme with existing relevant institutions in Africa to reduce the wide gap between demand and supply for capacity building. The areas of collaboration include curriculum development, training materials preparation, and implementation of training activities.
  • In its course offering, the JAI should target trainers from the regional institutions so that after a few years, these trainers could replicate the JAI courses with some financial support. In any case, the JAI should develop courses on contemporary issues relevant to Africa that are demand driven.


Chanel Boucher

Vice-President, Corporate Management, African Development Bank

Who says big international multilateral institutions cannot do anything together. I think we have evidence here that that is not the case. I did not have the opportunity to attend all the deliberations that you had over the past couple of days. However, I do get a sense when I walk into a room at the closing moments as to how it went. And I get that sense from the chatter in the room. If expectations have been met, the chatter tends to be a little rumble, background rumble or background noise. When the expectations have been frustrated and people are not very happy, then you tend to get a high pitch sort of chatter in the room. What I got here today was a very comforting chatter, which leads me to think that a lot is expected from the Joint Africa Institute.

On behalf of the African Development Bank, the IMF and the World Bank, I would like to express our appreciation to all participants who took time from their busy schedules to take part in the inauguration of this very important initiative of capacity building for Africa. Your presence is testimony to the importance that you attach to human and institutional development in the region. We also take it as an important gesture of your support to the new Institute. In the course of these two days, you have had an opportunity to discuss a number of essential topics that have important bearings on the future development prospects of the continent. You have had a chance to review the changing role of the state in the economy, governance, the challenge of achieving macroeconomic stability, and the requirements for capacity building in the region.

You have also had an opportunity to discuss the role of international financial institutions. They have traditionally played a part in capacity building in the region, and some of the new initiatives that they may launch in the future will continue that tradition. In the various panels of the seminar you were fortunate to have had an opportunity to hear from prominent experienced government officials and professionals in development fields. Indeed, some of you could be called giants for the immense contribution you have made to the African continent.

Let me just take this opportunity to thank all the chair persons and panelists for sharing with us their thoughts, their strong convictions, as well as their rich and varied experience.

The Inaugural Seminar has also provided us an opportunity to hear from participants. Some of your observations and some of your concerns were about the Joint Africa Institute. Views were expressed in relation to the JAI and other regional training institutions, the curriculum of the JAI and the number of participants in the JAI program. Permit me to address briefly some of these issues and concerns.

In establishing the Joint Africa Institute, the three founding institutions made it quite clear, from the very beginning, that the JAI should not in any way substitute for current activities undertaken at various levels, be it international organizations or sub-regional or national training institutes. The principle of additionality has guided the design of the JAI from the very start. It will also guide the implementation of the training and learning programs of the three founding institutions. Mr. Camdessus’s video address was quite clear on this issue.

A basic concern that was raised by our governing body when the idea of establishing the JAI was first mooted, was the whole question of what the added value of the JAI would be. In other words, what would make the JAI different from other training institutions or programs? As President Kabbaj noted in his opening remarks yesterday, we expect that the JAI would, over time, be known for the following three distinctive characteristics:

  • First, the high quality of the training that it will provide. The JAI will benefit from the usual experience of the ADB and the global development experience of the IMF and the World Bank.
  • The development of a training program that will truly be Africafocused. This program will be centered on African economic development issues and problems, and thus will be of immediate relevance to the needs of African participants. As some of you have advised us, the training program of the JAI will not only focus on macro-economic issues, but on structural, social, and sectoral issues as well.
  • The use of distance learning facilities to both enhance the JAI’s own training facilities and make available to a wider audience the various training programs that it offers. Let me assure you that President Kabbaj, President Wolfensohn, and Mr. Camdessus, are very keen on the issue of distance learning because it offers a huge potential for delivery training to the greatest number of people.

In this manner, we hope that the JAI will indeed develop its distinctive character and, as Mr. Botchwey wisely counselled us yesterday, it is our expectation that the JAI’s training programs will indeed be rationalized in relation to the training programmes of the three founding organizations.

Another concern that was expressed was the relation between the JAI and regional training institutes. In this regard, we would like to emphasize that an essential aspect of the mission of the JAI is indeed to enhance the capacity of other African training institutes. Networking with African training institutes and the research institutions will thus be given a high priority, and much effort will be made to involve regional institutions in the work of the JAI.

