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African Development Bank President Adesina named a champion of Africa’s Great Green Wall climate-adaptation initiative
January 12, 2021 | 0 Comments
In the role of champion, Adesina will lead the mobilisation of political and economic support for the initiative
PARIS, France, January 12, 2021/ — African Development Bank President Akinwumi A. Adesina has been announced as a champion of Africa’s Great Green Wall (GGW) initiative.

The appointment was made at a forum held in the margins of the One Planet Summit 20201 to mobilise support for the ambitious project to plant an 8,000 km swathe of trees and other vegetation across the Sahara and Sahel regions of Africa. The green wall will act as a barrier against desertification and aims to create over 10 million green jobs in the region.

“I would also like to welcome the commitment of Dr. Adesina, President of the African Development Bank, who has agreed to take on the role of resource mobilization champion and help raise, by 2030, all the necessary funds for the realization of the Great Green Wall,” French President Emmanuel Macron told participants.

In the role of champion, Adesina will lead the mobilisation of political and economic support for the initiative.

“The Great Green Wall Initiative is the first step on the way to nature-based solutions as well as solutions based on the vitality of African eco-solutions,” said Macron. “France is very committed to this region from the standpoint of security and sustainability. We need to beef up the initiative for all the 11 countries.”

During the forum, Adesina announced that the Bank would mobilize up to $6.5 billion over the next 5 years for the Great Green Wall Initiative, joining multilateral development institutions, governments and development partners that have pledged over $14 billion. The World Bank, for instance, pledged over $5 billion in funding to advance land restoration and degradation issues and to address challenges around Lake Chad.

Adesina praised the initiative. “The Great Green Wall is part of Africa’s environmental defense system — a shield against the onslaughts of desertification and degradation,” he said. “The future of the Sahel region of Africa depends on the Great Green Wall. Without the Great Green Wall, in the face of climate change and desertification, the Sahel may disappear.”

The Bank will extend resources through a range of mechanisms, partnerships and operations, and draw on internal and external sources of funding, including the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) and the Green Climate Fund (GCF), among others.

Adesina noted that ongoing Bank initiatives such as Desert to Power, a programme to build the largest solar zone in the world in the Sahel, will enhance and complement the Great Green Wall. “This will provide electricity for 250 million people and help to protect the Great Green Wall. If there is no access to energy, the Great Green Wall will be no more than trees waiting to be turned into charcoal.” The Bank has committed to mobilize $25 billion for climate finance by 2025.

The One Planet Summit 2021 is hosted by French President Emmanuel Macron and His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales. The Summit, held annually, brings together political leaders, private sector decision makers, foundations, NGOs and citizens to identify and accelerate funding for climate, biodiversity and ocean solutions and mobilize all stakeholders in public life and the economic world in collaborative efforts.

Other Great Green Wall Champions include musicians Baaba Maal and Ricky Kej and environmental activist Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim.
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Africans Who Made Global Headlines in 2020
December 26, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Prince Kurupati*

Archbishop Samuel Kleda said his COVID-19 herbal remedy called Essential Oils has treated thousands in the Central African sub region
Archbishop Samuel Kleda said his COVID-19 herbal remedy called Essential Oils has treated thousands in the Central African sub region

The year 2020 is fast coming to an end. For most people, the year 2020 is one to be forgotten as the world had to fight (and is still) a deadly pandemic known as COVID-19. However, despite the challenges that 2020 brought about, there are some individuals who managed to achieve some incredible feats. Some of the feats relate to humanitarian matters, politics, economics, and science while others made significant strides in finding long lasting cures and vaccines for COVID-19. In this article, we are going to take time in sharing with all readers Africans who made global headlines in 2020.

Archbishop Samuel Kleda of Doula (Cameroon)

As the world is currently battling the corona virus pandemic, we saw it befitting to start off with one man who announced that he has found a cure for COVID-19. Early on in May when the corona virus was just starting to show off its devastating side, one cleric in Cameroon by the name Archbishop Samuel Kleda made some bold remarks stating that he had found a cure for COVID-19. Archbishop Kleda’s cure is a herbal remedy which he concocted himself. In an interview with state media CRTV, Archbishop Kleda said that he had over 30 years of medicinal plant research experience and it is this experience which helped him to come up with the COVID-19 cure which he calls Essential Oils.

Soon after his remarks, many people in Cameroon flocked to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Doua

la in search of the precious COVID-19 herbal cure. Amongst those who received the herbal cure, many of them who were interviewed by different media houses testified that the cure was of great help as it managed to heal them.

Realizing the popularity of Archbishop Kleda’s herbal cure, the Cameroonian government had to intervene sending a team of researchers and doctors to determine the validity of Kleda’s claimed cure. Once the outcome of the investigation is proved to be true, the government has promised to make the herbal cure more widely available.

In the meantime as the government researchers and scientists continue doing their work, Archbishop Kleda said he would continue administering the treatment to patients who sought help from him. He said his goal as a servant of God was to help poor and suffering people hence the reason he will continue administering the treatment free of charge to all people.

Andry Rajoelina (Madagascar)

Earlier in the year when COVID-19 was starting to show its ugly face, the President of Madagascar, Andry Rajoelina made some bold remarks stating that his country had found a cure for COVID-19. The said cure is a herbal concoction made from locally available plants in Madagascar. When the Madagascar president made the remarks, he stated that his government had already done some tests (albeit with a rather small population) and had proven that the herbal cure known as Covid-Organics was safe and effective.

As soon as Covid-Organics was released, Madagascar began to witness a reduction in the number of infected cases. At one point, the country had to go for several weeks without recording any new cases. For many, including the skeptical, they started to view this as testament that Covid-Organics was indeed a safe and effective cure and thus they started to embrace it. Many African countries approached the Madagascar government looking to get their own share of the miracle cure and found the Madagascar government readily willing to help its African sisters. Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Nigeria, Liberia, Senegal, DRC and Tanzania are some of the countries that received their own batches of Covid-Organics.

In as much as the Madagascar people and other African countries embraced Covid-Organics, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the African Union including other scientific bodies remained skeptical saying they would only approve of Covid-Organics’ safety and efficacy if clinical trials are done first.

Despite the skepticism shown by scientific bodies, the AU and WHO, President Rajoelina remained defiant stating that Covid-Organics is safe and effective for use as a COVID-19 cure. At one point, he stated that the skepticism shown by some emanates from the fact that Covid-Organics was found by an African country, if it had been any other American or European country, the reception would be different.

“What is the problem with Covid-Organics, really? Could it be that this product comes from Africa? Could it be that it’s not OK for a country like Madagascar, which is the 63rd poorest country in the world… to have come up with (this concoction) that can help save the world?” Rajoelina asked.

FILE PHOTO: John Nkengasong, Africa's Director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), speaks during an interview with Reuters at the African Union (AU) Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 11, 2020. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: John Nkengasong, Africa’s Director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), speaks during an interview with Reuters at the African Union (AU) Headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 11, 2020. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri/File Photo

Dr John Nkengasong (Cameroon)

Dr John Nkengasong is a virologist who is the director of Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC). Africa CDC was established by the African Union to support member states’ public health initiatives and strengthen public health institutions’ capacity to detect, prevent, control and respond to disease threats and outbreaks quickly and effectively. When the COVID-19 pandemic started to take its toll, Dr John Nkengasong was appointed as the WHO Special Envoy for Africa. In this role, Dr John Nkengasong has worked tirelessly in coordinating the African response to COVID-19.

In an interview of ReliefWeb, Dr John Nkengasong said his work was made easier by the fact that COVID-19 didn’t start in Africa. This gave him time to quickly strategize on how Africa could best prepare for the pandemic. As the pandemic was starting to cause havoc in other continents, Dr John Nkengasong realized that Africa by the second week of February only had two countries (Senegal and South Africa) that could diagnose COVID-19. To address this challenge, Dr John Nkengasong together with his team quickly brought together representatives of laboratories from 16 African countries, trained them and gave them diagnostic equipment. They repeated the exercise in cohorts with representatives from other African countries to ensure that every country on the continent could diagnose COVID-19 on its own.

After this, Dr John Nkengasong’s focus turned towards infection prevention and control. Recognizing that it would be devastating if health personnel in African countries would be infected in large numbers (as this would derail the fight against COVID-19), Dr John Nkengasong together with his team brought representatives of 35 countries in Nigeria and trained them on infection prevention and control. Another training was done in Kenya which brought about representatives of more than 30 countries for training in enhanced airport, airline and port-of-entry screening. The next task was to train health personnel on communicating risk to the general public and this was done in Tunisia.

As a last step in coordinating an African response to COVID-19, Dr John Nkengasong working with the African Union convened a meeting of all health ministers where it was agreed that there need to be a coordinated continental strategy that hinges on cooperation, collaboration, coordination and communication. This led to the establishment of the Africa Task Force for Coronavirus Preparedness and Response.

Jack Ma (China) *Not African but included owing to his generosity in helping in Africa’s fight against COVID-19

This article seeks to expose Africans who made global headlines in 2020. The first part of the article focused on Africans who have achieved great feats when it comes to fighting COVID-19. When it comes to Africa’s response to fighting COVID-19, it would be a miscarriage of justice to exclude one man (albeit non-African) that is, Jack Ma whose generosity with COVID-19 donations greatly helped many African countries to better fight the novel corona virus pandemic. 

When most African countries were struggling to raise adequate funds to purchase personal protective equipment and other necessary tools required in the fight against COVID-19, Chinese business magnate Jack Ma announced that he through his Jack Ma Foundation would be helping the African continent to better fight the pandemic by availing COVID-19 donations. The donations came in three rounds with all African countries benefitting.

On each round, Africa received masks, swabs and test kits, ventilators, sets of protective clothing, face shields, temperature guns, body temperature scanners and pairs of gloves.

Speaking after receiving donations for the third round, the director of Africa CDC Dr John Nkengasong said, “Getting diagnostics and medical equipment for COVID-19 response is a global challenge. Africa is in a fierce competition with the developed world with respect to the availability of commodities. These donations from the Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Foundation have been an incredible initiative helping to feed the need for medical supplies by African countries.”

Lazarus Chakwera (Malawi)

In a historic development certainly on the African continent, a constitutional court managed to annul the results of a presidential election and ordered fresh polls! Africa for so long has been marred by allegations of electoral fraud and violence. However, despite the numerous reports of electoral fraud and violence, only once (Kenya in 2017) had an election been annulled based on the reports. That changed in 2020 as Malawi’s Constitutional Court annulled the country’s 2019 presidential results ordering fresh polls.

Reading his ruling earlier on this year, Malawi’s Constitutional Court judge Healey Potani said, “In every election there are irregularities. However, in the present case, the irregularities were widespread and systematic and affected the result… We order the nullification of the election… We further order that a fresh election be held in accordance with the law and pursuant to directions we will make soon. We also order that elections should be held within 150 days.”

The landmark ruling was warmly greeted by many both within the borders of Malawi and beyond as it demonstrated the independent nature of Malawi’s Judiciary. The plaintiffs were then losing opposition candidates Lazarus Chakwera and Saulos Chilima. The two challenged the result, alleging that the tally sheets were tampered with and that some polling stations used correction fluid to alter the results.

Soon after the Constitutional Court ordered fresh polls, Lazarus Chakwera and Saulos Chilima joined forces as they entered into an alliance. The objective – to force then incumbent Peter Mutharika out of office. 6.8 million Voters cast their votes and Lazarus Chakwera was duly declared the winner of the fresh polls with 58.57 per cent of the vote.  An elated Chakwera speaking after the election re-run said, “This is a win for Malawians, it is a win for democracy, a win for justice… It is a win that will enable this nation to really reset and begin to build a new kind of Malawi in which all of us together will be involved.”

 Dr Akinwumi Adesina earned a second term and has placed the AfDB as one of the most credible partners in helping Africa bounce back from COVID 19
Dr Akinwumi Adesina earned a second term and has placed the AfDB as one of the most credible partners in helping Africa bounce back from COVID 19

Akinwumi Adesina (Nigeria)

2020 saw Akinwumi Adesina being reelected to run for a second term as the president of the African Development Bank (AFDB). However, Adesina’s path to his second term in office was by no means smooth sailing as he faced numerous challenges that threatened to derail not only his reelection but also taint his career.

According to the Business Day Nigeria, Adesina’s re-election can be likened ‘to a warrior who won an almost impossible battle as he was faced with a lot of issues which would have posed as threats for a second tenure’. Three months before he was expected to be re-elected, the former Nigerian minister of Agriculture was questioned after a string of corruption and abuse of office allegations from his own staff.

