Mr. Augustine Njanmnshi, the Alliance Technical and Political Affairs Chair
The Pan African Climate Justice (PACJA) will Co-Chair the Civil Society Committee of the African Bank in the next two years, till 2020. At a Statutory meeting held at the Bank’s Headquarters in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Mr. Augustine Njanmnshi, the Alliance Technical and Political Affairs Chair was unanimously elected in the position, which is crucial in the premier African financial institution’s outreach to civil society. He will Co-Chair the Committee with the Bank’s Vice-President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Jennifer Blanke.
Established in 2000, the AfDB Civil Society Committee seeks to provide the structure for a broader, deeper and more consistent engagement with the CSOs in Africa and beyond, and aims to position the civil society as key partners in development in the continent.
In his acceptance remarks, Mr. Njamnishi, who is also the Coordinator of the African Coalition for Sustainable Energy and Access (ACSEA), thanked the civil society representatives from various thematic groups for having confidence in him and PACJA, and promised to ensure a strengthened collaboration between civil society and the Bank.
“I take this opportunity to salute the personal conviction and commitment of President Adesina Akiwumi who has ensured the engagement of the civil society is not just a rubber stamp, but something real,” he said, appealing to the Bank Management to facilitate further engagement with the civil society beyond the traditional meetings. “In order to ensure continuity,“ he emphasized, “ we request the Bank to facilitate a face-to-face meeting between our team and the outgoing committee so as to build on their strengths as well as shortfalls.”
In spelling his vision in leading the Committee, Mr. Njamnshi promised a transformed relationship with the bank, drawing from PACJA’s convening and outreach power, and particularly connection with the communities. “I know the question on many minds would be what my team do differently,” He noted, “we want to be that committee that believes that the Bank’s name and influence in the communities should not be read on billboards of Projects, that the Bank should be known as the Pan African Institution, that engages, informs, consults and involves the people on the ground in its development efforts.”
The Tuesday 15 January 2019 Civil Society Committee Statutory Meeting was held at the backdrop of the Bank’s increasing recognition of the role of non-state actors in its strategy, which is anchored in the High five Priorities (Light up and Power Africa; Feed Africa; Industrialize Africa; Integrate Africa; and Improve the Quality of Life for the People of Africa) and ten year strategy (2013 – 2022).
Congratulating the ACSEA Coordinator for clinching the seat, Mr. Benson Ireri, the Christian Aid African Regional Advisor on Climate Change and Energy, who also serves in the AfDB Committee representing International NGOs urged Njamnshi to provide strategic leadership which will bring the Bank closer to the people to ensure its responsive to critical issues such as choices of energy and development paradigm.
“ We particularly look forward to constructive engagement as allies rather than adversaries with the Bank,” said Ireri, “ for instance, a conversation on the choice of energy we should use in the climate-constrained world where the African continent is at the frontline of climate impact is very crucial at the moment.”
The PACJA Executive Director, Mithika Mwenda welcomed the election of Mr. Njamnshi, and assured of the Alliance support in the pursuit of the Committee mandate, “ from the outset, “ said Mwenda, “ the entire infrastructure of PACJA is at the disposal of the Committee to ensure its vision is achieves.”