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Cabo Verde: African Development Bank Group approves 30 million euros loan to fight COVID-19
May 30, 2020 | 0 Comments

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank has extended a loan of €30 million to Cabo Verde to help the West African island nation fight the COVID-19 outbreak and mitigate its economic impacts.

The loan, approved on 26 May, will be used to fund the country’s health and social response, support macro-economic stability, and assist the private sector.

As of 27 May, Cabo Verde had reported 390 infections, 155 recoveries and four deaths. Only one of the country’s 10 islands has been affected, namely Santiago, home to the capital city Praia. Cabo Verde is currently focusing on restarting economic activities gradually and the Bank’s support will help the country achieve that in a safer manner.

The Bank noted that while Cabo Verde’s health system was better equipped than that of many countries in the region, it could do with additional capacity in the face of the health crisis.

The pandemic has halted Cabo Verde’s recent strong economic performance. In 2019, its GDP grew by 5 percent. The country, which relies heavily on the blue economy and tourism, is expected to see its economic output contract by 4 percent in 2020.

The Bank funding will support a commitment from authorities to increase the number of ventilators from 20 to 86 in isolation rooms, and in total from 35 to 130 by mid-June.

A social inclusion income program will be expanded to reach a total of 8,000 vulnerable and woman-headed households, out of an estimated 9,000 households living in extreme poverty. Currently, 5,000 households are receiving such support.

In addition, a scheme will be established to partially fund the wages of furloughed workers from affected businesses. Temporarily suspended employees will receive 70 percent of full wages for the duration of the crisis.  

The funding forms part of the Bank’s $10 billion COVID-19 Crisis Response Facility, approved by the Board of Directors on 8 April this year.

The Bank said containment measures had slowed the spread of the pandemic in Cabo Verde.

Measures to contain the virus are expected to have a disproportionate impact on certain segments of the population, which may deepen inequality. Young people in particular stand to be affected, given their already high rate of unemployment and underemployment. Women, who make up a disproportionate segment of affected sectors like services, are also a high-risk group, along with those at the front line of the pandemic in professions like nursing. Other vulnerable groups include unprotected workers, such as those who are self-employed, or in key formal sectors like tourism.

The government of Cabo Verde has created a National Technical Intervention and Response Team, and is budgeting for an increase in the number of key medical equipment and salaries for further medical staff.

The Ministry of Health and Social Security approved the COVID-19 National Contingency Plan in January, detailing strategies for all stages of the pandemic, responsibilities, priorities and action plans across all levels of government.

*AFDB

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The “High 5s”: A strategic vision and results that are transforming Africa
May 30, 2020 | 0 Comments

For the past ten years, Africa has recorded some of the world’s strongest rates of economic growth. At the same time, many African economies continue to function at well below their full potential. Structural transformation is needed to create more jobs, reduce poverty and accomplish sustainable development objectives.

The African Development Bank’s High 5 priority areas are intended to support African countries’ achievement of the SDGS. They are: Feed Africa; Light up Africa; Industrialise Africa; Integrate Africa; and Improve the Quality of Life for the  people of Africa. 

Atta Abdul, Fatima-Zahra, Shuaibu, and Daniel are the faces of a continent that is being transformed. By betting on Africa’s youth, the Bank is banking on the future to make the continent a land of progress, prosperity and hope.

Feed Africa

Since 2015, 74 million Africans have benefited from improved agricultural technologies through the Bank’s efforts to support increased food security on the continent.

In western Mauritania, for example, the Brakna-Ouest irrigation infrastructure improvement project, supported by the Bank in the amount of $12 million, enabled 1 500 farming and livestock-producing families to return to cultivating their fields. 

“We come from a farming and livestock-producing family and we grew up in that environment. Our harvest was very poor. We wanted to move somewhere else,” explains Atta Abdul Seck, a project beneficiary in Louboudou in western Mauritania. “As a farmer’s son,  what I liked most when I returned was being able to continue farming. Farming is in my blood,” he says proudly. 

Light up Africa

Without electricity, agriculture cannot effectively meet the growing challenge of food security in Africa. The Bank has made investment in energy a priority. Since 2016, it has mobilised $12 billion for its “Light Up Africa” strategic priority. Through this investment, 13.4 million people have gained access to electricity.

Morocco has made significant progress in widening access to electricity. In just the past twenty years, the electricity system has expanded to cover almost the entire country. The national rural electrification program, supported by the Bank with 155 million euros, has connected nearly 12.8 million Moroccans to the national power grid.