The staff calling themselves ‘Group of Concerned Staff Members of the AFDB’ claimed that Adesina was using the bank’s resources for self-promotion and personal gain while also paying out huge but underserved severance packages to staff who resigned mysteriously, and favouring his fellow Nigerians. AFDB using its own internal investigation unit opened an investigation to look into the allegations but found no evidence to prove any wrongdoing on the part of Adesina. The outcome however wasn’t accepted by the US Treasury Department which immediately called for an ‘independent’ investigation.

US Treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin said, “We have deep reservations about the integrity of the committee’s process. Instead, we urge you to initiate an in-depth investigation of the allegations using the services of an independent outside investigator of high professional standing.” Soon after, a tribunal was set up chaired by former Irish President, Mary Robinson. The tribunal just like the ethics committee before it exonerated Adesina.

The tribunal’s findings paved the way for Adesina to compete for a second term and he was unanimously reelected by the Board of Governors with a 100 per cent vote at the end of the Bank’s 2020 Annual Meeting on 27 August. After his win, President Adesina had this to say, “I am deeply grateful for the collective trust, strong confidence and support of our shareholders for electing me for a second term as President. It is yet another call for selfless service to Africa and the African Development Bank, to which I will passionately devote myself… The future beckons us for a more developed Africa and a much stronger and resilient African Development Bank Group. We will build on the strong foundations of success in the past five years, while further strengthening the institution, for greater effectiveness and impacts.”

Paul Kagame (Rwanda)

Rwanda has become an emblem of economic development on the African continent and beyond. This has largely been necessitated by the country’s president, Paul Kagame who has been at the forefront in pushing a development oriented agenda. The year 2020 was no different with other recent years as Rwanda continued its developmental trajectory. However, what makes 2020 particularly special to Rwanda is the fact that 2020 is the year that Rwanda set as the year it would achieve its economic deliverables as outlined in Vision 2020. Suffice to say, there is much to celebrate as the country managed to achieve a lot of its economic deliverables.

Rwanda’s accomplishment of the objectives laid out in Vision 2020 is part of the reason for its high growth. The country’s government created Vision 2020 intending to become a middle-income country by 2020 – this was later on postponed to 2035 but there is sufficient evidence on the ground that the country is on the right path to achieving the goal way before the targeted year that is, 2035. This largely necessitated by widespread development from infrastructure to service sector investments.

Samantha Muzoroki (Zimbabwe)

They say heroes and heroines emerge during troubling times. During the troubling COVID-19 pandemic, one heroine has emerged in Zimbabwe by the name Samantha Muzoroki. Samantha Muzoroki is an immigration lawyer by profession but she found a new ‘profession’ during the national lockdown in Zimbabwe that of, feeding children, the poor and vulnerable in society.

Samantha Muzoroki runs a relief kitchen in Chitungwiza, one of the most populated towns in Zimbabwe which is a few kilometers away from the capital Harare. Her relief kitchen offers free food to children, the poor and the vulnerable. Samantha says she realized that many children were going the whole day without anything to eat as the national lockdown implemented by the government to combat the spread of the novel corona virus pandemic was having an economic toll on families that survived on doing menial jobs in and around the town – restrictions of movement which is part of the lockdown meant the shrinking of incomes for many families hence hunger. With the little she had, she decided to offer children something to eat every morning.

Unbeknown to her however, her work inspired many and soon, individuals and corporates began to donate food and money to help her continue her excellent humanitarian work. Nowadays thanks to the donations she receives from various individuals and corporates, Samantha is able to provide two meals per day (breakfast and supper) to children, the poor and the vulnerable. Her work has also inspired other individuals in different parts of the country to establish their own relief kitchen initiatives with the intention of helping the less fortunate in society during these troubling times. In the tourist town of Zimbabwe, officers from the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare in partnership with local municipality officers and members from the business community joined hands to launch the Victoria Falls Children’s Feeding Scheme. The Scheme has one aim which is to provide every child with a hot nutritious meal 5 days a week.

*Culled from December issue of PAV Magazine

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The African Development Bank appoints Mr. Simon MIZRAHI, Acting Director, Communication and External Relations (PCER)
December 18, 2020 | 0 Comments

The African Development Bank is pleased to announce the appointment of Mr. Simon MIZRAHI as Acting Director, Communication and External Relations Department (PCER), effective 16 December 2020.

Simon is a British national who joined the Bank on the 10th of May 2009, as Head of Results Management Division. Before joining the African Development Bank, he worked for the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), based in France, as Senior Policy Adviser, Aid Effectiveness Division (2001-2007) and as Deputy Head, Aid Effectiveness (2007-2009).

As Deputy Head at the OECD in charge of aid effectiveness, Simon authored the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and the Accra Agenda for Action—two landmark agreements adopted by 110 countries and organisations across the world. Prior to this, Simon worked as Director, International Development Consultancy Services (1996-2001) and as a Country Director for Médecins du Monde, Kigali (Rwanda) and Managua (Nicaragua), from 1994 to 1996.

Simon is a seasoned senior executive with more than twenty-five years’ experience delivering strategic leadership on development and development policies. He excels in fast-paced, high-pressure environments and executing complex operations in challenging settings around the world. He has extensive experience in leading policy work and has published on issues central to the development agenda with a strong emphasis on development impact, climate change and development effectiveness.

Simon is currently the Director for Delivery, Performance Management and Results. In this capacity he oversees the delivery of results on the Bank’s $10 billion annual investments across the African continent and engages with the Bank’s Board of Directors and donors on the full complexity of the Bank’s development challenges. In the course of his career, Simon has demonstrated a strong capacity for thought leadership, strategic decision-making and delivering bottom-line results.

He holds a Masters of Philosophy degree in Political Sciences and International Relations, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom (1991) and a Masters in Politics, Philosophy and Economy (PPE), Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris (Sciences-Po), France (1990).

Commenting on his appointment President Akinwumi Adesina said “I am pleased that Simon has stepped into this role to provide strong leadership and support for the Department until a substantive Director is appointed. He is known for delivering results and building effective partnerships and networks to effectively communicate and advance the work of the Bank”.

*AfDB

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How can Africa’s fashion entrepreneurs access finance to grow their businesses?
December 17, 2020 | 0 Comments

Enhancing access to finance for Africa’s fashion entrepreneurs is critical if the industry is to develop its full potential and tap global markets in a post-COVID-19 world. That was the topline  message at a Fashionomics Africa webinar hosted on 10 December by the African Development Bank and the HEVA Fund.

 

Roughly 150 fashion entrepreneurs and creative minds attended the fourth edition of the Fashionomics series, focused on finance. The discussion covered the challenges faced by fashion entrepreneurs, especially women and youth, in Africa’s creative industries.

 

Participants were also presented with opportunities to access finance from investment funds including the Alithea IDF Fund, for which the African Development Bank is an anchor investor; the Women’s Investment Club (WIC) Capital; the African ExportImport Bank; the State Bank of Mauritius; Thundafund and Senegalese clothing brand, SARAYAA.

 

Vanessa Moungar, Bank Director for Gender, Women and Civil Society said the ongoing pandemic has prompted adaptations and innovations to keep Africa’s $31 billion fashion industry thriving.

 

“The crisis provides an opportunity to set up targeted support mechanisms and develop new and innovative financial tools for the textile, apparel and accessories industry that will not only help the entrepreneurs make it through, but set the basis for them to grow their businesses going forward,” she said.

 

Evelyne Dioh Simpa, managing director at WIC Capital, which invests in businesses run by women in Francophone West Africa, stressed the importance of developing financial products and capacity building tailored to fashion entrepreneurs.

 

Safiétou Seck, founder and creative director of SARAYAA recently attracted $230,000 in investment from WIC Capital to expand operations and grow the brand.

 

“For me, banking was the best option to scale up my business. My advice would be: be patient, you are going to be rejected many times, but fashion is going to make you stick with it,” Seck said of trying to raise capital.

 

New solutions, including alternative financing channels, will be key for fashion entrepreneurs, said Matt Roberts-Davies, chief operating officer of Thundafund, South Africa’s leading online crowdfunding marketplace for creatives and innovators.

 

He encouraged entrepreneurs to be brave. “Put yourself out there and find the crowd of people that loves what you do,” he said.

 

Fashionomics Africa promotes investments in the textile and fashion sectors by leveraging data, information and communication technologies to drive development. The initiative also aims to increase entrepreneurs’ access to finance via traditional and non-traditional channels, while providing business skills to start-up founder and staff as well as to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.

 

The Fashionomics Africa webinar series is available for fashion entrepreneurs, digital enthusiasts and creative minds on the Fashionomics platform (available on both iOS and Android). To watch previous episodes, click here.

*AfDB

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Road users in Ghana see life-changing impact as Bank-funded jumbo road interchange partially opens
December 14, 2020 | 0 Comments

Pointing overhead to the imposing structure of concrete pillars and tiered, swirling highways, 63-year-old Ayorkor Baka, like many others, welcomes the new interchange, saying it will cut pedestrian fatalities on the road linking Accra and Nsawam.

The bridge, the first of its kind in West Africa, is a crucial link between the capital and the middle belt via Ghana’s second-largest city of Kumasi. Overall, the interchange is 87% complete, according to the site engineers. They have announced plans to gradually open the facility in phases until its full completion in March 2021.

Four years ago, Baka lost her 11-year-old granddaughter on the same stretch of road. The girl died from injuries three days after she was hit by a vehicle while crossing the highway.

“The sight of this new bridge gives me mixed feelings – but what matters to me most is that it has come to save lives. It is a significant means to ending the carnage on the road,” Baka said. The new interchange is designed to separate high-speed traffic from pedestrian road users and has footbridges for safe crossings.

Official records show that at least 15 people were killed and several others were injured on the stretch of highway in the last four years. In one incident, two people died instantly when an articulated truck rammed into seven other cars, causing a pile-up.

The African Development Fund, the concessional arm of the African Development Bank Group provided a $83.9 million loan for the construction of the four-tier Pokuase Interchange and other upgrading work, which began in March 2018 and is expected to be completed by the end of the first quarter of 2021.

On 25 November 2020, Ghana’s President Nana Akufo Addo partially opened the bridge to ease traffic congestion.

The works form part of the Accra Urban Transport Project (AUTP) approved by the Bank in 2016 to promote efficient and safe movement of goods and people in and out of Ghana’s capital city, boost trade along the connecting routes and improve the people’s livelihoods.

The project’s beneficiaries are local factories and agro-industries, transporters and travelers on the Accra-Kumasi road corridor, which is the main transit route for food produced in Ghana’s middle belt breadbasket to Accra.

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0624.JPG

The project, which aligns to the Bank’s High-5 priorities on regional integration and improving the quality of life for the people of Africa, forms part of the wider Ghana-Burkina Faso road corridor.

In addition to the interchange, the AUTP entails the construction of 10 km of roads, 5 km of storm drains, the relocation of electricity, water and telephone utilities, and facilities to safeguard the environment. The project also provides ICT equipment and training for 14 schools in the area and supports two women’s groups in using ICT to improve their microbusiness.

Like granny Baka, trucker Foster Adadevoh says the bridge and associated works will greatly impact livelihoods, not only in the local communities but also to the benefit of commuters and traders, especially women carting perishable foodstuffs from the forest belt to the capital.

“Motorists like me can now heave a sigh of relief…it’s also a great relief to my customers. Sometimes, we spend more than an hour in this part of the traffic,” said Adadevoh, who hauls crates of tomatoes from northern Ghana to the capital.

Such projects form an essential part of improving the lives of Africans. According to the Bank’s 2020 Annual Development Effectiveness Review, quality of life has gradually improved on the continent, in part as a result of Bank-funded projects, in particular access to infrastructure.

The report highlights the role that roads have played in communities. Around the Awoshi-Pokuase road, for example, 103,000 people gained access to a clean water source and monthly household spending increased by 10%. The 14 km road financed by the Bank was completed in 2016. The report cautions, however, that not all improvements in living conditions are directly attributed to Bank investments.

“In 2018, when we broke the ground for this project, we were talking about a concept, but today we are talking about a reality that will greatly impact on livelihoods,” Resident Engineer Kwabena Bempong said.

The African Development Bank’s portfolio in Ghana is valued at around $800 million since 2013, with around 40.4% of its funding supporting the country’s transport sector. Notable among the projects is the Kotoka International Airport Terminal 3, which opened to travelers in September 2018. Other sectors it supports are agriculture, at 31.7%; multi-sector at 10.6%; as well as power, water and sanitation and finance.

