Posted by: APO | 12 February 2013

African Development Bank Hosts Forum on Indigenous Peoples’ Development

African Development Bank Hosts Forum on Indigenous Peoples’ Development

TUNIS, Tunisia, February 12, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ The African Development Bank (AfDB) ( convened international experts, indigenous peoples groups, ministers, African Development Bank staff, and key stakeholders at the Forum on Indigenous Peoples’ Development Issues in Africa held at the Sheraton Hotel in Tunis, Tunisia, from February 11-12, 2013. The forum sought to provide a platform for key stakeholders to discuss relevant policies on indigenous peoples’ integration into development initiatives.


During the opening session, Simon Mizrahi, Director of the Quality Assurance and Results Department of the African Development Bank, welcomed participants in what would prove to be a lively and timely debate on inclusion of indigenous peoples in the forum’s discussion. The morning’s panel gathered together leading government representatives and multilateral organization members to discuss case studies in the hopes of better informing the AfDB’s policies.

Berina Kawandami, Deputy Minister of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs in Zambia, spoke of her country’s journey to honour the diversity of indigenous people in Zambia. With 287 chiefs representing the 73 tribes throughout the country, Zambia has recognized the importance of honouring these chiefs and looking to create unique economic opportunities for each tribe, said Kawandami, who summarized her country’s efforts as “one village, one industry.”

Providing a complementary perspective to the Zambian example was General Kahinda Otafire, Minister of Justice and Constitutional Affairs in Uganda. General Otafire offered advice to the AfDB stating, “I would rather look at acquisition, creation and distribution of wealth as the single most important question when we are talking about minorities and indigenous people.” As he moved away from importance of a formal definition for indigenous people, General Otafire quipped, “we are all indigenous people from somewhere.”

Aisha Abdullahi, Commissioner of Political Affairs for the African Union, lauded the Bank’s efforts to develop specific policies and guidelines on indigenous peoples and looked forward to further collaboration amongst multilateral organizations. As her organization celebrated its 50th anniversary, she hoped that the continent would also honour the theme of Pan-Africanism and the African Renaissance.

Abdullahi added that establishing “added efforts to ensure inclusivity” not only for indigenous peoples, but “for all peoples and minorities, women, the youth and future generations” was of critical importance to the development of the continent.

Of the same tenor, Prof. Mthuli Ncube, AfDB Vice-President and Chief Economist, observed that indigenous peoples were not “victims,” but should be seen as partners as well as beneficiaries for Africa’s development.

Bank Vice-President Zondo Sakala opened the day’s discussions stating that the forum “is really about inclusion of people regardless of who they are.”

As the first session came to an end, Mizrahi pointed out the importance of partnerships, stating that “no one has a monopoly on the truth and we all have different perspectives.”

Distributed by the African Press Organization on behalf of the African Development Bank.

Contact: Kelsea Ballantyne. Tel: +216 52651165 /

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African Development Bank (AfDB)


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