In Dar El Aïn, a village twenty kilometres from Marrakesh, the arrival of electricity has opened new doors for the women of the “Al Amal” cooperative. They use electricity to process their wheat into couscous or create other barley or wheat-based products. “The cooperative processes local crops into added-value products. Now, with electricity, the women are much more efficient, and their products are of better quality. It creates hope,” says Fatima-Zahra, a thirty-year-old member. 

Industrialise Africa

As part of the Bank’s “Industrialise Africa” priority, 9 million people have gained access to private financing. In Nigeria, for instance, where more than 70 percent of the population depends on agriculture, fluctuating harvests have significant repercussions on yields, income and food security. 

One solution is fertilizer, particularly if locally produced. The Bank provided $100 million to support construction of a modern fertilizer plant in Port Harcourt.

Shuaibu Yusuf, a farmer in his thirties who live near Port Harcourt, has experienced the impact of this project in his daily life. “When I used this fertilizer, I saw the difference. My harvest increased by more than 40 percent. I can feed myself, pay for my children’s education, and even their medical expenses,” he says. “I’m going to encourage my children, my neighbours and members of my community to increase their farming activities so we can all progress together,” Shuaibu continues.

Integrate Africa

To derive more benefit from industrialisation, Africa must become better integrated in terms of trade and markets. Through integration, African countries can gain access to larger markets and thereby increase incomes for millions of residents through new opportunities.

Since 2015, 69 million people have benefited from the Bank’s support for new transport infrastructure that has advanced integration. Gaps in the primary transport corridors have been filled, links between countries have been strengthened, and intra-African trade has been revitalised.

A good example of this is The Nairobi-Addis-Ababa corridor, which received$670 million in Bank financing and which has enhanced the potential for trade and job growth in Ethiopia and Kenya.

Daniel Yatta, a forty-year-old Kenyan lorry driver, has been transporting goods between Nairobi and Addis-Ababa for 15 years, and has seen the new road’s impact on his business. “ Back in the day, it would take more than two weeks to drive between Addis and Nairobi,” he says. The new road has made his life much easier. “With the new road, the trip takes only a few days. With 30 tonnes of freight, it only takes about 24 hours to drive to Addis!” he continues.

Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa

An important part of improving living conditions is providing better access to essential services such as health, water and sanitation. Since 2015, Bank-supported projects  have given 43 million people access to water and sanitation

The High 5s’ impact in numbers


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AFDB: Obasanjo Rallies Former African Leaders In Support of Akinwumi Adesina
May 28, 2020 | 0 Comments

-Read Full Letter

Adesina has placed the AFDB in a strategic position to fast track Africa’s development, says Obasanjo

Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo is rallying African leaders maintain support for African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina following whistle blower allegations and calls from partners like the USA for more scrutiny.

In a letter to former African leaders Obasanjo credits Adesina for taking the AFDB to unprecedented heights. Making the case to trust in Adesina’s leadership, Obasanjo says in 2020, he led the Bank to achieve a historic general capital increase, raising the capital of the Bank from $93 billion to $208 billion, an increase of $155 billion, the highest in the history of the Bank since its establishment in 1964.

Obasanjo goes further to highlight a series of other commendable achievements of Adesina that have placed the Bank in a strategic position to fast track Africa’s development.

“Despite these achievements and impressive leadership for the Bank and passion for Africa’s faster-paced development, and his clear endorsement by all of African countries for re-election for his second term, there are some attempts, led by some non-regional member countries of the Bank to frustrate his re-election,” Obasanjo says in the letter.

“We should speak against the introduction of alien practices being recommended by some parties given that such recommendation falls outside the laid down procedure, laws, rules and regulations of the Bank. It is also critical that we emphasize the need for the ADB to remain an Africa-focused development Bank rather than one which serves interests outside Africa,” Obasanjo said, while inviting former leaders to collectively issue a press statement to support the laid down procedures embarked upon to evaluate the allegations against the President of the Bank .

Full Letter Below

Your Excellencies,
I hope that you are keeping well in the midst of the current COVID 19 pandemic that we are all going through in Africa and all over the world. I am writing to you in respect of developments at the African Development Bank.

As you may be aware the President of the Bank, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina has performed very well in this position over the past five years. He has taken the Bank to great heights. In 2020, he led the Bank to achieve a historic general capital increase, raising the capital of the Bank from $93 billion to $208 billion, an increase of $155 billion, the highest in the history of the Bank since its establishment in 1964.

I have been made to understand that the Bank also successfully raised funds from donor countries of over $7 billion for the African Development Fund 15th replenishment for low-income countries, an increase of 35%. Under his leadership the Bank launched the Africa Investment Forum (AIF) to mobilize massive flows of capital to Africa.