*AfDB

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African Development Bank’s Akinwumi Adesina, three others win Academy of Public Health’s 2020 top Distinguished Fellowship Award
December 14, 2020 | 0 Comments

The Academy of Public Health, the flagship body of the West African Institute of Public Health, has named African Development Bank Group President Akinwumi Adesina and three other eminent persons as winners of its 2020 Distinguished Fellowship Award.

Adesina, World Health Organisation (WHO)’s Tedros Ghebreyesus, Leith Greenslade of JustActions and Winnie Byanyima of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, were nominated by young public health professionals across Africa for their demonstrated leadership in working to ensure equity, better health and wellbeing for all.

The four have been recognized for their style of transformative leadership which inspires emerging young leaders in public health to strive to make a difference in their work, the Academy said in a statement at the weekend.

“Dr. Akinwumi Adesina of the African Development Bank was particularly recognized for his action leadership in quickly moving the AfDB to provide the financial bulwark to the African Union as well as some of its member states to help curb Africa’s COVID-19 pandemic. He was also noted for engendering thought leadership through the AfDB to shape actions in the COVID and post COVID era for Africa’s economies and health systems.”

The Distinguished Fellowship Award is the highest fellowship rank in the “Roll of Fellows “of the Academy, leading the Roll of Fellows for their exceptional leadership and service to humanity in making a difference in the lives of people and inspiring young leaders to also excel in their public health work.”

Ghebreyesus won for leading the WHO to provide an equity-focused COVID-19 response that leaves no one behind, including his approaches towards eliminating “vaccine nationalism” in the wake of the pandemic, while Greenslade was recognized for leading a global awareness on childhood pneumonia, leveraging on public-private and philanthropic partnerships.  Byanyima was chosen for her “unwavering” work to ensure that HIV/AIDS key populations impacted by COVID-19 are not forgotten.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a ceremony to honor the recipients will be held in 2021, the Academy said, adding that the recipients were being notified of their recognition and date for a virtual investiture.

“I am greatly honored to be selected to receive the Distinguished Fellowship of the West African Academy of Public Health together with Dr. Tedros, Winnie Byanyima and Leith Greenslade! Africa and the rest of the world will overcome this pandemic against all odds”, Adesina said.

The West African Institute of Public Health is the leading regional non-state health development organization working in enabling environment, professional training and education, research standards, consulting and advisory services. The Institute is a membership-based body that focuses on building a strong network of highly skilled and competent public health practitioners. It is also the keeper of the regional charter of public health.

*AfDB

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IRENA and African Development Bank Partner to Scale up Renewables Investments in Africa
December 9, 2020 | 0 Comments

“The Bank’s partnership with IRENA will support Africa’s energy transition and our goal to achieve universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy in Africa by 2030.” – Bank VP Kevin Kariuki

“This agreement represents the type of coordinated international cooperation that is the cornerstone of the realisation of sustainable development in Africa and the achievement of Paris Agreement goals.” –IRENA Director-General Francesco La Camera.

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 09 December 2020 – The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), and the African Development Bank (AfDB), have agreed to work closely together to advance the continent’s energy transition through joint initiatives that support investments in low-carbon energy projects.

Under the Declaration of Intent, the two entities confirmed their wish to collaborate on supporting the continent’s energy transition under a framework of core activities. These include co-organising renewable energy investment forums as part of IRENA’s contribution to the Climate Investment Platform, and collaboration on the Bank’s annual Africa Investment Forum. Furthermore, strong emphasis will be placed on concrete support for enhancing the role of renewable energy in Nationally Determined Contributions and sustainable development objectives.

The joint declaration was signed by Francesco La Camera, Director-General of IRENA, and Kevin Kanina Kariuki, Vice-President, Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth at the African Development Bank.

Mr. Kariuki said: “Driven by the aspiration to harness Africa’s huge renewable energy potential, the African Development Bank is today at the forefront of investing in renewable energy in Africa. The Bank’s partnership with IRENA will advance this aspiration and support Africa’s energy transition and our goal to achieve universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy in Africa by 2030.”

IRENA’s Global Renewables Outlook report, released earlier this year, revealed that sub-Saharan Africa could generate 67 per cent of its power from indigenous and clean renewable energy sources by 2030. Further analysis shows that the energy transition would boost GDP, improve welfare and stimulate up to 2 million additional green jobs in sub-Saharan Africa by 2050.

Mr. La Camera said: “The African continent has some of the most abundant renewable energy resources in the world and the potential to transform outcomes for millions of people through the accelerated deployment of a renewables-based energy system. Renewables will increase energy security, create green jobs, advance energy access, including clean cooking, and help build resilient African economies.

“This agreement represents the type of coordinated international cooperation that is the cornerstone of the realisation of sustainable development in Africa and the achievement of Paris Agreement goals,” he continued. “We will pursue an action-oriented agenda that puts African countries on a path to realising their full renewable energy potential.”

The declaration also provides for collaboration on the African Development Bank’s Desert to Power Initiative, which aims to mobilise public and private funding to install 10 GW of solar power by 2025 in 11 countries in the Sahel region of the African continent.

The two institutions will also engage in capacity building and knowledge exchange activities to reinforce joint efforts and cooperate on developing regional and national renewable energy case studies.

About the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)

IRENA is the lead intergovernmental agency for the energy transformation that supports countries in their transition to a sustainable energy future, and serves as the principal platform for international co-operation, a centre of excellence, and a repository of policy, technology, resource and financial knowledge on renewable energy. With 162 Members (161 States and the European Union) and 22 additional countries in the accession process and actively engaged, IRENA promotes the widespread adoption and sustainable use of all forms of renewable energy in the pursuit of sustainable development, energy access, energy security and low-carbon economic growth and prosperity.

*AfDB

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African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina inducted Honorary Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria.
December 5, 2020 | 0 Comments

Remarks of Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina, President of the African Development Bank, at the 2020 Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) Fellowship Investiture

Saturday December 5, 2020

Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina, President of the African Development Bank

Your Excellency, Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun State, Mr. Ernest Ebi, Chairman of the occasion, Mr. Bayo Olugbemi, FCIB, the President and Chairman of the Council of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, Mr. Seye Awojobi, FCIB, the Registrar of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, Mr. Kunle Elebute, Guest Speaker, Members of Council of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, Honorees, Investees, distinguished ladies and gentlemen.

Good afternoon to you all. What a great event, so extremely well organized. That’s the Nigerian gold standard!

It’s such a great honor to be here today, virtually, along with all my co-awardees, to be decorated with the emblems of admission and recognition as Honorary Fellows of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria.

I would like on behalf of all the awardees to express our deepest gratitude and appreciation to the President and Chairman of Council, Mr. Bayo Olugbemi, the Registrar and Chief Executive, Mr. ‘Seye Awojobi and the entire members of the Council of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, for this great recognition and honor you have bestowed on us. 

It is such a memorable occasion to be recognized as Honorary Fellows by such an eminent and revered institution, the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria.

I am very proud of each of my co-Honorees for your many years of leadership and distinguished contributions to the banking profession.

No one should ever work to be recognized. But when efforts and contributions are recognized, it inspires one to continue to work even harder.

Honorary awards are deposits of trust. They come with great responsibility. Responsibility to be exemplary, to work selflessly, and to be role models in the profession and for the society.

Today, as we are being honored, consider us as “security-backed assets”. Our integrity is our honor, and our honor is our security. 

We wish to express to the Council of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria our commitment to carry these awards with dignity, integrity and honor.

Leadership from each one of us is needed in these challenging times of the coronavirus pandemic.

So many lives have been lost. Economies have been devastated. Africa’s economic growth this year will decline by 3.4%. Globally, economies have gone into recession, as global trade, financial flows, investments, tourism and global supply chains have been disrupted. Millions of jobs have been lost. Consumer demand and business investments have declined. With huge fiscal stimulus packages, interest rates are at all-time lows.

These are tough times for Bankers.

Yet, we must be bold, resilient and weather the storm.

The African Development Bank launched a $10 billion crisis response facility to provide immediate liquidity for countries to meet urgent financing needs.

The Bank also launched a $3 billion fight COVID19 social bond on global capital markets, the largest US dollar denominated social bond ever in world history, which is now listed on the London Stock Exchange, Luxembourg stock exchange and on Nasdaq.

I am delighted that despite the very challenging times, the African Development Bank maintained its triple-A ratings, with stable outlook, by all major global credit rating agencies, Moody’s, Standard and Poor’s and Fitch Ratings.

The African Development Bank has maintained its stellar triple-A ratings for five years in a row since I was first elected President in 2015.

The African Development Bank also achieved an increase in its capital from $93 billion to $208 billion, the largest ever capital increase in the history of the Bank since its establishment in 1964.

The African Development Bank therefore stands ready to strongly support African countries, financial institutions and the private sector to accelerate Africa’s economic growth.

Times like this need audacious leadership.

Leadership that is able to navigate complexities and restore hope and confidence, to grow back, safer, healthier and with greater resilience.

That is the kind of leadership I see among the Honorary Fellows and Awardees and the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria.

Now, let us arise and collectively support Nigeria to recover and build back, stronger, better, with greater economic resilience. Let’s join hands and deliver greater prosperity and hope for Nigeria.  

For Nigeria to be at its best, it deserves the best from all of us.

As Honorary Fellows, we promise to continue to be beacons of hope, carrying with dignity the green and gold emblems of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria.

I wish to take this opportunity to wish you all a happy Christmas ahead and a prosperous and healthier New Year 2021.

Stay safe, stay well and stay healthy.

Once again, thank you very much. God bless you all.

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The African Development Bank launches $50 million facility to support energy access companies through and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic
December 5, 2020 | 0 Comments

Dr. Kevin Kariuki, African Development Bank’s Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank has approved a $20 million concessional investment from the Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA) to establish the COVID-19 Off-Grid Recovery Platform (CRP). The $50 million blended finance initiative, will provide relief and recovery capital to energy access businesses, supporting them through and beyond the pandemic.

The platform is anchored on a partnership with three specialized energy access fund managers selected through a competitive process: Triple Jump, Lion’s Head Global Partners, and Social Investment Managers and Advisors.  The $20 million concessional envelope will be blended with their own capital and instruments, leveraging $30-$40 million in complementary commercial funding and enabling more affordable debt products. Through these partners, the recovery platform will support energy access companies commercializing and deploying solar home systems, green mini-grids, clean cooking and other decentralized renewable energy solutions. 

“This initiative underlines the African Development Bank’s commitment to the accelerated growth of Africa’s decentralized energy industry, based on renewables, as a key driver for universal energy access goals,” said Dr. Kevin Kariuki, the African Development Bank’s Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth.

Joao Duarte Cunha, Division Manager for Renewable Energy at the African Development Bank, said the platform would fill a gap in the market.

“Understanding that time is of essence, this platform will enable the provision of tailored financial solutions by leveraging existing resources, expertise and infrastructure within the sector,” he said. In addition to providing immediate relief and recovery support, the platform will lay the foundation for a green and inclusive economic recovery post-pandemic.

“We are pleased to be selected to co-manage the COVID-19 Off-Grid Recovery Platform, which will be blended with funding from the Energy Entrepreneurs Growth Fund. The combination of funding and operational support will stabilize businesses and allow for continued investments during the COVID-19 crisis, mitigating the impact of the pandemic on energy access companies and set a sustainable trajectory for growth,” said Jan-Henrik Kuhlmann, Head of Sustainable Energy at Triple Jump.

Reflecting on the potential impact of the capital provided, Asad Mahmood, CEO and Managing Partner of Social Investment Managers and Advisors, said: “CRP is a much-needed and appreciated innovative effort of the Bank to use multiple fund managers to assist with liquidity needs of good energy businesses in Africa, currently affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The relief and recovery capital will support businesses in mitigating the impacts of the pandemic and ensuring a robust commercial recovery of the industry, and has been endorsed by leading industry associations, including the Alliance for Rural Electrification (ARE), Africa Mini-Grid Developers Association (AMDA) and the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association (GOGLA).

“The Bank’s new instrument is a game changer that will sustain and strengthen the African energy access sector. The platform’s innovative co-investment structure allows fund managers like Lion’s Head to focus on what we do best – mobilizing and deploying human and financial capital to unlock sustainable power for vulnerable communities while targeting critical post-pandemic issues such as local currency funding in a period of high uncertainty and volatility,” said Harry Guinness, Managing Director of the Off-Grid Energy Access Fund, part of the wider Facility for Energy Inclusion.

The Board approval was granted on 1 December.

