The World Bank has drafted a set of proposals for for engaging Sub-Saharan Africa over the next five years with community consultations as part of the implementation process.
A draft strategy paper circulated by the World Bank this week said African communities will join in elaborating the final draft to steer policies and operations. It described the initiative as a "Marshall Plan for Africa" intended to overcome financial constraints hindering progress toward of U.N. Millennium Development Goals.
Poverty reduction is one of the core objectives of the MDG process.
The draft strategy, called "Africa’s Future and the World Bank’s Role In It," presents inter-related themes leading to constructive intervention in different countries - though the draft strategy paper was regional in scope rather than country-specific.
Themes include competitiveness and employment, vulnerability and resilience, and governance and public-sector capacity.
“The bank’s intervention in each country will be guided by these themes as a framework but certainly not limited" by the framework, the World Bank paper said.
It proposed "an an evidence-based approach to debates about Africa’s development, and flexible and innovative financing to support countries’ financial needs.”
A major policy option discussed in the strategy paper is the adoption of social safety nets as means of mitigating the impact of macroeconomic policy shifts.
The bank said it solicited the views of some 1,500 people in 36 countries, reaching the conclusion that governance is a major constraint upon successful development.
“There is need to strengthen accountability at all levels of society,” it said.
In the draft strategy, the World Bank acknowledged that it has made some mistakes in the past in implementing projects without consulting communities.
“We’ve learned the hard way that a sector-by-sector-approach will not work," said the paper, adding that “the main instrument of implementation (of programs) will be partnerships with African society and with other development actors."
Development worker Thembekile Ncube told VOA Studio 7 reporter Gibbs Dube that the World Bank’s new strategy may work if communities and the World Bank firmly commit themselves and engage to bring projects to successful conclusions.