The inaugural launch of the AIF held in Johannesburg, South Africa, secured 38.7 Billion of investment interests within less than 72 hours. The AIF event held in 2019 went even further and secured $40.1 Billion of investment interest in less than 72 hours. Africa has never seen these kinds of financial and investment interests.


The Bank has been effectively positioned as an effective global institution, ranked 4th globally in terms of transparency among 45 multilateral and bilateral institutions by Publish What You Fund, an outfit that consists of 19 developed economies. Dr. Adesina led the Bank to successfully launch at the G7 Summit in Biarritz, France, the Affirmative Finance Action for Women (AFAWA) to mobilize $3 Billion for women businesses and entrepreneurs in Africa, with strong support and resources from G7 leaders and nations.


The Bank has also substantially aligned its financing and operations to help accelerate Agenda 2063 and the High 5 agenda of the Bank (Light Up and Power Africa; Feed Africa; Industrialize Africa; Integrate Africa; and Improve the Quality of Life of the People of Africa) are achieving good results. Over the past four years, it is estimated that18 million people were provided with access to electricity, through “Light Up and Power Africa”: 141 million people gained access to improved agricultural technologies for food security, through “Feed Africa”; 13 million people benefited from access to finance from private sector investment projects, through “Industrialize Africa”; 101 million people benefitted from access to better transport through “integrate Africa”; 60 million people benefit from improved access to water and sanitation under “Improved quality of life for the people of Africa. In summary: in less than five years under Dr. Adesina’s leadership, the Bank’s investments have benefitted and impacted a total of 333 million Africans.


You will agree with me that these achievements are commendable and the Bank has been placed in a strategic position to fast track Africa’s development.

Finally, under Dr. Adesina’s leadership of the Bank, it has continued to maintain its Triple A (AAA) rating by all global rating agencies over the past five years.
As Africa faces COVID-19, Dr. Adesina again took bold measures to ensure the Bank can respond proactively to support African countries and got its Board of Directors to approve a $10 Billion crisis response facility to support African countries. In addition, the Bank successfully launched a $3 billion “Fight COVID-19” social impact bond on the international capital market, secured at 0.75% interest rate. The social bond is the largest US dollar denominated bond ever in world history. The bond is now listed on the London Stock Exchange where it has been oversubscribed at $4.6 billion.


Given these great achievements, Dr. Adesina was unanimously endorsed for re-election for a second term as President of the Bank by all Heads of State and Governments of the ECOWAS region. At the Africa Union
Summit in February of 2020, all 55 African countries endorsed him for reelection for his second term, as the sole candidate as President of the African Development Bank.


Despite these achievements and impressive leadership for the Bank and passion for Africa’s faster-paced development, and his clear endorsement by all of African countries for re-election for his second term, there are some attempts, led by some non-regional member countries of the Bank to frustrate his re-election. At issue are some allegations made by some whistleblowers that alleged that Dr. Adesina violated Code of Ethics as President. Dr. Adesina strongly denied the allegations as fabrications and misinformation to disparage and discredit him. The laid down due process at the Bank, the Ethics Committee of the Board of Directors, Chaired by the Executive Director from Japan and with members who represent shareholder member countries evaluated the allegations over a period of 3 months.

The Ethic Committee of the Board of Directors, after examination of each of the 16 allegations of the whistleblowers had dismissed each and all of the allegations as baseless and without any substantiation. The Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Bank following review of the Ethics Committee report exonerating Dr. Adesina concurred with the conclusions and exonerated Dr. Adesina of all the allegations. The Ethics Committee and the Chairman of the Board of Governors had performed their duties as laid down in the Rules and regulations of the Bank.


Unfortunately, the US Government, through the US Treasury Secretary, has written a public letter (that was also distributed to the Press globally) to disagree with the conclusions of the Ethics Committee of the Board of Directors and the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Bank. Instead of accepting the exoneration of the President of the Bank, they called for an “independent investigation”.

This is outside of the rules, laws, procedures and governance systems of the Bank. The US Treasury Secretary disparaged the Bank and ridiculed the entire governance system of the Bank, which has been in place since 1964. This is unprecedented in the annals of the African Development Bank Group. If we do not rise up and defend the African Development Bank, this might mean the end of the African Development Bank, as its governance will be hijacked away from Africa.