About SEFA: SEFA is an AfDB-managed special fund providing catalytic finance for renewable energy. SEFA’s overarching goal is to contribute to universal access to affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy services for all in Africa, in line with the Bank’s New Deal on Energy for Africa and Sustainable Development Goal 7. SEFA was established in 2011 in partnership with the Government of Denmark and has since received contributions from the Governments of United StatesUnited KingdomItalyNorwaySpain, and Sweden(Nordic Development Fund and Germany. SEFA is housed in the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Department (PERN) under the Power, Energy, Climate, and Green Growth (PEVP) complex.

*AfDB

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COVID-19 pandemic offers African aviation a chance to reset
December 5, 2020 | 0 Comments

  • The air transport system is really at the forefront of all our collective objectives to realize Africa as a single economic bloc – VP Solomon Quaynor
  • Nearly 5 million of Africa’s 7 million aviation and tourism industry-related jobs have been lost in 2020

Africa’s aviation industry represents a huge market that the continent’s airlines need to exploit more fully, with technology and AI offering the way forward for expansion, regional development experts said Thursday.

“Technology and smart technologies are offering this fantastic opportunity, so let’s make use of AI, let’s make use of the Internet of Things, let’s capacitate our people to revamp and to rethink our industry, to make sure that both our airports and our airlines cater for the very near future,”  said Dr. Amani Abou Zeid, African Union Commission for Infrastructure and Energy, during the opening session of a virtual workshop.

The workshop, held on 3 December, was organized by the African Development Bank under the theme, African Aviation Recovery Conference: coordinating an efficient response to the COVID-19 crisis’s effects on the Aviation sector in Africa.

Discussions touched on a number of challenges, including the urgent need of African airlines for government-supported loans, and other financial assistance in the short term, as well as the imperative to ensure that public health is a factor in efforts to build the sector back better and more competitively. 

Dr. Fang Liu, Secretary General of the International Civil Aviation Organization, the Nigerian Government’s Minister for Aviation Hadi Sirika and the Bank’s Vice President for Infrastructure, Industrialization and Private Sector, Solomon Quaynor, also made statements.

Sirika called on African governments to embrace full liberalisation of the aviation sector, invoking the Yamoussoukro Decision, which established an arrangement for the gradual liberalization of intra-Africa air transport services. “Nigeria today has all its bilateral air service agreements with the YD and was also among the first ten countries that signed a commitment to implement the Single African Air Transport Market,” he said   SAATM, a mechanism of the Yamoussoukro Decision, is an African Union flagship project to create a single unified air transport market in Africa that will advance the continent’s economic integration agenda.   

Quaynor emphasised the centrality of the aviation sector to Africa’s long-term goals by referencing three flagship projects of the AU’s Agenda 2063 that aim to advance open skies and closer connectivity: SAATM, The African Continental Free Trade Area, and the African Passport-Free movement of people.

“The air transport system is really at the forefront of all our collective objectives to realize Africa as a single economic bloc of 1.3 billion people with a GDP of almost 3 trillion dollars, for which we want to begin to really focus and increase trade among ourselves, as well as investment.”

The conference took the form of four sessions discussing the priority needs of airlines and airports aviation services companies, as well as needed policy actions and strengthening the sector’s access to finance. 

In a presentation, the Bank Director’s for Infrastructure and Urban Development, Amadou Oumarou, made clear that the sector had been ailing even prior to the onset of the pandemic, plagued by market restrictions and high prices, as well as a poor record of safety and security. Of the 200 airlines the EU had blacklisted in 2016, over 50% were African.  

The pandemic’s aviation effects, while felt worldwide, have been sharpest in Africa, Oumarou said, a claim that was backed up by numerous panelists.  Nearly 5 million of the continent’s 7 million aviation and tourism industry-related jobs have been lost in 2020, in addition to as much as $15 billion in revenue, half of this to African airlines.

The wide-ranging discussions touched on whether African airlines needed to consolidate to be viable, and offered numerous recommendations and solutions. These included adopting aircraft leasing and other innovative practices to cut costs and build efficiencies, strengthening freight operations, which have been less hard  hit than passenger traffic, and seizing direct opportunities presented by the imminent need to distribute COVID-19 vaccines across Africa. 

Underpinning much of the discussion was the need to make public health and security a central element of the post COVID-19 recovery, as a path to restoring confidence.

A key takeaway was the urgent need for coordinated action among the sector’s actors, including governments, aviation authorities and multilateral stakeholders such as the Bank.

“The time is now. All of us who have really been working on upstream issues such as SAATM, the World Bank, ourselves, the AU and others, now is the time to really pool our advocacy and resources to make this happen once and for all because if we continue to operate as a federation of 54 states as opposed to an integrated market, our economies will continue to be sub-optimal,” said Quaynor.

*AfDB

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Ten years after the inaugural Development Effectiveness Review, the African Development Bank is once more shepherding African economies through a global crisis
December 5, 2020 | 0 Comments

“We should be in no doubt that Africa faces its gravest threat in many years, and that national health and social protection systems will be severely tested.” Akinwumi Adesina.

The COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed health and economic crises across the world, including in Africa, undoing decades of economic growth and human development. Post-pandemic, comes the challenge of recovery and reviving growth.

The African Development Bank’ s 2020 edition of its Annual Development Effectiveness Review,   (ADER) marks ten years since the report was first published to assess the institution’s and Africa’s progress. The report, which evaluates the Bank’s impact in 2019 in meeting strategic and cross-cutting objectives and on strengthening development impact, is even more relevant as one looks at the COVID-19 era challenges.

The current edition, released on 19  November, assesses the Bank’s progress on achieving each of its High 5 strategic priorities: Light Up and Power Africa, Feed Africa, Industrialize Africa, Integrate Africa, and Improve the Quality of Life for the People of Africa.

Although much has changed in the last decade, one thing remains the same: the Bank remains at the forefront in guiding Africa’s economies in times of both progress and crisis.

As African Development Bank president Akinwumi Adesina notes in the 2020 report’s foreword: “We should be in no doubt that Africa faces its gravest threat in many years, and that national health and social protection systems will be severely tested.”

The inaugural ADER was released in 2011—covering the previous year—just as  regional member countries were emerging from the 2008 global financial crisis, which halted the continent’s impressive run of growth.  “With a collective GDP of $1.6 trillion, Africa looked on the verge of sustained economic take-off,” the executive summary noted. “Then came the global financial crisis, which reduced Africa’s growth to 3% in 2009 and set the continent back significantly. We acted swiftly to help African countries limit the effects of the global financial crisis.” In terms of the Bank’s impact and operations, the inaugural edition concluded, “Overall, over three quarters of our projects reached or surpassed their expected outputs,” noting there was room to improve.

Throughout the decade, the Bank continued to notch milestones in its operations. By 2012, its disbursement ratio stood at 22%– a significant improvement on the previous two years. Also at that time, 65% of new Bank projects were climate-proofed, a significant emerging priority for the institution.

ADER 2016 marked the first release of the report under the leadership of Adesina, and the introduction of the High 5 priorities as a benchmark for the Bank’s success while maintaining indicators from the earlier reports. The report also marked a shift toward greater decentralization of Bank operations to increase responsiveness to the needs of regional member countries. In 2015,the Bank exceeded its target of achieving a satisfactory rating on 78% of completed operations, hitting 83%.  Further, 90% of completed operations had sustainable outcomes in that year, also beating expectations.

In the foreword to the 10th edition, Adesina notes the continent “has advanced steadily along the path towards a brighter future. Its progress has been driven by Africans’ determination to fulfil their potential as productive members of society and to forge better lives for themselves and their families, supported by continuing improvements in public services and infrastructure.”

Over the past years, the institution has posted strong progress toward meeting High-5 goals.  For example, in the 2015-2019 period, 20 million people gained access to electricity, while 74 million people benefited from improvements in agriculture and 69 million people gained better access to transport.  

The backdrop to these strong results is of course the continuing pandemic.  As the 2020 report notes, “despite… the expectation that 2020 would be another year of growth, the COVID-19 pandemic will put many of Africa’s recent development gains at risk.” GDP might decline by as much as 3.4%, as a result of sharply reduced trade, tourism and remittances as well as lower prices for commodities.

The Bank’s swift response, setting up a COVID-19 response facility worth up to $10 billion has helped cushion some of the economic and health impacts.

The road to recovery is expected to be long and difficult but the Bank remains in a position to help Africa build back better and smarter, and at the same time to continue to strengthen its own operations.

*AfDB

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African Development Bank receives coveted Stevie Award during virtual ceremony
December 5, 2020 | 0 Comments

The African Development Bank has taken home two coveted prizes at the 17th Annual International Business Awards in recognition of the institution’s 2019 Annual Report.

The Bank was awarded gold in the Best Annual Report Among Non-Profit Organizations category at a virtual event which aired on 1 December. A video produced to support the report took third place in the Video – Non-Profit Public Relations category.

“It is remarkable that the African Development Bank is being recognized with a gold first prize for the Bank Group’s Annual Report 2019, and bronze in the video category,” Hanan Morsy, the Bank’s Director of Macroeconomic Policy, Forecasting and Research, said in an acceptance speech. “Special gratitude goes to all the Bank’s entities, management and Board. It’s our collective efforts that led to this important recognition.”

Described as the “Oscars of international business,” the International Business Awards— also known as the Stevie Awards— celebrates excellence in business worldwide. IBA awards first, second and third place prizes in categories relating to business management, marketing, public relations, human resources, new product development, applications and events.

“Well done – a good report about African Development Bank and its strategies,” one judge wrote in his evaluation.

“The African Development Bank has produced a high quality, visually engaging, and informative Annual Report video,” another judge commented. “I admire the move to use video for the annual report, which is forward looking.”

Other 2020 IBA winners include IBM, which won a silver prize in the Company of the Year-Computer Services (Large) category. Eker Dairy Products, a smaller firm based in Turkey, took a gold prize in the Corporate Social Responsibility category.

The International Business Awards is the only global all-encompassing business awards ceremony. This year, more than 3,800 nominations from more than 60 nations were submitted for judging by hundreds of professionals across the globe. The 2020 edition also included COVID-19 response categories to recognize organizations and individuals that have provided much needed support services during the pandemic.

“On behalf of the Bank’s management, I am pleased to receive these two prestigious Stevie International Awards,” Morsy said. “Together, we look forward, not only for a better annual report next year and many years to come, but more importantly, to an inclusive and sustainable development for all Africans.”

*AfDB

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Development Evaluation Week: African Development Bank marks 40 years of evaluating progress as experts mull SDGs and COVID-19
December 5, 2020 | 0 Comments
Ambrose Rwaheru Aheisibwe, SDGs Advisor, Monitoring and Evaluation at the Sustainable Development Goals Center for Africa
Ambrose Rwaheru Aheisibwe, SDGs Advisor, Monitoring and Evaluation at the Sustainable Development Goals Center for Africa

Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, 3 December 2020 – The African Development Bank celebrated 40 years of evaluating its development efforts, taking the opportunity to reflect on the challenges around monitoring and evaluating progress in the SDGs.

The discussions marked Evaluation Week, a biennial event on development evaluation hosted by the Independent Development Evaluation unit at the Bank on Wednesday. The event brings together the Bank’s shareholders, management and staff, government policy and decision makers, as well as development partners, civil society and other experts.

This year’s theme is From Learning to Transformational Change in Africa: Accelerating Africa’s delivery of the Sustainable Development Goals in the Decade of Action. The first day focused on the challenges to obtaining accurate data on African countries’ progress towards the SDGs and its value.

Pascal Byarugaba, Monitoring & Evaluation Specialist at the SDG Secretariat in the Office of the Prime Minister of Uganda, and Margaret Kakande,Head of the Budget Monitoring and Accountability Unit at the Ugandan Finance Ministry, presented Uganda as a model of African countries learning from measuring SDG progress.

“One of the key achievements in fostering institutionalization of the SDGs has been the identification of baselines for 140 indicators,” Kakande said.

In 2015, Uganda became one of the first countries to integrate the SDGs in its National Development Plan, according to the UN. The East African nation ranked 19th out of 52 African countries on the 2020 SDGs Index. The SDG report praises Uganda’s “commitment to institutionalize governance mechanisms at the national level to promote awareness, bureaucracies’ capacities, and preparedness for the implementation of both Agendas 2030 and 2063.”

Stefano D’Errico, Head of Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning at the International Institute for Environment and Development, noted that Uganda was a role model for how to adapt SDG indicators to the local context.

“For example, SDGs indicators are now being localized to have monitoring and reporting at district level,” Byarugaba said.

Momar Kouta and Rafik Mahjoubi of the African Development Bank Statistics Department presented the Bank’s SDG tracking portal, a data dissemination and reporting system that is available on-demand to all 54 African member countries of the Bank, as well as regional and sub-regional organizations, central banks, ministries of finance and other ministries.

