West African governments meet to share social policy ideas

28 Feb 17

Achieving value for money in social services is the key to maintaining progress in human development in West Africa, the African Development Bank has said.

A workshop held last week by the bank in Abuja, Nigeria in collaboration with the World Health Organisation and the Collaborative Africa Budget Reform Initiative looked to share best practice in social policy, including in areas such as lighting and power, food, industrialisation, integration and quality of life.

Attended by senior officials from the finance, health and education ministries of West African governments, the three-day session aimed to boost capacity and share expertise in the area of social policy and financing. Officials from Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia and Ghana were in attendance, among others.

Fostering and sustaining progress in human development depended on boosting the impact of social policy spending, the AfDB said. It noted that financing in this sector was often inefficient and ineffective, and that the performance of different countries varied dramatically.  

As such, one of the main goals of the workshop was to redefine and reaffirm the concept of value for money, and identify regional best practice. Five critical aspects of the concept were identified: economy, efficiency, effectiveness, equity, and ethics.

The AfDB said the aim should be to minimise the cost of input, maximise output, achieve the intended results of the service, reach the intended recipients, and manage programmes with integrity.

AfD representatives urged participants to initiate action and become agents of change on return to their home countries. It also noted achieving value for money would be crucial in implementing the bank’s High 5 development priorities that seek to accelerate African’s economic development. The High 5 targets cover lighting and power, food, industrialisation, integration and quality of life.

CABRI executive secretary Neil Cole, said that to drive sustainable change, participants would need to “show up, speak up, look up, team up, never give up and build others up”.

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