I therefore propose that we all collectively issue a press statement to support the laid down procedures embarked upon to evaluate the allegations against the President of the Bank and to recommend that the Board of Governors as well as the Ethics Committee of the Bank should firmly stand by their process and its outcome. We should speak against the introduction of alien practices being recommended by some parties given that such recommendation falls outside the laid down procedure, laws, rules and regulations of the Bank. It is also critical that we emphasize the need for the ADB to remain an Africa-focused development Bank rather than one which serves interests outside Africa.

cc:
H.E Boni Yayi
H.E Festus Mogae
H.E Hailemariam Desalegn
H.E John Kufour H.E Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
H.E Joyce Banda
H.E Joaquim Chissano
H.E Tandja Mamadou
H.E Thabo Mbeki
H.E Kgalema Motlanthe
H.E Benjamin Mkapa
H.E Jakaya Kikwete
H.E Mohamed Marzouki (Former President of Benin)
(Former President of Botswana)
(Former Prime Minister of Ethiopia)
(Former President of Ghana)
(Former President of Liberia)
(Former President of Malawi)
(Former President of Mozambique)
(Former President ofNiger)
(Former President of South Africa)
(Former President of South Africa)
(Former President of Tanzania)
(Former President of Tanzania)
(Former President of Tunisia)

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No Governance or Constitutional crisis at the African Development Bank Group-Board Chair Nialé Kaba
May 28, 2020 | 0 Comments
There is no governance or constitutional crisis at the African Development Bank Group, says Nialé Kaba

Chair of the Bureau of the Board of the African Development Bank Nialé Kaba has thrown cold water on insinuations and media reports of a tense atmosphere at the Bank.

“There is no governance or constitutional crisis at the African Development Bank Group. It is indeed false that the President of the Bank Group has been or is being asked to step down from his position,” Kaba says in a statement shared with Pan African Visions.

Seeking  to clear the air with some media reports on the recusal of AFDB Chairman Akinwumi Adesina, Board Chair Kaba says no decision has been taken.

“Everyone must allow the Bureau to do its work and allow due process to reign and all the Governors will be carried along in resolving the issue,” Nialé Kaba concludes .

Full Letter below

Communication Regarding the Whistleblowers’ Complaint Against the President of the Bank

The Bureau of the Boards of Governors of the African Development Bank met on Tuesday, 26 May to consider the matter arising from a whistleblowers’ complaint against the President of the Bank, which was dealt with by the Ethics Committee of Board of Directors of the Bank and for which I received letters from some shareholders expressing various views.

Following the meeting, my attention has been drawn to several publications in the national and international press regarding the content of the deliberations of the said meeting, and I am compelled to make clarifications in order to avoid any misunderstanding.

The Bureau, which I chair, wishes to reassure the public that it is seized with the matter and that it is treating it with the utmost seriousness that it deserves. Further, the Bureau informs the public that it has not taken any decision as falsely conveyed in some publications.

I must emphasise that there is no governance or constitutional crisis at the African Development Bank Group. It is indeed false that the President of the Bank Group has been or is being asked to step down from his position.Everyone must allow the Bureau to do its work and allow due process to reign.

All the Governors will be carried along in resolving the issue.Chair of the Bureau of the Board

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I maintain my innocence with regards to trumped up allegations-AFDB President Dr Akinwumi Adesina
May 27, 2020 | 0 Comments
I am confident that fair, transparent and just processes that respect the rules, procedures and governance systems of the Bank, and the rule of law, will ultimately prove that I have not violated the Code of Ethics of this extraordinary institution, says AFDB President Akinwumi Adesina
I am confident that fair, transparent and just processes that respect the rules, procedures and governance systems of the Bank, and the rule of law, will ultimately prove that I have not violated the Code of Ethics of this extraordinary institution, says AFDB President Akinwumi Adesina

Embattled African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina says he is innocent with regard to trumped up allegations that unjustly seek to impugn his honor and integrity, as well as the reputation of the African Development Bank.

In press statement shared with Pan African Visions, Dr Adesina a former Minister of Agriculture in Nigeria says he has been overwhelmed with support from all over the world and has absolute confidence in the integrity of the Bank that he leads and its governance systems, rules and procedures .

” I am confident that fair, transparent and just processes that respect the rules, procedures and governance systems of the Bank, and the rule of law, will ultimately prove that I have not violated the Code of Ethics of this extraordinary institution,” Adesina says in the statement.

Adesina pledged to keep working with all shareholders to ensure that the African Development Bank maintains its hard earned global reputation; and to ensure that its credible and well-functioning institutional and governance systems are reinforced .

Below is the full statement

Press Statement On Recent News Reports And The African Development Bank

In recent weeks and over the last few days especially, I have been overwhelmed by the tremendous support received from around the world. I have absolute confidence in the integrity of the Bank that I lead and its governance systems, rules and procedures.