Ambrose Rwaheru Aheisibwe, SDGs Advisor, Monitoring and Evaluation at the Sustainable Development Goals Center for Africa, said the COVID-19 crisis has aggravated regional and continental data inequalities because traditional means of data collection are no longer possible.

*AFDB

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Ten years after the inaugural Development Effectiveness Review, The African Development Bank is once more shepherding African economies through a global crisis
December 1, 2020 | 0 Comments

We should be in no doubt that Africa faces its gravest threat in many years, and that national health and social protection systems will be severely tested.” Akinwumi Adesina

The COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed health and economic crises across the world, including in Africa, undoing decades of economic growth and human development. Post-pandemic, comes the challenge of recovery and reviving growth.

The African Development Bank’ s 2020 edition of its Annual Development Effectiveness Review, (ADER) marks ten years since the report was first published to assess the institution’s and Africa’s progress. The report, which evaluates the Bank’s impact in 2019 in meeting strategic and cross-cutting objectives and on strengthening development impact, is even more relevant as one looks at the COVID-19 era challenges.

The current edition, released on 19  November, assesses the Bank’s progress on achieving each of its High 5 strategic priorities: Light Up and Power Africa, Feed Africa, Industrialize Africa, Integrate Africa, and Improve the Quality of Life for the People of Africa.

Although much has changed in the last decade, one thing remains the same: the Bank remains at the forefront in guiding Africa’s economies in times of both progress and crisis.

As African Development Bank president Akinwumi Adesina notes in the 2020 report’s foreword: “We should be in no doubt that Africa faces its gravest threat in many years, and that national health and social protection systems will be severely tested.”

The inaugural ADER was released in 2011—covering the previous year—just as  regional member countries were emerging from the 2008 global financial crisis, which halted the continent’s impressive run of growth.  “With a collective GDP of $1.6 trillion, Africa looked on the verge of sustained economic take-off,” the executive summary noted. “Then came the global financial crisis, which reduced Africa’s growth to 3% in 2009 and set the continent back significantly. We acted swiftly to help African countries limit the effects of the global financial crisis.” In terms of the Bank’s impact and operations, the inaugural edition concluded, “Overall, over three quarters of our projects reached or surpassed their expected outputs,” noting there was room to improve.

Throughout the decade, the Bank continued to notch milestones in its operations. By 2012, its disbursement ratio stood at 22%– a significant improvement on the previous two years. Also at that time, 65% of new Bank projects were climate-proofed, a significant emerging priority for the institution.

ADER 2016 marked the first release of the report under the leadership of Adesina, and the introduction of the High 5 priorities as a benchmark for the Bank’s success while maintaining indicators from the earlier reports. The report also marked a shift toward greater decentralization of Bank operations to increase responsiveness to the needs of regional member countries. In 2015,the Bank exceeded its target of achieving a satisfactory rating on 78% of completed operations, hitting 83%.  Further, Ninety percent of completed operations had sustainable outcomes in that year, also beating expectations.

In the foreword to the 10th edition, Adesina notes the continent “has advanced steadily along the path towards a brighter future. Its progress has been driven by Africans’ determination to fulfil their potential as productive members of society and to forge better lives for themselves and their families, supported by continuing improvements in public services and infrastructure.”

Over the past years, the institution has posted strong progress toward meeting High-5 goals.  For example, in the 2015-2019 period, 20 million people gained access to electricity, while 74 million people benefited from improvements in agriculture and 69 million people gained better access to transport. 

The backdrop to these strong results is of course the continuing pandemic.  As the 2020 report notes, “despite… the expectation that 2020 would be another year of growth, the COVID-19 pandemic will put many of Africa’s recent development gains at risk.” GDP might decline by as much as 3.4%, as a result of sharply reduced trade, tourism and remittances as well as lower prices for commodities.

The Bank’s swift response, setting up a COVID-19 response facility worth up to $10 billion has helped cushion some of the economic and health impacts.

The road to recovery is expected to be long and difficult but the Bank remains in a position to help Africa build back better and smarter, and at the same time to continue to strengthen its own operations.

*AfDB

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“It brings us hope”: African Development Bank leads drive to deliver electricity to all
December 1, 2020 | 0 Comments

Kindergarten teacher Fatima Zahera Hagou recalls that just a generation ago, when the sun went down over the Moroccon countryside, her rural village of Dar Laain ground to a halt and locals bedded down for the night.

Nowadays, Dar Laain, about 25km southwest of Marrakech, booms with life after dark, thanks to the expansion of the electricity grid. Residents have benefited from youth clubs, a communal bathhouse and a busy women’s farming collective.

“I cannot imagine life in the village without electricity,” said Hagou. “It brings us hope.”

Given its importance to economic activity, quality of life and service delivery, energy is a cornerstone of the African Development Bank’s development strategy for the continent through its Light Up and Power Africa High-5 priority.

With other development finance institutions, the Bank plays a critical role in financing electricity projects.

Bank operations helped to install 291 MW of new power capacity in 2019, 60% of which was renewable, according to the institution’s Annual Development Effectiveness Review (ADER) 2020, published on November 19. The Bank also installed or improved 435 km of power distribution lines and supplied 468,000 people with new electricity connections.

One of those people is Araya Hizkias, the owner of a water bottling company in South Sudan’s capital Juba. He used to rely on a diesel generator to keep his business going, which gobbled into his profits each month.

In November 2019 the city’s new power grid was partially commissioned under the Bank’s $38 million Juba Power Distribution System Rehabilitation and Expansion Project, which aims to boost security and economic activity in a city still recovering from conflict.

“We don’t experience random damage to our machines anymore and things are working easier. We are making more savings and expanding production,” Hizkias said.

Despite these positive strides, access to electricity on the continent is still low, at 45%. The Covid-19 pandemic may further constrain the pace of expanding electricity access to millions of Africans not connected.

A key element of the Bank’s work to address energy shortages includes expanding investments in renewable energy. The Bank recently approved a new solar project in Sudan and new hydropower projects in Liberia and Madagascar.

In Chad, a Bank loan approved last year kickstarted the first phase of the 32 MW Djermaya solar project. The loan also covered a Partial Risk Guarantee, key to unlocking investment in the Central African country, which has enormous solar potential but currently depends heavily on polluting wood fuels.

The guarantee is an example of the Bank’s efforts to bridge the financing gap and leverage public and private sector investment to meet the continent’s energy demand. The International Energy Agency estimates that achieving reliable electricity supply in Africa would require a quadrupling of investments to around $120 billion annually through 2040.(link is external)

Achieving this will require innovation and partnerships that allow energy sector players to move faster to assure sustainable energy access even in remote or rural parts of Africa.

One solution is to decentralise energy networks. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the African Development Bank Board last year approved a loan of $20 million to support renewable-based, mini-grid solutions in the off-grid cities of Isiro, Bumba and Genema.

Someday, DRC and many other countries could be like Morocco, where the power grid now reaches most citizens, with some 40,000 new villages hooked up in the last two decades.

“Since I’ve had access to electricity, my business has grown. I can now afford to work on my art and expand my clientele,” said Mohamed Dakni, a 32-year-old welder in the village of Douar Bou Azza near Marrakech.

“I used to make small objects that I sold for a cheap price at the market. Today I can develop my business, my creativity, and make a better living.”

*AFDB

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African Development Bank Invests in Pioneering SPARK+ Africa Fund to Deliver Clean Cooking Solutions
December 1, 2020 | 0 Comments
The Bank’s investment, which will come from its Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA), is expected to enable the participation of other interested investors.

The African Development Bank’s Board of Directors has approved a $5 million investment in the SPARK+ Africa Fund to deliver clean cooking solutions to over two million households across Africa.

The European Commission will contribute an additional €10 million. The Bank’s investment, which will come from its Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa (SEFA), is expected to enable the participation of other interested investors. As an anchor investor, the Bank will channel first-loss equity from SEFA and the European Commission thematic blending facility.

In addition to delivering clean cooking technologies, the investment is expected to reduce carbon emissions by 15.9 Mt of CO2 equivalent, by cutting emissions from the use of inefficient stoves and open fires and forest degradation for wood fuel.

Switching to cleaner cookstoves reduces exposure to harmful cooking smoke and the time spent collecting firewood, a burden that falls disproportionately on women.

“By investing in the rollout of clean cooking solutions to millions of households, the Bank is also contributing to women’s empowerment, employment creation and reduced deforestation associated with charcoal production,” said Dr. Kevin Kariuki, African Development Bank Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth.

The investment complements the Bank’s wider efforts to address the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, he said: “Positive health impacts from the reduction of household in-door air pollution also contributes to resilience toward diseases attacking respiratory systems such as COVID-19.”

Dymphna van der Lans, Chief Executive Officer of the Clean Cooking Alliance said: “The Clean Cooking Alliance is very pleased to have collaborated with Enabling Qapital, the African Development Bank, and the European Commission to develop this ground-breaking investment facility. We believe the SPARK+ Africa Fund will have a tremendous impact in the market and accelerate clean cooking sector growth to positively impact the lives of millions of people in the years to come.”

Xavier Pierluca, Managing Partner of Enabling Qapital stated: “We have designed the SPARK+ Africa Fund to take an ecosystem approach to further the outreach of quality solutions to low-income communities by offering tailored investment instruments throughout the value chain from design and manufacturing companies to last-mile distributors.”

SPARK+ Africa is a pioneering impact investment fund launched by Enabling Qapital and the Clean Cooking Alliance to channel debt and equity financing to enterprises that manufacture, distribute and finance clean cooking solutions across Sub-Saharan Africa. The Fund targets a capitalization of $50-70 million.

The scale of the challenge of widening access to clean cooking in Africa remains daunting, in part because much needed investment has been hindered by high perceived risks and, in many cases, a return profile insufficient to attract commercial investment. The SPARK+ Africa Fund is a direct response to this challenge and is a key component of the AfDB’s response to the clean cooking challenge. The investment in the Fund’s first-loss tranche will directly address a critical financing gap and enable the participation of other interested financiers.

The Clean Cooking Alliance works with a global network of partners to make clean cooking accessible to the three billion people who live each day without it. Enabling Qapital Ltd. is an impact investment advisory company with a track record in advancing financial inclusion and access to energy.

SEFA is a multi-donor special fund administered by the African Development Bank and anchored by the Governments of Denmark, the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy, Norway, Sweden and Spain ─ to support Renewable Energy (RE) and Energy Efficiency (EE) projects in Africa.

The approval was made on November 24, 2020.

*AfDB
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Tanzania: African Development Bank approves $120 million loan to build Malagarasi Hydropower Project
November 27, 2020 | 0 Comments

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank have approved a $120 million loan to fund the construction of a 50 MW hydropower plant in Western Tanzania that will provide reliable renewable energy to households, schools, clinics and small and medium-sized enterprises in the Kigoma Region.

The Malagarasi Hydropower project has several components: a run-of-the-river hydropower plant facility; a 54- km, 132 kV transmission line that will connect to Tanzania’s national grid; a distribution network expansion operation that includes rural electrification and last-mile connections; project management and contract administration support; and compensation and resettlement of affected persons.

Bank President Adesina Akinwumi noted that the approval of the project “is a reflection of the Bank’s commitment to assist the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania to accelerate its transition to more inclusive and sustainable growth through the production of clean, reliable and affordable electricity.”

The project’s overall project cost is estimated at $144.14 million.  The bulk of the funding ($120 million) will be sourced from the Bank Group’s sovereign window, with an additional $20 million contributed by the Africa Growing Together Fund –  a co-financing fund with resources from the government of the People’s Republic of China that is administered by the Bank. The Government of Tanzania will provide the remaining $4.14 million.

The hydropower plant’s expected average annual output of 181 GWh will meet the electricity needs of as many as 133,649 Kigoma households, bringing the region’s electrification rate more closely in line with the rest of the country.

The project is expected to create about 700 jobs during construction, cut the region’s electricity generation costs to approximately $0.04/kWh from the current $0.33/kWh, and also reduce reliance on greenhouse gas-emitting fossil fuels. The cost of doing business will also fall because industry will no longer need to maintain costly back-up generators.

The project aligns with Tanzania’s national Development Vision 2025 and its Second Five-Year Development Plan (2016/17 – 2020/21) and complements other regional initiatives, including the North West Grid 400 kV Nyakanazi-Kigoma transmission line project, which the Bank is financing in parallel with the South Korea Economic Development Co-operation Fund.

The Malagarasi Project will also directly contribute to the Bank’s Light Up & Power Africa High-5 development priority, which is being implemented through the institution’s New Deal on Energy for Africa strategy. 

