The list of top contractors to the African Development Bank has included no NGOs for the past 16 years, according to analysis by Devex identifying the bank’s top 10 contractors each year between 2000 and 2016.
The paucity of NGOs among top AfDB awardees could be due to the bank’s own sectoral priorities: More than 60 percent of AfDB funding over the last 16 years has gone to transport and energy infrastructure projects. These have often involved large-scale works requiring funding and resources that only the largest engineering or construction firms were equipped to provide.
The data shows that NGOs typically play a larger role in sectors such as agriculture, social development and environmental conservation. This makes sense, given that these areas aren’t as capital intensive as infrastructure, and rely more on the kinds of people-based skills and local cultural fluency that NGOs can offer.