In spite of unprecedented attempts by some to tarnish my reputation and prejudice the Bank’s governance procedures, I maintain my innocence with regard to trumped up allegations that unjustly seek to impugn my honor and integrity, as well as the reputation of the African Development Bank.

I sincerely appreciate the support of the Bank’s shareholders.

At this time, I remain confident that ultimately and as one collective, the Bank will emerge stronger than before and continue to support Africa’s development drive. I draw great inspiration from my heroes, Nelson Mandela and Kofi Annan, whose lives have shown that through pain we grow. As Martin Luther King Jnr. once said, “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice. “

I am confident that fair, transparent and just processes that respect the rules, procedures and governance systems of the Bank, and the rule of law, will ultimately prove that I have not violated the Code of Ethics of this extraordinary institution.

I will therefore continue to work with each and everyone of our shareholders to ensure that the African Development Bank maintains its hard earned global reputation; and that our credible and well-functioning institutional and governance systems are reinforced, as we collectively press on to fulfill the mission of our founders to accelerate and transform Africa’s development.

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The African Development Bank: Tolling Bells for Humanity
May 25, 2020 | 0 Comments

By Cesar A. MBA ABOGO*

Cesar A. MBA ABOGO
Cesar A. MBA ABOGO

COVID-19 is severely testing Africa’s social, economic and political resilience. While it is true that our countries are taking bold actions to slow down and contain the spread of the virus, it is also undeniable that recession looms in our continent. 

The Central African sub region is one of the areas most exposed to an economic recession. We face a double danger. On the one hand, we are fighting COVID19 with a scarcity of financial resources and fragile health systems. On the other hand, we are trying to mitigate the adverse economic effects of this pandemic, and safeguard our economies – especially those extremely dependent on revenues from natural resources.

It is not a secret that the most affected countries in Central Africa are Sao Tomé and Equatorial Guinea. In terms of the impact on the economy, we have been punched by COVID19 like no other country.

COVID19 is an unprecedented challenge. But crisis moments also present opportunities. I frankly believe that COVID-19 could inadvertently spark a better future for Africa.

For that to happen we need Africa’s flagship development institution, the African Development Bank, to be stronger than ever, as it is the primary duty of the institution* to assist Africa at this critical time.

We therefore salute the AfDB’s bold response and its commitment to assist our countries by creating a $10 billion COVID-19 Response Facility to help cushion the economic and social impacts of the pandemic in regional member countries.

We are certainly satisfied with the Bank’s performance and the visionary leadership of its President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina.

I would like to commend the credible and exhaustive work of the  Bank’s Board-constituted Ethics Committee’s chaired by the  Honorable Takuji Yano. The Committee’s report referencing sixteen allegations by whistle-blowers against Dr. Adesina and other executives of the Bank, unequivocally stated that “these allegations are not valid and should be rejected”.

With regard to the whistle-blower’s rejection of the conclusions of the Ethics Committee, we express our deep concern about how this not only undermines and affects Dr. Adesina’s credibility but is also contributing to the erosion of the bank’s credibility, especially the strength of its internal institutions.

We believe that this is just the opposite of what humanity needs at this time when we are facing an unprecedented crisis. We therefore echo the call by the Chair of the Board of Governors, Honourable Niale Kaba, for “restoring peace and serenity within the Bank.”

In conclusion, and as a testimony of my support for Dr. Adesina and all the Bank executives who have personally and adversely affected by this situation and unfounded allegations, a few verses penned by John Donne (and popularized by Hemingway) come to mind.

“No man is an island, entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main. If a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend’s or of thine own were: any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee.”

Today in the African Development Bank, the bells toll not for Dr. Adesina but for Africa … for humanity.

* Cesar A. Mba ABOGO is Minister of Finance, Economy and Planning of Equatorial Guinea

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South Sudan: “City of darkness” no longer, African Development Bank supported electricity project lights up capital
May 22, 2020 | 0 Comments

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

But now a city-wide power grid is emerging for the first time, lighting up Juba and promoting security, and transforming lives and businesses.

Implementation of the African Development Bank’s $38 million Juba Power Distribution System Rehabilitation and Expansion Project is  almost completed in the city, Juba, which hasn’t had a stable and reliable electricity supply since South Sudan’s independence in 2011 and has always suffered from regular blackouts.

“Our company used to rely on a 1,500kVA  generator and spent an average of $75 a day on diesel. We bought 45,000 litres of diesel monthly, said Hizkias, the owner of the Juba-based Aquana Water Company.

“Now we rely on public electricity brought to us by this new network. We don’t experience random damages to our machines anymore and things are working easier. We are making more savings and expanding production.”

