The African Development Bank (AfDB), in conjunction with the World Bank Group, hosted the first ever ‘Africa Day’ on Wednesday, November 20, during Law, Justice and Development (LJD) Week 2013. LJD Week is organized each year to provide a forum for legal and development practitioners, scholars, governments and civil society to discuss the critical role legal and judicial systems can play in furthering development outcomes.
The theme for Africa Day was “How Law and Justice Can Help Translate Voice, Social Contract and Accountability into Development Impact in Africa”. Africa Day provided a venue for an in-depth discussion on critical legal issues in Africa’s development process and was designed to bolster knowledge on key and emerging legal issues on the African continent. Participants in Africa Day explored how law and justice can help translate voice, social contract and accountability into development impact in Africa. Africa Day also provided an opportunity for participants to share the challenges faced and progress made in various efforts to further development on the continent through law.
Africa Day featured a number of African luminaries, scholars, professionals and Justices, who participated in various panels and sessions covering a myriad of topics of relevance to the impact of law on the development process.
President Donald Kaberuka provided the welcome and opening remarks, via video message and through Vice-President and Secretary General, Cecila Akintomide, who participated in person and delivered the President’s opening remarks. Kaberuka noted that “in [the AfDB’s] view, there are three key levers: (i) Institutions; (ii) Integration; and (iii) Infrastructure” for Africa’s transformation and “these critical factors for Africa’s development and transformation require legal expertise and the law to be addressed.”
The Keynote Speaker, Cyrille S. Ogun, Ambassador of Benin to the United States of America, focused on the importance of law to creating and maintaining a conducive business climate.
The opening session was followed by a series of informative and animated discussions on Economic Opportunities in Extractive Industries: Balancing Opportunities with Voice and Accountability; Emerging Legal Issues: Africa 50 Fund as an Innovative Approach to Addressing Africa’s Infrastructure Challenges; Justice Roundtable: The Transparency, Independence and Accountability of the Judiciary in Africa; Emerging Legal Issues: Tackling Illegal Financial Flows in Africa; and Emerging Legal Issues: Recent Constitutional Developments in Africa – The Role of the Judiciary.
Africa Day closed with remarks from the General Counsel, Kalidou Gadio, thanking those in attendance for their participation in Africa Day and emphasizing that “it is imperative that together, we chart a new course towards translating voice, social contract and accountability into development impact in Africa.”