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Remarks by Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina, President, African Development Bank Group, at the Finance in Common Summit, November 12, 2020

November 12, 2020

The African Development Bank is fully committed to supporting Africa to meet the Sustainable Development Goals and the climate change agenda agreed at COP21 in Paris.

Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina, President, African Development Bank Group

I would like to thank President Emmanuel Macron and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres for hosting us for the Paris Peace Forum. I’d also like to thank my dear friend Remy Rioux for the vision and leadership in putting together the Finance in Common Summit, with Public Development Banks.

Peace is the collateral for sustainable development. We gather today for peace — and for development.

But we gather at a time of great challenges from the global Coronavirus pandemic.

Our gathering on Finance in Common shows again our collective resolve to keep our focus on sustainable development — even in the face of the pandemic.

Nothing can dampen our collective resolve to provide better opportunities for all, to create hope for millions of youth, to end extreme poverty and to provide a better, safer and healthier future for all.

Meeting the SDGs will be much tougher now with the pandemic. Globally, the financing gap to achieve the SDGs by 2030 is estimated at $2.5 trillion per year.

That’s been worsened with the pandemic. We NOW need all hands joined together.

The Public Development Banks, with lending volumes of $2.3 trillion annually can meet 92% of all the financing gap for the SDGs.

And just imagine: if those resources are well leveraged, with the private sector, and aligned with the climate agenda, we can meet and exceed the SDGs and the climate financing agendas. 

To mobilize financing needs for the SDGs, we need 3 things: 

  • Financing coalition, 
  • Financing complementarity and
  • Financing consolidation.

Public Development Banks offer such a powerful platform for this, if they focus and align their financing to the SDGs and climate change. 

That’s why we are here today. Let’s be bold. Let’s be creative. Let’s build this new ecosystem for transformative change.

PART II: Role of the African Development Bank

The African Development Bank is fully committed to supporting Africa to meet the Sustainable Development Goals and the climate change agenda agreed at COP21 in Paris.

We’ve been very responsive in tackling the current pandemic. The Bank launched a $10 billion facility to support Africa to contain the Coronavirus. We also launched a $3 billion fight COVID-19 social bond on the global capital market — the largest ever social bond in world history. 

Yet, as we are tackling the pandemic, and saving lives, we are committed to supporting economic recovery, to rebuild Africa’s economies — stronger, bolder, better and with greater resilience.

We must all continue to focus on closing Africa’s massive annual infrastructure financing gap estimated at $ 68-108 billion. 

To advance this, Public development banks should invest in private sector for infrastructure. PPPs should become the norm for infrastructure financing, to reduce infrastructure-related debts.

We must leverage more foreign direct investment to Africa. The Africa Investment Forum is Africa’s structured investment market place and leveraging platform. In two years of its existence, the Africa Investment Forum attracted $78.1 billion of investment interests to Africa. Public Development Banks should all join hands with the African Development Bank and partners to create an massive investment rebound to Africa. The next Africa Investment Forum will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, in November 2021. 

We must leave no one behind. For that we must prioritize financing for fragile states.

We must collectively address the huge financing gap for women. Development promise without women is simply an empty promise. Financing gap for women in Africa is estimated at $42 billion. The African Development Bank’s AFAWA program is working to unlock $5 billion in financing for women in the next five years. I’d like to applaud President Macron for helping to launch and mobilize substantial financing for AFAWA during the G7 Summit in France. As of June 2020, $138 million were approved for women through 10 financial institutions in seven countries. Public development banks are welcome to join this largest ever effort in Africa to tilt financing towards women in Africa. 

The African Development Bank will be working with governments to launch Youth Entrepreneurship Investment Banks to create a new (scalable, systemic and sustainable) financial ecosystem for unlocking entrepreneurship and growing the businesses of the youth. The goal is to spur youth-led innovation and business ventures, create quality and decent jobs, and turn Africa’s youth demographic advantage into assets for Africa. I would like to ask Public Development Banks to join us in this new bold effort for Africa, including innovations to develop and expand local capital markets.

Finally, we must accelerate renewable energy all across Africa. The African Development Bank will no longer finance coal projects. The Bank has embarked on the Desert to Power initiative to build the world’s largest solar zone in the Sahel region, and provide electricity for 280 million people. To achieve the $20 billion investment to light up the Sahel requires financing coalition, complementarity and consolidation. I’d like to call on all public development banks, the civil society and philanthropic organizations to join the Bank in this transformative effort to power Africa.

Together, let’s do “Finance in Common”.

  • Let’s have financing coalition, 
  • Financing complementarity and 
  • Financing consolidation. 

I look forward to working with you all.

Thank you very much.

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