The Bank and the South Sudan government partially commissioned the power distribution network in November 2019. It has since helped to restore electricity supply in the Central Business District of Juba. Street lamps light up most thoroughfares to ease movement of traffic and pedestrians and  help prevent crime.

Of the 20,000 “last-mile” domestic and commercial consumers targeted in the project,  about 6,131 have so far been connected to the grid.

“We used to light candles and other alternate energy sources. Most people who could afford them, owned generators. The disturbing noise of generators could be heard from many homes and business. We now have enough power for our appliances and businesses have picked up,” said Adak Costa Mapuor, a middle-aged woman who moved to the city in 2006.

The project is funded through a combination of a grant from the African Development Fund (ADF), the concessional financing window of the Bank, and a concessional loan from the ADF-administered Transition Support Facility.It has lit up government offices, hotels, and factories and helped to power public services such as water, health and educational institutions.

“It was an embarrassment for Juba, the seat of government, not to have reliable electricity. Juba was once referred to as the city of darkness. This project has changed that and given the city a facelift. The network is reaching the common people, and it has improved small businesses and rejuvenated commercial activities,” said Jacob Deng, Director General, Planning  and Projects at the South Sudan Electricity Corporation.

 “It has also improved security,” he added. “Many businesses now stay open till late as a result of improved security. This is one of the best projects in the country.”

The project is due to be completed at the end of  2020 and will consist of a 145 km medium voltage distribution line and a 250 km low voltage distribution line with 145 new transformers installed. At least a total of 20,000 domestic and commercial consumers will be connected, with access to five new customer service centres.

“The electricity supply situation in Juba was very bad. It comprised a small grid of 6 MW covering parts of Juba. Demand was very high. Things are better now, covering more households. Work is still ongoing, but those connected so far are very happy,” said Michael Wani Aringo, a project engineer who has lived in the city for 10 years.

The Juba Power Distribution System Rehabilitation and Expansion Project is the Bank’s first energy operation in South Sudan and follows years of conflict in the country. The rehabilitation of the electricity sector will unlock economic potential to spur growth and development. The upgrade of the network will gradually be rolled out to other cities and eventually connected to neighbouring countries.

*AFDB

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Zimbabwe: African Development Bank approves $13.7 million to strengthen health system, boost anti-COVID-19 efforts
May 22, 2020 | 0 Comments
A woman is screened by a healthcare worker before visiting a relative at a public hospital in Harare [Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP Photo]

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank has approved a $13.7 million grant to finance the COVID-19 response in Zimbabwe. The funds will provide an immediate lifeline for targeted frontline responders and health personnel and boost the country’s Global Health Security Index in the wake of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Approval for the grant was made on May 13, after a request from the Zimbabwe Government. The funds, from the African Development Fund (ADF) 14 Transition Support Facility, will go to Zimbabwe’s COVID-19 Response Project (CRP), which aims to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on a country which is facing many economic and social challenges.

The CRP will focus on 15 high-density urban suburbs in Harare the capital, satellite townships and targeted health facilities in other areas of the country.

Activities under the project include boosting capacity in COVID-19 prevention and management protocols for healthcare personnel and populations in targeted regions, and increasing access to COVID-19 hand washing facilities in Harare, satellite townships and other affected regions.

The project will also supply COVID-19 medical equipment and laboratory test kits, personal protective equipment (PPEs); set up handwashing facilities through rehabilitation/construction of boreholes; and training of healthcare personnel and laboratory technicians at community level on COVID-19 prevention and case management protocols.

The project  which will be implemented by the World Health Organization, with the country’s Ministry of Health and Child Care acting as executing agency, is expected to directly benefit over 680,000 people. It will leverage on planned activities to contribute to strengthening the resilience of the health system, while protecting the livelihoods of the vulnerable population in Zimbabwe beyond the end of the pandemic.

Zimbabwe is currently facing additional vulnerability challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The nation like many other across the globe, has responded with a raft of measures aimed at containing the spread of the virus, including restricting movement of people and ordering social distancing in public places like shopping malls and public transport. The country’s current national lockdown includes school closures, restricted movement of people, restricted business operating times and the closure of pubs, restaurants and churches. Public gatherings have been limited to 50 people.

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Madagascar: Government of Madagascar gets Euro 4 million from African Development Fund for Sahofika hydropower project
May 22, 2020 | 0 Comments

The Sahofika project is located on the Onive River, 100 km southeast of the capital Antananarivo

The African Development Fund has approved a 4.02 million euro loan with a grant component to finance the Government of Madagascar’s 30 million euro equity investment in the Sahofika hydropower project, which will generate affordable, clean energy benefitting some 8 million people.

