AfDB's new transparency policy takes effect

Cecilia Akintomide, vice president and secretary general at the African Development Bank. Photo by: African Development Bank Group

The African Development Bank will make available more information to the public under its new disclosure and access to information policy, which took effect Feb. 3.

The AfDB’s board of directors approved the policy in May, replacing the bank’s 2005 information disclosure policy. The new policy is modeled after similar ones by other multilateral lenders.

AfDB will now provide updates on private sector projects and audited financial reports prepared by borrowing countries, among other things. It will also “proactively” disclose contract awards and disbursements, project implementation reports as well as supervision reports.

Certain documents, such as country strategy partnerships and bank operational policies, will be made available at the same time of distribution to the bank’s board of directors to “increase participation of external stakeholders in the Bank’s decision-making process.”

AfDB Vice President and Secretary General Cecilia Akintomide said the new policy is “a reaffirmation of the Bank Group’s commitment, to carry out its development activities in an open and transparent manner, facilitating better knowledge and understanding of the Bank Group’s activities, its use of resources, its engagement with client countries and institutions, as well as its development effectiveness.”

There are, however, exceptions to the information the bank is willing to disclose, including audit reports by the Office of the Auditor General. A similar provision was included in the Asian Development Bank’s 2011 Public Communications Policy, one of the documents AfDB consulted for the new policy.

Other documents that AfDB looked into include the Inter-American Development Bank and World Bank’s access to information policies, both launched in 2010.

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About the author

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    Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.