Improving access to consumers via mobile technologies

Improving access to consumers via mobile technologies. Consumers in Africa are getting easier to reach due to a remarkable uptake of mobile services. By 2012 almost 50 percent of Africans (more than 500 million people) will own a mobile phone, compared with 30 percent in 2008.7 This significant mobile adoption by consumers has made it easier for companies to reach consumers through mobile marketing, competitions and promotions (for example, M-Pesa for mobile money). Consumers are more savvy because they are now linked to the rest of the world through their cell phones and no longer isolated. In addition to improving access to consumers, the mobile revolution has created a booming industry that employs and provides income for large numbers of people. Witness the significant drive in Kenya to open new business call centres.

A healthier and more stable business environment. Fewer conflicts, more democratic elections, higher economic growth rates and improved business regulation make Africa more business-friendly every year. This fact has been recognized by the World Bank’s 2009 Ease of Doing Business report, which highlighted Africa as a continent that is making strides toward becoming a businessfriendly regulatory environment.

A loosening of trade restrictions. Trade among African countries in the past has been slowed by the hefty tariff barriers that countries imposed on imports. However, the global drive for rapid opening of borders to regional and international trade is forcing African countries to open up their borders for imports. Africa has fostered a number of formalized trade blocs that have been the catalyst for loosening trade restrictions between member states and the global economy in general. As African consumers accumulate wealth and steadily gain access to global products and services, they will form lasting allegiances with companies offering these products and services. For companies that want to benefit from the size and growth inherent in the African opportunity, the time to act is now.

AfDB builds capacity on Value for Money in Social Service Delivery in the West African region

The African Development Bank (AfDB), in collaboration with the World Health Organization-Africa Region and the Collaborative Africa Budget Reform Initiative (CABRI), organized a capacity-building workshop for senior officials from Ministries of Finance, Health, Education and civil society organizations from February 21-23 in Abuja, Nigeria. The workshop targeted Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) member countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo).

To foster and sustain progress in human development, African countries have identified the need to improve the level of results generated for the money spent on social sectors. Evidence shows that social spending is often inefficient and ineffective, and there is consensus on the need to correct this situation. Countries achieve very different levels of results with comparable levels of social spending. This suggests that it is possible to obtain greater results from available resources. The goal of the workshop: to familiarize service chiefs and policy-makers in the social sectors with the concept of Value for Money (VfM) and identify regional best practices for emulation.

The workshop focused on understanding how to achieve improved results with available funds. The stakeholders agreed the main sources of inefficiency in social spending are known and cut across sectors and that inefficiencies affect both public and private spending.

Five critical aspects of VfM, the five “Es” were evaluated – economy: minimize the cost of inputs; efficiency: maximize the outputs delivered from the inputs; effectiveness: achieve the intended results of the service, project or programme; equity: ensure public services reach their intended recipients; and ethics: manage services and programmes with integrity.

Through active participation, in-depth analysis and dialogue, a collective resolve to take positive actions towards improved VfM practices was made. African Development Bank Chief Health Analyst Fabrice Sergent urged participants to keep the conversation going after the workshop and initiate action in their respective countries.

As Africa marches towards implementation of the Bank’s High 5 development priorities, incorporating VfM into the core of policy-making and strategy implementation remains critical. Participants were encouraged to be active change agents to drive the process. In the words of CABRI Executive Secretary Neil Cole, to drive sustainable change, we must “show up, speak up, look up, team up, never give up and build others up.”

Face the future with courage and determination,” Adesina tells Nigerian youth

In a ceremony to mark the 28thgraduation ceremony of the Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA), on Saturday, March 18, 2017, Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina, President of African Development Bank (AfDB), was conferred with a Doctor of Science Honoris Causa. According to a citation read by the university’s orator, the decoration was in recognition of Adesina’s immeasurable contribution to sustaining economic development and poverty reduction in Africa, his globally acclaimed but locally relevant leadership in agricultural development and management, and his drive to empower women for a fair and equitable world.

Responding to the honour, Adesina expressed his gratitude and praised the work of the outgoing Vice Chancellor, Professor Adebiyi G. Daramola, on the growth of the institution under his watch, particularly the 10 new additions to the university’s critical infrastructure – all built with internally generated revenue.

Prior to the decoration, Adesina joined the Governor of Ondo State, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, the Chancellor and Vice Chancellor of the university to inaugurate the two-kilometre road leading to the institution.

Addressing the graduates and Nigerian youth in general, Adesina passed on some wisdom to tackle future challenges. He told graduates to “remain focused” on what they have their hearts set out to do.

“To be successful in life, be honest, have integrity, be simple, serve others. Face the future with courage and determination,” he said.

This is the third honorary doctorate Adesina has received from Nigerian universities since assuming office as President of the African Development Bank in May 2015.