Commenting on the Board’s approval, Henry Batchi Baldeh, Director of the Bank’s Power Systems Development Department noted that the project is “one of the flagship physical infrastructure investments in the Government of the Tanzania’s Development Vision 2025 and Tanzania’s current Five-Year Development Plan, and that it will increase the share of renewable energy in Tanzania’s energy mix.”

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Put small-scale traders at the heart of efforts to accelerate trade and investment in Africa post COVID-19
November 27, 2020 | 0 Comments

The AfCFTA will not in one dramatic swoop alter existing commercial and economic realities on a vast scale, but its implementation could lead the recovery efforts from the COVID-19 crisis – Solomon Quaynor, VP African Development Bank

Industry experts meeting this week for a virtual discussion focused on resetting, retooling and restarting regional integration in Africa in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, underscored the importance of putting small scale traders at the heart of any initiatives.

The joint webinar, organized on Tuesday by  the African Development Bank and Korea Customs Service(KCS), looked at service sectors, e-commerce, digital platforms and value chain development as critical factors for accelerating trade and investment in Africa against the backdrop of the global pandemic. The webinar was delivered in three sessions, moderated by Stephen Karangizi, Director, African Legal Support Facility; Dr. Stephen Karingi, Director at Regional Integration and Trade Division of UNECA and Acha Leke, Senior Partner at McKinsey

History has demonstrated the success of countries and businesses that seize new opportunities during times of crisis, said Sukhwan Roh, Commissioner of the Korea Customs Service. “The COVID-19 pandemic has completely changed health and livelihoods of individuals across  the world in less than a year,” he said. “Korea wishes to share all the achievements in system enhancement utilizing new technologies with African countries.”

The workshop’s audience heard how regional integration is increasingly central to the continent’s future economic prospects and to attracting foreign direct investment. The African Continental Free Trade Agreement, (AfCFTA),  already ratified by 30 countries, is expected to come into effect on 1 January, 2021. Uniting all 55 member states of the African Union, the pact will create a market of more than 1.2 billion people, including a growing middle class, and a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of over $3.4 trillion

COVID-19 has deepened pre-existing trade frictions within the continent yet offers  important growth  opportunities and great stories of innovation and highlights the importance of protecting Africa’s place in local value chains, said Anabel Gonzalez, Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute for International Economics, with the need to “put small scale traders at the heart of the effort.”  She urged governments to strengthen national agencies to provide support to small traders.

“AfCFTA creates a new trade and integration reality…integrating unequal partners across the continent,” said Trudi Hartzenberg Executive Director of the Trade Law Center (TRALAC). Trade facilitation  enjoys specific focus within the AfCFTA, with digital, e-payments, and e-commerce particularly important, she added, citing a 2020 WTO report that emphasized education and healthcare as fundamental to industrialization.

From the outset, the African Development Bank has lent strong support to the AfCFTA, financing the set-up of its secretariat as well as supporting  member countries with technical assistance to  comply with  a range of AfCFTA regulations, said Bank Vice President, Infrastructure, Private Sector & Industrialization, Solomon Quaynor in his introductory remarks read by Abdu Mukhtar, Bank Director, Industrial and Trade Development Department.

Still, Quaynor warned, post-crisis recovery efforts are likely to be slow.  “The AfCFTA will not in one dramatic swoop alter existing commercial and economic realities on a vast scale. However, through strategic measures and the right investments, policy frameworks and political backing, intra-African trade will be enhanced.“

African countries innovate to enhance local value chains

Presentations provided examples from Ghana and Zambia of strategies the private sector can adopt to leverage the AfCFTA within the context of the pandemic.

Ghana previously imported most of its Personal Protective Equipment or PPE, but, since the pandemic, the government galvanized 14 local garment firms to manufacture PPE. These firms now produce 1,000 items daily,  according to Ghana’s deputy trade minister, Robert Ahomka Lindsay. The development has created 10,000 jobs.

“ Traditional value chains have been challenged… it made us realise that we cannot rely on those value chains,” Lindsay said.

Some of the worst-affected sectors in Africa such as tourism, aviation and education, had shown resilience, for example, in the food industry, which harnessed e-commerce for marketing during the pandemic, noted Kenneth Baghamunda, Dir. General, Customs and Trade, East African Community Secretariat. Zambia’s success with cashless payment solutions at its border and other innovations since COVID-19 was another example of favourable results.

“We need to see which value chains need to be developed and we need to interconnect our policies with the right institutional framework,” he said.

*AfDB

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Youssou N’Dour, Graca Machel, Akinwumi Adesina discuss building back better after COVID-19 at Civil Society Forum
November 26, 2020 | 0 Comments

  • Harness civil society’s “incredible potential to accelerate social change at scale” – Graça Machel
  • “Africa’s time is now. This should not only be words or prayers. It is within reach. I’m sure (the African Development Bank) will be able to meet this challenge” – Youssou N’Dour
  • “We will work much harder, collectively and in unison, to accelerate the impact of our work” – Akinwumi Adesina

Artists should be on the frontline of Africa’s development, given their pivotal role as communicators, Youssou N’Dour, musician, businessman and former Culture and Tourism Minister of Senegal, said at the opening of the 2020 African Development Bank Civil Society Forum.

The two-day CSO Forum kicked off on Thursday under the theme “Engaging Civil Society in building back better after COVID-19”.

The virtual event opened with remarks from senior Bank officials, including Wambui Gichuri, Acting Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Vanessa Moungar, Director for Gender, Women and Civil Society, and President Akinwumi Adesina, with Graça Machel, Chair of the Graça Machel Trust, representing the civil society.

Adesina later engaged in a conversation with Machel and N’Dour.

“The role of civil society in monitoring interventions is crucial and important to ensure they are effectively deployed to reach the poor and vulnerable, who are most affected,” Adesina said, adding that the Bank would step up its efforts in the area.

Adesina said the critical issue was not the amount of funds that are provided by the Bank and others, but who they reach, adding that transparency and accountability are also critical.

Machel noted the Bank’s strong track record of working with governments and the private sector. She appealed for increased Bank funding to directly support civil society efforts to address the impact of the pandemic on the most vulnerable and hard-to-reach families in our societies.

“These organisations stepped up, often with limited resources and in very dangerous conditions, to save lives and restore dignity to communities in the midst of this pandemic,” she said. “Resources for organisations working with women, children and those living with disabilities and in the rural areas are desperately needed.”

Machel noted that channeling resources to strengthen the civil society sector as it responds to the challenges that COVID-19 has unearthed, would harness their “incredible potential to accelerate social change at scale”. Supporting women in particular would help to reap long-term dividends, she said.

For N’Dour, artists should be on the frontline of Africa’s development, given their pivotal role as communicators.

“Even in a place where there is oil, if there is no culture to explain this to the people, there is war…We should be able to say after (President Adesina’s) term that culture has been involved in the development of Africa,” he said, speaking in French via an interpreter.

“Culture is profitable and I’m available to provide my assistance, to work with my staff to create other champions in Africa, to take the African Development Bank’s work to another level,” N’Dour said.

The forum will explore cost-effective strategies and reflect on best practices to enhance collaboration between the Bank and civil society, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The second day of the forum will be dedicated to sessions led by civil society organizations, which will provide a space to develop innovative grassroots ideas.

*AfDB

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AfDB to set up pan-African Private Equity Fund for Agriculture
November 26, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Jorge Joaquim

AFDB President Dr Akinwumi Adesina places great importance on agriculture

The African Development Bank is currently working with other partners to design a pan-African Private Equity Fund for Agriculture, FAFINA, the AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina revealed on Tuesday.

FAFINA – Fund for Agricultural Finance in Africa, should help African agricultural systems to become modern, integrated, and well-supported to achieve production and processing of food and agricultural products, and farm inputs, at scale.

Talking on Tuesday when he presented the keynote address during a virtual ceremony to mark the 10th Anniversary of the Sahel Capital, Adesina  said Africa should end being a supplier of raw materials by developing competitive national and regional agricultural value chains.

“Experiences from Sahel Capital on the FAFIN Fund will help as we now scale up interventions to support small and medium sized food and agribusiness companies across Africa,” he adding that agriculture is Africa’s number one comparative advantage and that transforming agriculture is the fastest way to create wealth and jobs in the continent.

“We must have chocolate factories, we must have garment and textile factories, dairy factories, and meat processing factories.

“The youth must be encouraged and supported to move into agriculture as a business to create greater value and wealth for the sector, driven by their innovations and business acumen” he said, “I am impressed with the large numbers of youth now moving into agriculture”.

The Bank has provided $406 million to support 23,000 young agripreneurs in 14 countries.

Just last week, the Bank supported $ 120,000 cash prize awards for dynamic youth-owned agribusinesses powering innovations across the agricultural value chains.

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Africans “know and understand what development ought to look like,” says President Uhuru Kenyatta
November 25, 2020 | 0 Comments

President Uhuru Kenyatta

Kenyatta noted that on a continent of around 1.3 billion Africans with a median age of around 20 years, there is a very tangible underlying sense of urgency when it comes to expectations of government.

President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta urged African governments to put their citizens at the centre of delivering service during Africa Delivery Exchange 2020, a virtual event that opened Tuesday.

In remarks to open the two-day workshop, Kenyatta noted that on a continent of around 1.3 billion Africans with a median age of around 20 years, there is a very tangible underlying sense of urgency when it comes to expectations of government. 

“Our people know and understand what development ought to look like and what benefits it should bring to their social-economic wellbeing. Therefore, any failure to quickly address the missing middle within the development paradigm could create a deficiency of trust between the electorate and those in positions of leadership,” Kenyatta said. 

The event was jointly hosted by Kenya President’s Delivery Unit, the African Development Bank and the Tony Blair Institute (TBI) for Global Change.

Kenyatta recognized the Bank and the TBI’s support in advancing Kenya’s development, thanking African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina and Former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who joined him on a panel. 

“Without the lessons from TBI, we would have had to reinvent the wheel, but instead, we started with a tried and tested model, and we have improved on it to reflect our unique circumstances here in Kenya.”    

In his remarks, Blair observed that leadership demands have changed and that governments are expected to do far more than they ever were traditionally. “They’ve got to deliver services for their people; they’ve got to put in place the right environment for their economy, they’ve got to deal with all sorts of huge crises, of which COVID-19 is just the latest example. All of these require extraordinary focus, clarity and decisionmaking.”

To meet these delivery expectations, governments must focus on prioritization, policy, personnel and performance management. “Performance management is the most critical one. What’s difficult is that each of these systems you’re trying to change will have interests that often will obstruct. They’ll need areas that need you to go across the whole of government, to get something done in one area of government, they’ll have complicated politics around them.”   

Adesina commended Kenyatta for focusing on ordinary citizens and praised the Kenyan government’s ‘Big Four’ agenda, which prioritizes food security, affordable housing, manufacturing, and affordable healthcare for all, and noting a fifth area in which the country had made great strides. “Mr. President, you’re doing exceptional work on energy. You’re connecting your people all over the country in an amazing way with last mile delivery. If you add in energy, you’d actually have a big five.”

The Bank president set out some delivery lessons: A clear vision; publish delivery expectations to create accountability; establish a culture of accountability; rigorous results measurement; ensure sustainability.

“The Bank is currently developing a new Africa public service delivery index, that will help to rate African countries including sub nationals on the delivery of public services,” he added.  

The COVID-19 pandemic formed a backdrop to the event.

This is not the first pandemic we’ve faced, Adesina said, but it must never happen again that the continent is caught unprepared. “Africa has underinvested massively on healthcare. We need to change and give Africa a quality health care defense system to make sure we have excellent primary health care.” 

“One question is, how do you keep the sense of urgency that you had when dealing with the disease and carry that same sense of urgency and focus into building back better afterward?”

The African Development Bank has formed strategic partnerships with Government Delivery Units in Kenya, Morocco, Tunisia, and is working toward approval of a fourth in Senegal. In January 2019, the Bank led the launch of the African Delivery Units Network to provide a platform for sharing knowledge, experience and expertise among African governments’ delivery units.

The two-day event includes technical sessions and presentations by specialists, including representatives of national and city government, multilateral development institutions and other development partners.

*AfDB

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African Development Bank’s investments are transforming the continent, unlocking economic potential, and spurring development – 2020 Annual Development Effectiveness Review (ADER) report
November 20, 2020 | 0 Comments

20.3 million people are benefiting from improvements in agriculture (47% women); 3,919 km of feeder roads rehabilitated or built

From agro-processing initiatives to energy, transportation and water and sanitation services, transformative investments by the African Development Bank are paving the way to unlock Africa’s economic potential, according to the 2020 Annual Development Effectiveness Review (ADER) , released on Friday.