The Sahofika project is located on the Onive River, 100 km southeast of the capital Antananarivo. It entails the construction of a 205 MW hydroelectric power plant on a Build-Own-Operate-Transfer basis and includes the construction and rehabilitation of 110 km of access roads and construction of a 75 km, 220 kV transmission line. Once commissioned, the Sahofika project is expected to contribute to the avoidance of 900,000 tons of CO2 equivalent annually.

The government has committed to plough back the returns from the project to reduce electricity tariffs for the people of Madagascar.

Additional funding for the project is expected to come from the European Union and the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa

“The support to the Sahofika project exemplifies the Bank’s commitment to delivering quality, affordable energy access across the continent for sustainable and inclusive growth, while helping member countries to responsibly harness their vast, yet underdeveloped renewable energy resources. As the largest hydro power project under development in the country, the Sahofika project will unlock Madagascar’s hydropower potential, and diversify its energy mix in favour of renewable at 90%”, said Dr. Kevin Kariuki, the Bank’s Vice-President for Power, Energy, Climate Change & Green Growth.

In December 2019, acting as Mandated Lead Arranger, the Bank approved a Partial Risk Guarantee of $100 million towards the Sahofika project to mitigate liquidity risk. The Bank is also supporting the Power Transmission Network Reinforcement and Interconnection Project, aimed at reinforcing and expanding Madagascar’s transmission network in order to  evacuate the additional power generated by this large hydro project.

“The Sahofika project is a cornerstone of the Bank’s strong support to the power sector in Madagascar. The commissioning of Sahofika would enable national utility (JIRAMA) to save around 100 million euros annually in fuel costs, while phasing out the need for state subsidies,” said Mohamed Cherif, the Bank’s Country Manager for Madagascar.

The Sahofika project is aligned with the Bank’s New Deal on Energy for Africa, and the Bank’s Climate Change Action Plan, whose collective goals include expanding green energy infrastructure for sustainable and inclusive growth. It is also in line with the Government of Madagascar’s energy policy.

The African Development Fund (ADF) is the concessional financing window of the Bank Group that provides low-income Regional Member Countries (RMCs) with concessional loans and grants in support of projects that spur poverty reduction.

*AFDB
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Kenya: €188m African Development Bank loan to boost COVID-19 response
May 22, 2020 | 0 Comments
President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya and AfDB President Dr. Adesina Akinwumi at the 51st Annual Meeting of the African Development Bank
The loan will extend additional resources to Kenya as the country takes steps to contain the spread of the pandemic and deal with its unprecedented impact

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank today approved an €188 million loan to support the Government of Kenya’s efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigate the related economic, health and social impacts.

The loan will extend additional resources to Kenya as the country takes steps to contain the spread of the pandemic and deal with its unprecedented impact. It follows a request by the Government of Kenya, as part of its COVID-19 Emergency Response intervention, to help contain the scourge.

The Bank’s support will strengthen the national health system to effectively respond to the pandemic, build economic resilience and ensure quick recovery. The Bank’s intervention will also be used to support the poor and vulnerable people who have been negatively affected by the pandemic.

“We are very pleased to join other development partners in supporting the Government of Kenya’s efforts in mitigating the financial impact of the pandemic, especially in terms of the country’s expenditure in the health, social and economic sectors. The next step will focus on helping build resilience for post COVID-19,” the Bank’s Acting Director General for East Africa, Nnenna Nwabufo, noted.

Since Kenya’s first  COVID-19 infection was confirmed on 12 March 2020, cases have risen to over 1,000, while the number of recoveries and deaths are 375 and 50, respectively, as of 22 May 2020. The pandemic is placing significant pressure on an already stretched healthcare system. It has disrupted supply chains and caused job losses in the tourism, hospitality, horticulture and airline industries, among others.

In addition, informal and self-employed workers have also lost their livelihoods due to the impact of the pandemic.

The government’s response to the pandemic has been swift and multi-faceted, covering a range of measures including health-related containment measures, protection of the poor and vulnerable, provision of support to local businesses and to sustaining jobs. The Bank’s intervention, through the COVID-19 Emergency Response Support Program, is designed to support these measures.

As a result of demand and supply shocks, Kenya’s real GDP growth is projected to fall to between 0.6 and 1.4 percent from the initial 2020 projection of 6 percent.

In April, the Bank extended an emergency grant to help countries in the East and Horn of Africa, including Kenya, that are contending with swarms of locusts that are threatening food security. Kenya is facing its worst swarms in 70 years. In Ethiopia and Somalia, the outbreak is the worst in 25 years.

