The Program and Knowledge Management Division of the African Development Institute (ECAD.1) has launched its new approach to building capacity for project implementation in Abuja, Nigeria. The newly minted Institutional Capacity and Fiduciary Clinic (ICFC) is a holistic approach that combines country capacity building, institutional capacity and leadership capacity of project staff. The first workshop of its kind took place in Abuja, Nigeria from 2 – 5 July 2018 in collaboration with the Nigeria Country Department (RDNG). Though the core mandate of the African Development Bank is development financing, ECAD recognizes that achieving the High 5 Agenda of the Bank depends critically on the depth and wealth of our knowledge and capacity, the development challenges facing the Continent and individual African Regional Member Countries (RMCs).
In addition to the previous approach that focuses on providing training on fiduciary issues of project implementation, the new approach adds strengthening capacity of the wider system in which projects are situated. These include formal institutional arrangements such as policies, laws, rules and regulations as well as informal norms, customs and other informal arrangements affecting development effectiveness. The new approach also captures the organisational arrangements and individual knowledge, skills and attitudes in project implementation. The overarching aim is to support, build and maintain strong interrelationship between actors in the sector/system. For this to work well, focus must be both on the interrelations between the organizations and individuals and groups of individuals.
The objective of the just ended ICFC workshop in Nigeria was to reinforce the capacity of projects staff involved in the execution, management and follow up of projects and programmes financed by the Bank. Additionally, the workshop aims at strengthening the institutional capacity to deliver better on development issues in Nigeria. The Workshop combined skill development on fiduciary issues (procurement, contract management, disbursement and financial management) with soft organisational skills that are equally important in project implementation. It was also a forum to discuss wider economic issues in the external environment in which our projects are situated including leadership, team building, time management, change management and communication.
Welcoming participants on behalf of the Senior Director Ebrima Faal, Country Operations Manager, Late Lawson reiterated that though Nigeria’s portfolio remains healthy, one cannot deny the fact that the country continues to wrestle with a number of issues relating to project implementation. He welcomed the timely launch of the new approach in Nigeria and highlighted the critical importance of the workshop in supporting the management of Bank-funded projects in the country. In his opening remarks, Chidozie Emenuga, Officer-in Charge of ECAD assured participants of the Department’s commitment to providing timely and relevant capacity that makes institutions stronger and better positioned to deliver on the Bank’s projects.
Explaining the objectives of the workshop and the rationale for the institutional capacity building approach, Foster Ofosu, Capacity Development Officer at the Bank discussed the need to balance technical skills and intangible organisational skills in building institutional capacity. He urged the participants to take full advantage of new approach to enhance their skills to manage project implementation challenges.
Sixty-two participants drawn from the Bank’s Agriculture sector projects in Nigeria participated in the workshop. The participants expressed their satisfaction with the approach and urged the Bank to provide more managerial skills in addition to technical skills needed to manage fiduciary issues in project implementation.