The report, which analysed the Bank’s contribution to Africa’s development in 2019 is themed Building resilient African economies.

“Our goal has been and always will be to transform Africa through investments that make a difference to those who need it most. We are a bank that invests in people,” said Bank President Akinwumi Adesina. “People are our core business. Their quality of life is our greatest return!”

The annual report uses the Bank’s results measurement framework to measure its performance, to reflect on its accomplishments and areas in which it can strengthen its effectiveness to achieve its High 5 development goals: Light Up and Power Africa, Feed Africa, Industrialize Africa, Integrate Africa, and Improve the Quality of Life for the People of Africa.

“We have increased the quality and speed of our operations, we are more present in partner countries, and our development impact is deepening,” said Ms. Swazi Tshabalala, Acting Senior Vice-President and Chief Finance Officer.

A year of transformative impact

Among its findings in 2019, 20.3 million people benefited from improved agriculture in Africa through operations supported by the Bank. In Uganda, for instance, the Bank’s support for the Community Agricultural Infrastructure Improvement Programme is boosting farmers’ income through agro-processing initiatives, and better access to markets, benefiting 2.4 million rural households.

In other High 5 areas, the Bank’s operations helped to install 291 MW of new power capacity—60% of which was renewable—and supplied 468 000 people with new electricity connections. It also impacted 1 million people through private sector investee companies, 17.7 million people through better transport services, and 10.1 million people through improved access to water and sanitation.

The Bank has always been a strong champion of regional integration in Africa through supports focused on catalyzing public and private investment in road, transport, and electricity connectivity. For instance, in 2019, the Bank helped build or rehabilitate transport links between Burundi, Rwanda, and the East Africa Community; between Ethiopia and Kenya; and between Kenya and Tanzania.

“We must continue to build on our strength as a development agency and enhance the quality and impact of our operations so that Africa can achieve the sustainable development goals by 2030,” said Simon Mizrahi, Director for Delivery, Performance Management and Results at the Bank.

The Bank has worked intensively through its presence in 41 countries to get its operations closer to its clients, respond more effectively to the needs of countries, and better manage its operations.

The Covid-19 global pandemic’s growing foothold across Africa is shifting governments’ priorities. These projects and the Bank’s new Covid-19 Rapid Response Facility will support African countries and businesses through the crisis.

Click here  to read the full report.

*AFDB

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World Toilet Day 2020: In the midst of a global COVID-19 pandemic, increased toilet hygiene awareness more important than ever
November 19, 2020 | 0 Comments


By Wambui Gichuri*

Wambui Gichuri is the African Development Bank’s Acting Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development and also holds the position of Director for Water Development and Sanitation. She oversees the Bank’s water sector program of over $4.5 billion, covering 44 countries and multinational projects.

This year’s World Toilet Day observance comes in the midst of COVID-19. The gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic’s global spread heightens awareness about the important health benefits of appropriate toilet hygiene across Africa. Never has this been more pertinent than as we observe World Toilet Day.

While promising results on the vaccine front are underway,  a primary effective, preventive measure against the disease is basic handwashing with soap. Everyone must have sustainable sanitation, alongside clean water and handwashing facilities, to help protect and maintain our health security and stop the spread of deadly infectious diseases such as COVID-19, cholera and typhoid, among others.

The effects of this behavior change in hygiene practices will take some time to quantify. According to the British medical journal, the Lancet, handwashing practices in Africa have improved tremendously since the outbreak of COVID-19, with access to handwashing stations noticeably increasing in community centers, schools, markets, bus terminals, and other public spaces in rural and urban areas.

The Bank’s water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) interventions across the continent have emphasized the importance of basic sanitation, as well as the health, economic, and environmental benefits that communities gain from it. In the fight to curb the spread of COVID-19, the Bank is ramping up these messages and the funding to expand the impacts of WASH programs.

In Africa, 60% of the population – about 715 million people – still don’t have access to basic sanitation, according to a Joint Monitoring Report from the World Health Organization and UNICEF. To address these water and sanitation challenges, the Bank has invested $6.2 billion over the last decade toward promoting universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water, as well as to improved sanitation. An estimated 52 million people gained access to improved water supply and sanitation services due to these investments. Over the next 12 years, the Bank’s water sector investments aim to provide an additional 154 million people with these services across Africa. We are also advocating for more private sector participation as an option for sustainable management and financing of water services.

The Bank and the African Water Facility in 2019 launched the development of the African Urban Sanitation Investment Fund, an initiative to promote innovation and inclusive sanitation services for sub-Saharan Africa’s urban inhabitants.  The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is supporting the development of the initiative. It seeks to accelerate the pace of achieving Target 6.2 of the Sustainable Development Goals for sanitation in African

countries by fostering citywide inclusive sanitation, focusing on the poor and providing safe access to women and girls.

The African Water Facility has promoted innovative urban sanitation projects focusing on low-income groups and disseminated knowledge products on acceptable practices across Africa.

One particular success is the Bank co-funded “Toilets for All” project in Sokode, Togo. The small town of 100,000 people located 350 kilometers outside the capital, Lome, applied innovation and microcredit facilities to improve and expand sanitation services.Completed in 2018, the project constructed 688 private toilets in Sokode, thereby increasing access to improved sanitation by 6%. The African Water Facility funded $1.4 million out of its total cost of $1.88 million.  A community-based microcredit system provides household toilet installation services to this day.

The program also acquired a truck for safely emptying fecal sludge from on-site sanitation technologies, like septic tanks and transporting the sludge for treatment, use, or disposal. Neighborhood committees operate an installment payment program for eligible residents to pay for fecal sludge services.

The project’s new sludge treatment plant converts waste into fertilizer, which is sold to farmers. The plant also shares its solar-powered pumped water supply system with a neighboring village that previously had no access to potable water.

The Toilets for All initiative is making a difference in the lives of our people, and it is an example of the meaningful, community-centered and inclusive sanitation and fecal sludge management development that we are scaling up through funding and advocacy across Africa.

So as we mark World Toilet Day amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bank is urging its African member governments and development partners to make greater efforts to provide access to adequate sanitation and hygiene for all, and for an end to open defecation in Africa by 2030.

*Wambui Gichuri is the African Development Bank’s Acting Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development and also holds the position of Director for Water Development and Sanitation. She oversees the Bank’s water sector program of over $4.5 billion, covering 44 countries and multinational projects.

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ACBF, ACFTA Promise to Hit the Ground Running Come 2021
November 19, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Nevson Mpofu Munhumutapa

Professor Emmanuel Nnadozie African Continental Free Trade Area Secretary General
Professor Emmanuel Nnadozie African Continental Free Trade Area Secretary General

This is time for Africa to rise and shine despite the threat of covid-19. In revitalizing African Economies post this pandemic, the continent must have a focus on diversifying exports, accelerating growth, increase intra-Africa Trade, attract foreign direct investments and create jobs.

Professor Emmanuel Nnadozie African Continental Free Trade Area Secretary General puts it straight addressing delegates linked to the 7th Africa Capacity Building Foundation On-Line Conference which started on 18 November ending 19 November. The theme of the conference is – ‘’Implementing the AFCFTA Agreement—Assessing Country readiness and Implications for Capacity Building’’.

Professor Nnadozie adds that through value addition and building better for sustainable development Africa has the potential to withstand various challenges already encountered like covid-19.

‘’Let us put AFCFTA [African Continental Free Trade Area on Track. We hit the ground running by 2021. Therefore, it is vital now to diversify exports, accelerate growth, increase Intra-Africa Trade, attract foreign direct investment and finally create jobs ‘’.

‘’ It is vital therefore to accelerate implementation of bright policies for Africa’s economic growth and development at continental level. It is important as well for the African continent to deliver promises so as to keep hooked, trusted by our stakeholders globally in trade and commerce.

‘’This is the platform for African think-tankers and stakeholders to take chance of wide opportunities post covid-19 in 2021. We need therefore to address capacity challenges in light of covid-19’’, he sets the discussion in continuation.

Giving an added voice Professor Benedict Okey Oramah President and Chairperson of the Board of Directors at Afrexim-Bank was represented by Hoppolyte Fofack- Chief Economist and Director, Research and International Co-Operation Deparmentt at Afrexim-Bank said AFCFTA has full potential to boost African Trade for better Economies in the future.

‘’Africa has the potential despite challenges that we have faced. Let us fight climate shocks, address tightening current challenges like covid-19 and those in the future likely to drag us back-wards.’’ In precise he puts his quote.

Professor Kevin Chika Urama Senior Director at the African Development Institute of African Development Bank pointed out on policy development and implementation meant to foster economic growth, building better on covid-19 and climate shocks.

‘’This is a clarion for Africa to work out on policy development and implementation so as to build better Africa post-0covid-19. This conference comes at a time we are moving towards a breakthrough 2021 through hard work’’, he straightened his point.

African States were recommended to make AFCFTA a reality through exploration of critical determinants of country readiness in implementation of it at continental and country level. It is also on the move to build more capacity of frontline state actors and institutions to drive AFCFTA implementation.

ACBF is the specified Agency if AFCFTA .. ACBF has its head-quarters in Accra Ghana while AFCFTA Head-Offices are in Harare , Zimbabwe .

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Mombouli Lauds Astute Leadership of Adesina at AfDB
November 17, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Ben Bangoura

Ambassador Mombouli credits Dr Adesina with excellent leadership that has put the AfDB at the forefront of development and progress in Africa. Photo credit Ben Bangoura AlloAfrica News

The Dean of the African diplomatic corps in the USA  Serge Mombouli  has credited the sound leadership of Dr Akinwumi Adesina following the affirmation  of the African Development Bank’s AAA credit rating by Moody’s Investor Service

According to Ambassador Mombouli, Moody’s Investor Service’s affirmation of the African Development Bank’s AAA credit rating with a stable outlook is the confirmation that the continent financial institution is doing a good job. 

He cited several economic development efforts by the AfDB across Africa including critical infrastructure, power and energy, financial services, and agriculture projects that benefit ordinary people. Ambassador Mombouli also saluted the spirited efforts with which Dr Adesina has marshalled the AfDB to produce a robust response for the continent to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The credit profile of African Development Bank (AfDB) is supported by the bank’s robust capital buffers and superior risk management, which mitigate risks,” Moody’s Investor Service said in an annual credit analysis dated 27 October 2020. 

Moody’s added: “An ample liquidity buffer and unfettered access to international capital markets also support its ability to meet its debt-service obligations. Moreover, the bank has a long track record of being the premier development institution in Africa and benefits from shareholders’ ability and willingness to support its development objectives, exemplified by the significant contributions of highly rated non-regional member countries.”

The ‘AAA’ rating from Moody’s follows earlier affirmations of the ‘AAA’ rating of the Bank, with a stable outlook, by the other leading rating agencies, namely Fitch Ratings, Standard and Poor’s Global Ratings, and Japan Credit Rating Agency.

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COVID-19 is a ‘wake-up command’ to address Africa’s challenges – Tony Blair
November 17, 2020 | 0 Comments

The former UK prime minister addressed a virtual audience on the topic Building Back Better in Post COVID-19 Africa: The Role of Technology and Governance, as part of the Kofi A. Annan Lecture Series.

We have the same problems but what we also have is vastly increased urgency – Blair; Agriculture offers Africa its best opportunity for industrialization…the key is how does Africa raise productivity, develop the integrated technology in rural areas? – Adesina

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the challenges and opportunities of Africa’s development landscape, former British prime minister Tony Blair said on Monday in a lecture organized by the African Development Institute in Abidjan.

“We have the same problems but what we also have is vastly increased urgency…not so much a wake-up call but a wake-up command,” Blair said.

The former UK prime minister addressed a virtual audience on the topic Building Back Better in Post COVID-19 Africa: The Role of Technology and Governance, as part of the Kofi A. Annan Lecture Series. The series, launched by the African Development Bank’s African Development Institute in 2006, has covered a range of African and global development topics, including economics, finance, regional integration, human development and the environment. The lectures have been a forum for eminent persons to share policy insights on development challenges in Africa.

Over 4,500 delegates from across the globe including Government Officials, Governors and Executive Directors of the Bank Group, the Bank’s Senior Management, and leading experts and heads of institutions tuned in to the lecture.

In opening remarks, Rabah Arezki, Chief Economist and Vice President for Economic Governance and Knowledge Management of the Bank described the task ahead as “vast and challenging.”