*AFDB
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African Development Bank approves €40 million in grants for bridge linking Cameroon and Chad
May 7, 2020 | 0 Comments

The grants, comprising a €20.785 million tranche for Cameroon and €19.215 million for Chad, were approved on 30 April 2020

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group (www.AfDB.org) has approved grants worth €40.94 million for the construction of a bridge to connect Cameroon and Chad across the Logone river.

The grants, comprising a €20.785 million tranche for Cameroon and €19.215 million for Chad, were approved on 30 April 2020. The facility is from the Investment Facility for Africa under a framework agreement between the Bank Group and the European Commission.

The funds will co-finance the costs of construction of the bridge between Yagoua in Cameroon and Bongor in Chad, access roads and feasibility studies, management said in a report to the Board.

The bridge, once completed,  is expected to bolster bilateral and sub-regional integration and cross-border trade, safeguard life and property during the river crossing  and boost socio-cultural ties between the two countries.

“Specifically, the project aims to promote interstate trade, particularly between Cameroon and Chad, reduce travel time and transportation costs, and improve accessibility of basic services by nearby communities,” the report noted.

In addition to the Logone river bridge, other projects under the Pillar Assessed Grant or Delegation Agreement (PAGODA) include the rehabilitation of the Lome-Cotonou road, road development and transport facilitation on the Bamako-San Pedro corridor between Mali and Côte d’Ivoire and the rehabilitation of the CU2a community road section in Burkina Faso near the border with Niger.

The Bank and the European Commission are committed to co-financing development projects that tackle poverty by investing in critical infrastructure to promote seamless connectivity of transport, energy and ICT.

*AFDB





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Africa50 donates US$800,000, joins African Countries to help fight COVID-19
May 5, 2020 | 0 Comments

We stand in complete solidarity with all African nations and all our stakeholders around the world during these uncertain times, says Mr. Alain Ebobissé, CEO of Africa50
Given the likely long-term effects of the pandemic, Africa50’s COVID-19 Relief Support Initiative will have three phases

Announces a grant of US$300,000 to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) for the purchase of test kits and other medical equipment and to mobilize frontline responders; provides US$500,000 to fund other targeted infection control and prevention activities in several African countries.

Africa50 , the pan-African infrastructure investment platform, has announced its COVID-19 Relief Support Initiative, which aims to support the continent’s fight against the pandemic. Under this initiative, Africa50 is providing US$800,000 to help contain the spread of the virus and minimize its impact. Given the likely long-term effects of the pandemic, Africa50’s COVID-19 Relief Support Initiative will have three phases, as follows:

The first phase focuses on helping countries deal with immediate public health needs through in-kind and cash donations. It comprises a US$300,000 grant to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC), which will be used specifically for the purchase of test kits and other medical equipment and to mobilize frontline responders, as highlighted in the Africa Joint Continental Strategy for COVID-19 led by the African Union, through Africa CDC.

In addition, Africa50 is donating US$500,000 to fund other targeted infection control and prevention activities in several African countries.
The second phase will focus on technology-enabled solutions that help address the unprecedented demand for digital health innovations, which was triggered by the pandemic. To that effect, Africa50 will support the deployment of digital solutions, as part of its Innovation Challenge, an initiative launched in 2019 to increase internet connectivity access in under-served areas in Africa.

The third phase will concentrate on medium to longer term solutions to support economic recovery and stabilization, including the implementation of major infrastructure projects.

On the occasion of this announcement, Mr. Alain Ebobissé, CEO of Africa50, said “We stand in complete solidarity with all African nations and all our stakeholders around the world during these uncertain times. Beyond the tragic loss of human lives, the pandemic is projected to result in a decline in Africa’s GDP growth between 3 and 8 percent.”

He underlined Africa’s vulnerability to this new, rapidly evolving environment and stressed the need for diligent, impactful responses and continental cooperation. “Governments, the private sector, development institutions, and civil society have acted quickly, both to limit the spread of the virus and to prop up economies. Africa50 will play its part.”, he said.

“If we work together, we can limit the damage of the pandemic. This crisis underlines once again the urgency of improving the continent’s infrastructure to ensure that people can enjoy productive, happy, and healthy lives. We must therefore also continue to develop our project pipeline and evaluate new ones, as we prepare to support the continent’s recovery”, he added.

Africa50 is an infrastructure investment platform that contributes to Africa’s growth by developing and investing in bankable projects, catalyzing public sector capital, and mobilizing private sector funding, with differentiated financial returns and impact. Africa50’s investor base is currently composed of 28 African countries, the African Development Bank, the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO), and Bank Al-Maghrib.

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