‘AfDB initiates transformative projects for Africa’s development’

Akinwumi Adesina 1Governors representing the African Development Bank (AfDB) West Africa region held consultative meetings with Akinwumi Adesina, President of AfDB, and senior management, to discuss the bank’s accelerated engagement in the region

About 370 transformative bank projects valued at US$11.3bn between 2010 and 2017 are changing lives, the governors noted.

These are the second annual consultative meetings, aimed at sharing views with the governors after the first-ever meetings in the history of the Bank were initiated by President Akinwumi Adesina in 2018.

During the consultations, the ministers urged for greater focus on women to close the gender gap, address climate change and increase attention to development in fragile states.

Calling the bank, the economic arm of the African Union (AU), governors also highlighted the need for it to be involved in global issues in order to influence and help shape the conversations around foreign investments. Governors focused on institutional capacity building, nutrition, data collection as well as regional integration and digital connectivity.

Sierra Leone Minister of Finance Jacob Jusu Saffa highlighted the need “To mobilise domestic funds and use our pension funds more efficiently.”

Ministers from Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea and Guinea Bissau called for increased support for institutional capacity building.

Economic growth trends show positive signals. GDP growth rate is projected at four per cent this year and to rise to 4.1 per cent in 2019. However, this does not give the full picture. About 45 per cent of the countries will grow at above five per cent. These figures on West Africa’s regional economic outlook were shared by Celestin Monga, vice-president and chief economist in his presentation before the governors.

The Senegambia Bridge, financed solely by the Bank was inaugurated in January, historical development and a dream come true for both countries. The Regional Express Train, the first speed train in West Africa, financed by the Bank was inaugurated in Dakar, Senegal. The Bank also financed the construction of a modern international airport in Ghana. Ghana’s national Cocoa Board received a financing plan of $600 million to enable measures to improve productivity and build warehouses.

The Desert to Power Initiative, which will develop 10,000MW of the solar zone all across the Sahel, will provide electricity for 250mn people, 90mn of them via off-grid solar systems. The project has already started in Burkina Faso, with the Yelen solar project.

“Let’s think how much development we want to have in Africa and how much we are willing to pay for it… Not be too focused on how much it would cost. Let’s think about how much development we want to have in Africa and how much we are willing to pay for it. It is not so much what we can afford: it is what Africa deserves. Under-development is more expensive,” Adesina said.

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