The ACB was formally launched in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, May 6th 2017 to support African countries in Global Fund governance processes through a resolution of African Health Ministers that dates back to 2012. The ACB, also known as the Bureau, brings together the two African Constituencies, the East and Southern Africa (ESA) and West and Central Africa (WCA) represented at the Global Fund to fight HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
The Bureau facilitates collaboration across the two constituencies and ensures that Africa’s voice is enhanced to influence Global Health policy decisions. The Bureau facilitates effective engagement, representation and participation of the two constituencies in GF processes as well as enhancing their capacity to shape GF policies and processes. Further, the Bureau offers new thinking and new approaches to address some of the most intractable health policy and health systems issues in Africa. It works to provide leaders in health in Africa with policy and strategy options to ensure Global Health policies and processes are responsive to Africa needs.
Developed during its startup phase, the 2017-2020 strategy was developed rapidly as a stop gap measure to help the organization take off as it equally worked on developing its organizational systems. This review process therefore provides an opportunity for better reflection, more in-depth analysis and the benefit of wider consultation. The ACB through consensus moved from its initial plan of revising the 2017-2022 strategy to developing a new strategy altogether that would cover 2022-2025. The rationale for this decision is best described by the African proverb “When the rhythm of the dance drum beat changes, the dance steps must adapt”. Thus, the decision was informed by among other things the rapidly changing environment characterized by COVID-19 which has implications on the fiscal and funding landscape, as well as the development of the Global Fund 2023-2028 which presents ACB with the opportunity to pivot. Further, ACB’s new strategic direction is informed by guidance from its revised Governance Framework that expands policy support beyond Global Fund to allow it to explore new frontiers in the Global Health policy arena. These change drivers in the ecosystem present the ACB with a unique opportunity to be ambitious, bold, more responsive, and therefore expand ACB’s footprint as a leading Pan African health policy think tank.
ACB’s new strategy has been developed in full collaboration with ESA and WCA through a series of stakeholder engagements virtually as well as through a workshop held in Dakar, Senegal 18-20 May, 2021. This particular meeting was critical in facilitating candid discussions on ACB’s performance while helping it to look back and learn from the past, examine the major trends impacting on the new strategy in order to clarify the strategic intent for 2022-2025. It was widely acknowledged during the workshop that the ACB had made significant strides in facilitating improved participation and representation of Africa’s strategic priorities with the Global Fund. Some of the areas highlighted for improvement in the next strategy included the need to facilitate greater inclusion of all constituencies by addressing language barriers especially for Portuguese speaking countries.
Overall, ACB’s new strategy provides it with the opportunity for increased alignment and future focus and will be more outward-facing compared to the initial 2017-2022 strategy. The ACB is currently going through several iterations of the draft strategy to allow for participation in clarifying key focus areas with the ultimate goal of ensuring Africa is free from the burden of HIV, TB and Malaria and more specifically to: ensure African priorities are reflected in Global Fund decisions through strong advocacy; platforms for effective participation and meaningful engagement are robust; African voices are amplified through targeted partnerships and ACBs organizational capacity to deliver on the new strategy is strengthened to ensure that it has a strong growth trajectory.
The ACB invites you all to be on standby as we anxiously wait for the birth of the new strategy. The ACB equally reminds you that: “It takes a village to raise a child”, and therefore we will look to all corners of the continent that we love from Dakar to Cape Town, from Bangui to Maputo, and from Addis Ababa to Luanda to join hands in implementing the new plan.