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Frequently Asked Questions

Who supports ACBF?

Countries and International Organizations which have honored ACBF with their support to date are the following:

  • Multilateral partners: the World Bank, the African Development Bank, the United Nations Development Programme and the International Monetary Fund.
  • Non-regional partners: Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, India, Ireland, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States of America.
  • African partners: Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (DRC), Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tomé & Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
What is ACBF’s role in capacity development in Africa?
  • To build and strengthen sustainable indigenous capacity for macroeconomic policy analysis and development throughout sub-Saharan Africa;
  • To improve through co-financing and other networking arrangements, the channelling of donor support for capacity building in the area of the Foundation’s mandate; 
  • To build capacity in key areas of the public sector with emphasis on the interface between the public sector, on the one hand, and the private sector and civil society on the other; and, 
  • To provide support for regional initiatives in the area of research and training such as the  Regional Economic Communities (RECs) 
  • To establish systematic links between economic research and training institutions and governments to foster greater understanding and communications between such entities 
What is ACBF’s approach to capacity development?

In carrying out its mandate, ACBF is guided by the pursuit of excellence, placing emphasis on quality rather than quantity, attention to sustainability, recognizing that capacity building is a long-term process and is only worthwhile if development efforts become self-sustaining; priority for African participation (ensuring African pre-eminence in defining the capacity building process and in playing a leading role in implementation), and by taking a highly strategic approach based on the following principles which maximizes the Foundation’s comparative advantage and its catalytic role in the area of capacity building: 

  • Demand-driven approach, with emphasis on needs assessment, based on responsive intervention in capacity building and clients’ participation to ensure ownership of capacity-building programs.
  • selectivity and regional balance to ensure an effective intervention and maximize impact;
  • neutrality with respect to policy orientation in countries of intervention;
  • Emphasis on using innovative and flexible capacity-building operations that can succeed in Africa’s diverse institutions and political settings and that allow African governments and international donors focus their priorities for maximum effectiveness.
  • Country focus - the Foundation maintains a country focus that allows its programs to be customized to the different needs of individual countries-based on national capacity assessment-and to build up a concentration of “cluster" of talent and expertise in one country through various program channels. Through this integrated or “cluster“ approach, ACBF increases the possibilities of having maximum and sustained impact in a country and thus reducing the risk of its operations being isolated or marginalized. 
What is ACBF’s work?

Under the Third Strategic Medium Term Plan 2012 – 2016 (SMTP III), ACBF has identified three strategic pillars:

  1. Enhancing critical capacities to promote political and social stability for transformational change, through: 
    • Developing leaders
    • Building transparency and enhance accountability of processes
    • Improving participatory and inclusive decision processes
    • Enhancing skills of individuals with service delivery responsibility and disseminating and sharing tools for efficient public sector administration and management.
  1. Enhancing capacity to engage and regulate the productive sector, through:
    • Policy institutes and think tanks
    • Efforts that support skills building of ministerial staff responsible for implementing policies would be given special attention forscaling up through restructured university partnerships that ACBF has developed over the years
    • The Foundation will pay specific attention to investing in dialogue and reflection on values that lead to good governance, working in collaboration with regional and country entities on a series of important themes
    • Individual skills building efforts that are focused on ethics, integrity, and accountable governance.
  1. Enhancing capacity to track policy impact, through:
    • Assessment of capacity at the country and regional levels
    • Special emphasis on enhancing long term and strategic planning in key ministries as well as support to the statistical requirements for tracking policy impact.
    • Activities aimed at developing a culture of evaluating public programs
    • Strengthening policy advocacy capacity of non-state actors, intensification of effective oversight functions, and operationalizing efficiency of information disclosure and access systems. 
How does ACBF operate?

ACBF has a three –tier governance system:

  1. Board of Governors constituting all ACBF member countries and institutions
  2. Executive Board constituting 11 members and the Executive Secretary is an ex-officio
  3. ACBF Secretariat  headed by the Executive Secretary deals with the day to day operations of the Foundation
How does ACBF get its resources?

ACBF determines its activities on a basis of five-year strategic medium term plans, which are implemented through annual business plans and budgets.  Resources for the implementation of the strategic medium term plans are sourced from the Members of the Foundation, multi-lateral institutions, bilateral partners and non-traditional donors.  Resources are as much human and institutional, as projects and programs can be implemented through partnerships under specific Memorandum of Understanding. 

How does ACBF implement its projects and programs?

ACBF encourages countries to undertake rigorous policy analysis and research as well as to design sound programs in order to generate coherent development policies and nurture policy environments that are friendly to interventions in capacity building, and which promote sustainable long-term growth, development, and poverty reduction. The Foundation places premium on the need to strengthen the capacity of the core public sector to implement policies; deliver programs in an effective, transparent and accountable manner; and empower non-state actors to advocate for, or demand, responsiveness and results from public service institutions. The ultimate goal is to improve the lives and prospects of people throughout the Continent. ACBF's approach to capacity development is largely demand-driven - emphasizing needs assessments, stakeholder ownership of interventions, project/program sustainability, and synergy of interventions across projects, programs and development funding institutions. Considerable attention is given to the promotion of gender equality and equity in the Foundation's activities and interventions.

Where is ACBF located?

ACBF offices are located in Harare, Zimbabwe as the main office and serving the southern region; Nairobi, Kenya serving the East Africa region and Accra Ghana serving the western and central region.  ACBF has accreditation to the African Union through the ACBF Ambassador to the AU. 

Why was ACBF established?

The establishment of ACBF was in response to the severity of Africa’s capacity needs, and the challenges of investing in indigenous human capital and institutions in sub-Saharan Africa. ACBF interventions are premised on four principles: the centrality of capacity to the development process in Africa; the critical role of a partnership and demand driven approach in tackling capacity challenges; African ownership and leadership in the capacity development process; and a systematic, sequenced and coordinated approach to the capacity development process. 


What is ACBF’s vision for capacity development in Africa?

To be the leading African institution in building sustainable capacity for good governance and economic transformation in Africa.

Thomas Kwesi Quartey

ACBF has been granted the status of a specialized agency because of the potential to transform Africa through capacity development.

H.E. Thomas Kwesi Quartey, Deputy Chairperson, AU Commission
Erastus Mwencha

The recognition of ACBF as the African Union’s Specialized Agency for Capacity Development launches the beginning of a new era for capacity building by ACBF, which will require an appropriate level of political commitment and financial support from all stakeholders.

H.E. Erastus Mwencha, Chair, ACBF Executive Board
Lamin Momodou

The remarkable achievements ACBF has registered over the past 26 years is not by accident in our opinion. They have come through hard work, dedication, commitment, purposeful leadership, support from the member countries as well as productive partnership building.

Mr. Lamin Momodou MANNEH, Director, UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa
Goodall Gondwe

Africa needs ACBF as much, probably more now, than at the time it was created in 1991.

Hon. Goodall Gondwe, former Chair of the ACBF Board of Governors and Minister of Finance – Malawi
Ken Ofori Atta

Ghana’s partnership with ACBF is a tremendous blessing for us and therefore the opportunity for Ghana to host the 26th ACBF Board of Governors Meeting is something that we treasure.

Hon Ken Ofori Atta, Chair of the ACBF Board of Governors and Minister of Finance - Ghana