A final concern I would like to address is the volume of training that would be provided by the JAI. As some of you have noted, we expect the JAI during its first year of operation to provide training opportunities to between 300 and 400 government officials and other participants. This number may indeed appear small in relation to the number of African countries and the immense demand for capacity building in the region. Yet, even for such large international institutions as the ADB, the IMF and the World Bank, it is always prudent to start cautiously, to expand by building on concrete achievements and to learn by experience. I have no doubt that, in a few years, the number of participants in the JAI program will be much higher than the intake during the first year. As importantly, once distance learning facilities are available at the JAI and in our regional member countries, the number of participants who will take advantage of JAI courses would of course increase drastically.

Permit me to conclude by expressing once again our appreciation for your participation in the JAI inaugural seminar. We are confident that your involvement with the JAI will not stop with your participation in this seminar, but will take on other forms as well. Soon, the JAI will undoubtedly be calling on many of you to act as resource persons in its learning and training facilities. We do hope that you will have the time to take on such responsibilities. The JAI will also be contacting the various regional and national training institutions represented here to establish new partnerships and networks for training. We are confident that this initiative will indeed provide a new impetus for capacity building in the region.




Advisor to Executive Director, Nigeria

AFRIKA Philibert

Secretary General


Manager, Legal Affairs


Alternate Executive Director, Norway




Executive Director, Côte d’lvoire


Vice President, Finance

BAUER Michael

Executive Director, Germany


Vice President, Corporate Management


Senior Communication Officer


Advisor to Executive Director


Advisor to Executive Director

DEAR Alice

Executive Director, USA


Advisor to Executive Director


Vice President, Operations

FAN Bosheng

Advisor to Executive Director


Executive Director, Algeria

GOMIS Charles

Senior Advisor to the President


Assistant to Executive Director


Assistant to Executive Director


Assistant to Executive Director




Senior Advisor to the President


Director, Evaluation


Executive Director, Tanzania


Assistant to Executive Director


Executive Director, Congo


Executive Director, Lesotho


Manager, Research Division

OULATE Monika Sandra

Information Officer

PAGANI Norberto José

Advisor to Executive Director

PANSINI Maria Concetta

Advisor to Executive Director


Manager, Communications


Director, Legal Affairs

TANI Mohamed

Senior Training Officer

TEMBE Daniel Gabriel

Executive Director, Mozambique

TRAINA Abdallah

Executive Director, Libya


Director, Strategic Planning


Executive Director, Nigeria



Administrative Officer



UBOGU Roland E.