Blair, in his first ever virtual lecture, outlined three aspects which in his words would make a big difference to Africa: investing in industrialization, accelerating technological innovations, and building capacity for institutions to get things done. “There are components to the Bank’s High 5 priorities. All of those things which define the challenges that Africa has – all of those are now given added urgency by Covid and its impact,” Blair said.

To build back better, West Africa, for instance, could capitalize on its rich source of cotton for garment production and the textile industry. Elsewhere on the continent, Africa was already leading in the digital technology space which can be scaled up.

“Around the world you are seeing governments use technology effectively…I know this is a great ambition of the African Development Bank. This is critical,” Blair said.

Blair highlighted the four Ps of government delivery – prioritization, policy, personnel and performance management. On prioritization, Mr. Blair called on African governments to identify and focus on their comparative advantages, and focus on delivery…focus on key transformative projects and manage expectations,” Mr. Blair said.

“In the end, only Africa can do it, we are partners in Africa’s story…in Africa’s progress,” Blair said.

Blair’s speech was followed by a conversation with Bank Group President Akinwumi Adesina, who said the lecture series brought global and national perspectives to the development issues discussed.

“We need to constantly push the frontiers of dialogue in the public sphere,” Adesina said. “Nothing is more topical today than the challenges posed by Covid-19. The pandemic has upended economic growth,” Adesina noted.

Agreeing with Mr. Blair about the importance of the culture of delivery, Adesina said agriculture offered Africa its best opportunity for industrialization. “The key is: how does Africa raise productivity in agriculture…how does it develop the integrated infrastructure in those rural areas…that will allow the creation of new economic sources of prosperity out of what it has?” Adesina asked.

Although the Bank’s Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) initiative had allowed it to reach millions of farmers with agricultural technology and is boosting yields in wheat, there is still the need to scale up. “We have a lot of pilots…The name of the game is scale,” Adesina said.

Adesina cited other key interventions by the Bank, including a $10 billion COVID-19 Response Facility to provide budget support to African countries and its innovative $3 billion COVID-19 social bond, to save livelihoods.

After leaving office, Blair launched the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, which works to equip leaders to build open, inclusive and prosperous societies in an interconnected global world.

Speaking after the seminar, Prof. Kevin Urama, Senior Director of the ADI said the priorities are well mapped out for Africa to build back better. The African Development Institute (ADI) has been at the forefront of accelerating capacity development, technical assistance and policy dialogue on the continent.

*AFDB

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Moody’s Investor Service affirms African Development Bank’s AAA credit rating
November 14, 2020 | 0 Comments
The AAA rating by Moody’s validates the strength of the Bank’s prudent financial and risk management and strong governance systems even in the face of tough challenges imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic, says Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank
The ‘AAA’ rating from Moody’s follows earlier affirmations of the ‘AAA’ rating of the Bank, with stable outlook, by the other leading rating agencies.

Moody’s Investor Service has affirmed the African Development Bank’s AAA credit rating, with a stable outlook.

“The credit profile of African Development Bank (AfDB) (www.AfDB.org) is supported by the bank’s robust capital buffers and superior risk management, which mitigate risks,” Moody’s Investor Service said in an annual credit analysis dated 27 October 2020. 

Moody’s added: “An ample liquidity buffer and unfettered access to international capital markets also support its ability to meet its debt-service obligations. Moreover, the bank has a long track record of being the premier development institution in Africa and benefits from shareholders’ ability and willingness to support its development objectives, exemplified by the significant contributions of highly rated non-regional member countries.”

Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank, said: “The AAA rating by Moody’s validates the strength of the Bank’s prudent financial and risk management and strong governance systems even in the face of tough challenges imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic. The extraordinary support of the Bank’s shareholders boosts our capacity to finance African countries. We will continue to manage risks and capital requirements adequately to help African countries to build their economies back better and faster, while assuring economic, health and climate resilience”.

Swazi Tshabalala, Acting Senior Vice President, Vice President for Finance and Chief Finance Officer at the African Development Bank, said: “Thanks to the solid backing of its shareholders and strong financial profile, the African Development Bank is rated triple-A with stable outlook by all the major international rating agencies”.

The ‘AAA’ rating from Moody’s follows earlier affirmations of the ‘AAA’ rating of the Bank, with stable outlook, by the other leading rating agencies, namely Fitch Ratings, Standard and Poor’s Global Ratings and Japan Credit Rating Agency.

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Winner announced for AfDB “African Utility of the Future” Competition
November 13, 2020 | 0 Comments

Winning company Konexa named during final panel of Africa Energy Form 2020, receiving prize fund of USD $5,000. The competition inspired team-building and innovative ideas to transform current utilities into Advanced, Futuristic, SMART, Sustainable and Agile African Power Utilities.

The overarching principle was to create a platform for current and aspiring asset-owners to come up with innovative, realistic, practical and implementable ideas for “leap-frogging” existing utilities in the future.

In the face of steep competition, Konexa’s anonymous submission was chosen by the panel of judges based on its transformative value across 5 pillars of sustainable utility operation as defined by the African Development Bank.

Konexa aspires to own and operate grid and off-grid power assets across Africa. They are pioneering an integrated utility model that accelerates access to reliable power by leveraging cost efficient and disruptive technologies.

Batchi Baldeh, Director for the Power Systems Development Division at AfDB commented; ”The Bank in partnership with EnergyNet is happy to announce the winner of the African Utility of the Future Design Competition for 2020 as Konexa, with their innovative integrated Distribution Franchise model.

The proposed model challenges financing institutions such as the African Development Bank to begin “leap frogging” into the future and to develop financing mechanisms to match the needs of these futuristic utilities, by providing opportunities and mechanisms for access to low cost infrastructure finance, and mechanisms to address local and hard currency challenges.”

CEO of Konexa Pradeep Pursnani added; “We’re honoured to be awarded this prize. Konexa’s Integrated Utility model aims to help governments and utilities deliver their vision of 24/7 power for everyone in the country on a far more rapid timeframe.

Konexa is the first integrated utility deploying long-term capital to 1) make grid investments, 2) deploy off-grid technologies, 3) install embedded generation & storage capacity, and 4) integrate cutting-edge information and operational technology in our technology platform. We’ve been working with the Nigerian Government and Kaduna Electric to bring this vision to life and have made progress on attracting commercial investment from Climate Fund Managers as our anchor partners on this early journey.”

The winning team was announced during the final ceremony of the Africa Energy Forum online at 12:30 GMT on 13th November 2020.

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Finance In Common summit rallies 450 development banks to ramp up, deepen collective efforts to address fragility beyond COVID-19
November 13, 2020 | 0 Comments

“Nothing can dampen our collective resolve to provide better opportunities for all” – African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina

The first global summit of public development banks on Thursday showcased a collective resolve to accelerate efforts to achieve the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs), including addressing fragility.

The Finance In Common summit, which forms part of the 2020 Paris Peace Forum, has rallied together some 450 public development banks to build a new coalition to better face the COVID-19 crisis by upscaling SDGs financing.

The summit is convened by Agence francaise de développement, in partnership with the African Development Bank, under the high patronage of French President Emmanuel Macron, with the participation of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

“By convening today and bringing to life this coalition, which is unprecedented, besides its diversity, and its liaising role with all financial players, you remind us that it’s possible to build common, consistent and joint responses to major global challenges,” Macron said.

He commended public development banks for playing a lead role in mitigating the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on livelihoods.

Addressing the plenary session, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group, called on public development banks to join forces with the private sector to fill the $2.5 trillion yearly financing gap needed to achieve the SDGs by 2030.

“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,” declared Adesina, co-chair of the session.

He also cited various interventions by the Bank, including a $10 billion COVID-19 Response Facility and a $3 billion COVID-19 social bond, noting that it had helped to save livelihoods.

To advance Africa’s recovery, the African Development Bank’s priority for the post-COVID-19 era is to work with multilateral banks, public investment institutions and commercial creditors to equip the continent with critical resources to withstand any potential exogenous shocks.

“Together, let’s do finance in common, let’s have a financing coalition, financing complementarity and financing consolidation,” Adesina said.

Remy Rioux, head of Agence francaise de développement, said the summit had showcased the passion of development banks to attain inclusive growth and the SDGs.

“We want to do more; we want to do better, we want to do it together with the private sector; with civil society, and with local authorities, to unleash the full potential of the regions (we serve),” he said.

Several global leaders and heads of state addressed the summit virtually. They included Senegalese President Macky Sall, President of Costa Rica Carlos Alvarado Quesada, former Prime Minister of Latvia, Valdis Dombrovskis, and Alok Sharma, former British Minister of State.

There were also solidarity messages from other multilateral finance institutions, including the International Monetary Fund, recognizing the crucial role of public development banks.

“But the road to recovery is going to be steep and we would need massive investments in human and fiscal capital; what will be the quality of these investments will determine our future and you public development banks have a major role to play to help the recovery and also to overcome the vulnerabilities we had prior to the pandemic when we experienced low productivity, low growth, high inequality and a looming climate crisis,” said IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva.

Through its High 5 priorities, the African Development Bank has boosted its support to fragile states, with financial commitments increasing by 51% between 2014 and 2019, compared to the previous five years. Some 345 operations valued at $6.45 billion have been approved for countries where fragility remains.

For example, in 2019, the Bank launched the Desert to Power initiative, an energy integration program that covers 11 countries and 250 million people in the Sahel region. Its goal is to install 1.1 gigawatts of solar capacity by 2030, generate economic opportunities for local communities and develop overall socio-economic resilience

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“Finance in Common Summit”: Experts call for greater international cooperation to address the situations of fragile countries worsened by the health crisis
November 13, 2020 | 0 Comments

International experts on Thursday called for a concerted response and broader cooperation between public development banks and actors in the field to provide concrete responses to fragile countries whose situations have been worsened by the global Covid-19 crisis.

They spoke during a virtual session on “Human Security in Fragile Contexts: Scaling up Humanitarian and Resilience Investments,” on the second day of the Finance In Common Summit, currently underway.  The high-level panel included Khaled Sherif, the Bank’s Vice President for Regional Development, Integration, and Service Delivery, Katherine Garrett-Cox, head of GIB Asset Management, Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and Shinichi Kitaoka, President of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Maurer, noted that COVID-19 had seriously worsened the situation in fragile countries,already affected by food insecurity, climate change, and armed conflict. Nearly 80 percent of the world’s fragile situations originate from situations in Africa and the Near East, he said.

“Whether it is a question of access to healthcare, access to water, living conditions or employment, we need to analyse each specific context. We must build programmes that respond to each need,” he stressed. The urgency of some situations required greater cooperation between actors in the field and public development banks, he said. These banks alone inject $2.3 trillion dollars each year into the global economy, or ten percent of the total amount invested.

JICA President Shinichi Kitaoka, highlighted his country’s current support to African countries affected by the global health crisis, particularly in health infrastructure and the provision of medicines. “Japan has financed the construction of about 100 hospitals across the continent,” he said. Kitaoka added that Japan is committed to achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 and that it will support African countries in their work toward sustainable development and green and inclusive growth.

Katherine Garrett-Cox Chief Executive Officer of UK-based GIB Asset Management, highlighted the 34 percent growth in the sustainable investment market between 2016 and 2018, to $30 trillion, responding to the growing demand for sustainable finance investments over the past decade.

“Firstly, there is a growing consensus that good sustainable development practices can generate good return on investment,” she said. “Secondly, there is a growing awareness of the importance of mobilising capital for sustainable development.” She stressed the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic had underlined the need for social sustainability.

In the context of a health crisis which could destroy 30 million jobs and increase the number of people living in extreme poverty to 450 million, Sherif was optimistic about the willingness of development actors to work together to strengthen and stabilise the situation in at-risk regions and fragile countries. “For too long, we have left the issue of the development of vulnerable populations to humanitarian organizations, NGOs, foundations, and civil society actors,” he said. “Now we need to create new and strong alliances to increase the impact of humanitarian and development actions for rural communities and vulnerable populations.”  

In conclusion, Khaled Sherif reiterated the African Development Bank’s strategy: “We are convinced that only an integrated Africa is a resilient Africa, creating prosperity across the continent.”

Through its “High 5” operational priorities, the Bank has strengthened its support to fragile states, with commitments increasing by 51 percent between 2014 and 2019 (as compared to 2008-2013). Some 345 activities with a value of S$6.45 billion have been approved for these countries, where the main development challenge remains fragility.

“Finance in Common” is an event held virtually as part of the third Paris Peace Forum, taking place from 11-13 November 2020. Bringing together 450 public development banks, this first world summit aims to build a new coalition of development-centred financial institutions. Such a coalition is vital to confront the new global challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis and to redirect financing towards inclusive growth, taking into account the commitments of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals.

*AFDB

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