AfCFTA, infrastructure dev my focus- Adesina, AfDB President


President, African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina has assured African Heads of Governments and other relevant stakeholders on the continent that his second tenure would focus on boosting regional industrial value chains, tackling poverty and advancing the success of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

Adesina gave the assurance on Tuesday in Dakar, at his inauguration for a second term.

According to him, the Bank’s infrastructure work will focus on economic infrastructure, quality physical infrastructure and quality health infrastructure.

He added that the COVID-19 pandemic has opened up new opportunities and a greater sense of urgency to build up Africa’s manufacturing capacity, industrial development, and critically needed industrial value chains, that must be supported by enabling infrastructure and policies.

He called for support from stakeholders to tackle poverty, inequality, fragility, high youth unemployment, significant infrastructure financing gaps, and sustainable debt management.

He said: “We will reach out and tilt more global capital towards Africa — joining investment hands across the globe to support the needs of the continent. We will deepen the Africa Investment Forum and make it a critical driver for this bold investment partnership to help move Africa forward”, he said.

The AfDB President recalled that his first tenure ran on “The High5s of the Bank” ideology, which entails; (Light up and Power Africa; Feed Africa; Industrialize Africa; Integrate Africa; and Improve the Quality of Life of the people of Africa), developed to accelerate the delivery of the 10-year strategy.

“Over the past five years, the Bank has delivered impressive results on these High 5s: 18 million people with access to electricity; 141 million people had access to improved agricultural technologies for food security; 15 million people with access to finance from private investments; 101 million people with access to improved transport from infrastructure; 60 million people with access to water and sanitation.

“We’ve achieved impressive results. The Bank’s High5 programmes have impacted 335 million people”.

On the bank’s non-sovereign operations for the private sector, Adesina said it increased by 40% from $1.5 billion in 2015 to $ 2.1 billion in 2019, with the highest level of $ 2.5 billion achieved in 2016.

“We have been accountable for the climate since COP 21 in Paris. The Bank’s climate financing expanded from 9% when you elected me in 2015 to 36 % by 2019 – an increase of 400%. We’ve now targeted to reach $25 billion in climate finance by 2021.

“Through the innovative and groundbreaking Africa Investment Forum in 2018 and 2019, we were able to attract a combined $78.8 billion worth of investment interests into Africa.

“In every country, the Bank’s impacts are felt. We expanded our presence to 44 countries, including across fragile states. Our staff risk their lives to deliver.

“And we are delivering more for women with the implementation of the Affirmative Finance Action for Women (AFAWA), to leverage $3 billion for women and women businesses.

“We have launched a Gender Equality Trust Fund, the first ever in the Bank, and are advancing on gender markers for all projects of the Bank.

He hailed the bank’s shareholders for what he termed a historic general capital increase from $93 billion to $208 billion. This represents an increase of $115 billion, the highest in the history of the Bank.

“As shareholders, you strongly supported a 32% increase in resources for the African Development Fund (ADF) 15th replenishment, to support low income countries and fragile states. Today, the ADF countries receive 700% larger resources than they did in 2015.

The African Development Fund has also been rated as the 2nd best managed concessional financing institution globally.

“Over the past five years we have maintained our AAA rating by all three major rating agencies — thanks to your continued extraordinary support as shareholders”, he noted. (Sun News Online)