Chief Economist


ABED George

Senior Advisor, Fiscal Affairs Department


Division Chief, Institute


Resident Representative in Côte d’lvoire

GONDWE Goodall

Director, African Department


Deputy Director, Institute


Alternate Executive Director

SAKHO Pape Ousmane

Senior Advisor, African Department



Alternate Executive Director


Regional Co-ordinator (Africa), Institute

DEJOU Chantal

Acting Country Director, Côte d’lvoire

HAQUE Inaamul

Executive Director

LEVY Brian

Sector Manager, Capacity Building Unit


Manager, Partnership Group


Regional Co-ordinator (Africa), Institute

TOURE Bassary

Executive Director

VINOD Thomas

Director, Institute



Chargé d’Affaires, Ambassade de Suède

BUCHEN Olsen Ole

Ambassador, Danish Embassy, Accra


Conseiller de Coordination, France

GAUTIER Bertrand

Conseiller de Coopération Adjoint, France


Ambassador, Nigerian Embassy


Ambassador, Norway Embassy


Second Secretary, Norway Embassy


Premier Secretaire, Ambassade de Suisse



Ministre de l’Industrie, des Petites Entreprises et du Tourisme, Côte d’Ivoire


Présidente du Conseil Economique et Social, Burkina Faso


Ancien Ministre des Finances, Ghana


Ministère de Planification, Côte d’Ivoire


Premier Ministre, Côte d’Ivoire

ECHENE Kobinan

Inspecteur Général, Ministère de I’Education, Côte d’Ivoire


Ministère de la Planification, Côte d’Ivoire

KABRE Tinga Vincent

Conseil Economique et Social, Burkina Faso


Assemblée Nationale, Côte d’lvoire


Minister of State, Uganda


Office of the Prime Minister of Uganda


Conseil Economique et Social, Burkina Faso


Cabinet du Premier Ministre, Côte d’lvoire


Minister of Finance, Ethiopia


Economist, Ministry of Planning, Mozambique

THIAM Tidiane

Ministre de la Planification, Côte d’Ivoire

TOURE Mamoudou

Ancien Ministre des Finances, Sénégal

WODIE Francis

Ministre de l’Enseignement Supérieur, Côte d’Ivoire


Conseil Economique et Social, Burkina Faso

YOMAN Ginette-Ursule

Ministère de la Planification, Côte d’Ivoire


ABE Noriko

Resident Representative of JICA, Abidjan


Training Officer, AADFI


Deputy Resident Representative of UNDP, Côte d’lvoire


Director General of NISER, Nigeria

ALAMI Moulaye Abdeslam

Director of MEGADIS

ALIPUI Frederic Yao

Head of Trade, Money & Finance, OAU

BAKARY Lansina

Directeur National de la BCEAO, Côte d’Ivoire

BEYALA Calixte


BRUN Jean-François

Enseignant-Chercheur, CERDI, France


Chef de Service de la Zone Franc, Banque de France

CARY Clark

International Finance Association, Rome


Canadian International Development Agency


Chef du Protocole, CEDEAO

GNAPI Luc-Cavre

Economiste-Statisticien, CNPI, Côte d’lvoire


Director General, WAIFEM

KAMARA Amadou Mustapha

Representative of FAO, Côte d’lvoire


Vice Chancellor, University of Namibia


Associate Professor, Université de Gothenburg, Sweden


Regional Director, Inst. of Dev’t Management, Botswana


Governor of BCEAO


Assistant to the Governor, BCEAO


Executive Secretary, ECOWAS


Canadian International Development Agency


Directeur de la Formation, BCEAO


Conseiller Economique, Commission Européenne


Program Advisor, UNDP


Director of Research, Bank of Uganda

MWAU George N.

Regional Advisor, ECA


Program Officer, MEFMI, Zimbabwe

NDLOVU Dingiswayo Callistus

ZIPAM, Zimbabwe


Principal Officer, ACBF, Zimbabwe

N’GUESSAN Tchétché

Director, CIRES, Abidjan

NGUMO Mwangi

Director, Kenya Institute of Management


Formateur, Université de Cocody, Côte d’lvoire


Direction de la Coopération, Suisse

SAIDI Nyamanga Baleja

Independent Consultant


Directeur Central, Banque des Etats de I’Afrique Centrale


Director General, Zimbabwe Institute of Public Administration


Directeur, Secrétariat Général, Union du Maghreb Arab


Directeur, Agence Française de Développement


Directeur Regional Adjoint, ILO, Abidjan


Economic & Social Research Foundation, Tanzania


ILO, Abidjan


Head of Delegation, European Commission

WADE Magatte

Secretary General, AIAFD, Abidjan


Director, Nordic African Institute

ZEIDY Ibrahim A.

COMESA Secretariat, Lusaka, Zambia

ZODDA Augusto

Directeur du Trésor, Italie


ABEDI Mel Pierre

Radio-Télévision Ivoirienne

BADOU Atta KobenanDIOURO Michel

L’Inter, Côte d’lvoire

FADIGA Hamed Kader

Le Patriote, Côte d’lvoire


Radio-Télévision Ivoirienne, TV1

INZA Di Kader

Libération, Côte d’lvoire

KAKOU A. Marthe

Radio-Télévision Ivoirienne, TV2

KASSY Innocent

Ministère de l’lnformation, Côte d’lvoire

KIPRE Seri Mogador

Le Jeune Démocrate, Côte d’lvoire

KONE Soungalo

Notre Voie, Côte d’lvoire


Fraternité Matin, Côte d’lvoire


Radio-Télévision Ivoirienne, TV1

NICHIE Séraphin

Ministère de l’lnformation, Côte d’lvoire

OKONRINO Celestine



Ivoir’ Soir, Côte d’lvoire




Le Patriote, Côte d’lvoire

SYLLA Yacouba

Fraternité Matin, Côte d’lvoire

TANOH Eugène


YAO Julien

Ministère de l’lnformation, Côte d’lvoire

YAPI N’Gbechi Benjamin

Soir Info, Côte d’lvoire

YOBOBA Tonohan Aimé

Ministère de l’lnformation, Côte d’lvoire


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