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The Akatsi-Akanu road project stimulates trade and improves livelihoods in Ghana and Togo – report
August 14, 2020 | 0 Comments

The reconstruction of the Akatsi-Akanu road, completed in 2013, has stimulated trade between Ghana and neighbouring Togo, helping to alleviate poverty. More importantly, it has improved the livelihoods of many women living along the international route, according to a report by the African Development Bank, which funded the project.

This road is an important international route that needed urgent attention to facilitate regional integration between the two neighbours. The Bank provided a concessional loan of $27.8 million for the reconstruction.

The project’s scope initially included two sections, comprising a 30 km Akatsi-Dzodze-Akanu stretch in south-eastern Ghana and Akanu-Noepé in south-western Togo. This was later reduced to cover only the Akatsi-Dzodze-Akanu portion and a bridge over the Aka River along the border.

The works included the construction of a 30 km two-lane asphalt concrete road with a 7.3m carriageway. It incorporated improvements to road safety and two 2-meter wide shoulders from Akatsi to Akanu in addition to the concrete bridge over the Aka river.

The new road has yielded a 55% reduction in transport costs and a 20% decrease in travel time. Motorists using the road say their vehicles no longer break down as often. The costs of vehicle repairs incurred by commercial transport operators are usually passed on to passengers. 

“Merchants have indicated that due to the reduction in travel time, they can sell their goods in several centers over a week. This road could become the favored means of transporting merchandise to and from Togo, Benin, and Nigeria,” the report noted.

The report shows there are residual benefits from the project. “Women have benefited greatly from the project, given the numerous markets that it yielded along the road, and the high number of women that are engaged in the sale of food products such as vegetables, fruit, fish, and handicrafts. It has also improved vehicle availability to health centers and educational facilities, as well as markets,” the report states.

The Akatsi-Dzodze-Akanu road is part of the ECOWAS transregional highway network (Abidjan-Lagos corridor). It supports national, regional, and international traffic, and promotes economic development and regional trade and integration.

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Awakening the entrepreneurial spirit of every young African is key to continent’s future, development leaders agree
August 14, 2020 | 0 Comments

The African Development Bank joined a number of development leaders in calling for greater support of youth entrepreneurship during a virtual event organized by the Tony Elumelu Foundation. The webinar was timed to coincide with International Youth Day, which fell on Wednesday 12 August, 2020.

“Africa is young, and we need to do whatever it takes to empower our youth because they are the future of the continent,” said the Bank’s Acting Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Wambui Gichuri, a featured speaker.  “Entrepreneurship is an essential part in addressing Africa’s employment challenge and where we need to put our focus.”

The webinar, themed Investing in Africa’s Future: Youth Empowerment Through Entrepreneurship, invited a range of private and public sector representatives to discuss the challenges young African entrepreneurs face, and more broadly the continent’s economic future, in light of the ongoing pandemic. The event was part of an ongoing series the Foundation has been hosting.

The population of Africans aged 18-35 is expected to hit 830 million people by 2050, creating a youth bulge which experts predict could create a corps of young workers to fuel the continent’s long-term economic growth, but also poses immense job-creation challenges.   

“Africa is the epicenter for the economic devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now is the time to come together and rethink and reimagine our commitment to young African entrepreneurs,” said Ifeyinwa Ugochukwu, the Foundation’s CEO and panel moderator. “Investing in our future means awaking the entrepreneurial spirit of every young person on the continent.”

Also on the panel was 22-year-old Leroy Mwasaru, founder of Greenpact, a Kenyan alternative renewable energy startup. An alumni of the Elumelu Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Program, Mwasaru expressed a desire to see greater communication and sharing of lessons learned among small and medium enterprises.   

The Entrepreneurship Program, which offers job skills, mentoring and funding to African entrepreneurs, in 2019 agreed a partnership with the Bank, which has provided $5 million in seed capital for the initiative. The Bank’s Director of Human Capital, Youth and Skills Development, also on the panel, praised the role of such partnerships in creating jobs on the continent:

“The Bank’s investment enabled the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship program to scale up and reach an additional 1,000 entrepreneurs in 38 African countries,” said Director Martha Phiri. “Let us give skills to our youth and also provide them with the necessary support to prove their business concepts, so that they can start, grow and scale their businesses in order to create jobs – not just for themselves, but for others.”

Phiri also mentioned the Bank’s AfricaVsVirus ideathon, which will provide training, mentoring and investment opportunities to African youth who developed the most promising solutions to address COVID-19 pandemic related challenges.

Joining Gichuri, Phiri and Mwasaru on the panel were: Shoroke Zedan, Chairperson, World Skills Egypt; Bilikiss Adebiyi-Abiola, Founder of Wecyclers Nigeria and Ebube Emodi, Tony Elumelu Foundation Events Manager and Executive Associate.

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The African Development Bank and partners’ digital Coding For Employment program is ensuring African youth are competitive in the global digital economy
August 14, 2020 | 0 Comments
Martha Oyanta Daniel- co-founder of Eagles Advocacy
Martha Oyanta Daniel- co-founder of Eagles Advocacy

With the passing of UN International Youth Day this week, we take a look at a bold initiative for Africa’s youth bulge

Nigerian Odetola Olashile Oluwapelumi has filled out her share of job applications. The young, new mother graduated with a Communication and Language degree, but says finding work that put her education to use was a struggle.

“I’ve gone for different [job] interviews, but in the long run – they just find something to disqualify you and that’s it,” Oluwapelumi says.

Then, the 31-year old heard about a digital skills training program through her church, that offers youth demand-driven internet and communications technology skills (ICT), then links them to ICT and ICT-related job opportunities. The African Development Bank and Microsoft’s Coding for Employment was set up to be available online, on mobile devices, as well as in centers of excellence classrooms in Kenya, Rwanda, Senegal, Cote d’Ivoire – and in Nigeria.

Oluwapelumi signed up for the Coding for Employment platform, completing a selection of free technical courses such as web development, design, data science and digital marketing. Soon after, she says, she got hired to do remote work for an online image company.

“The training has been beneficial to me,” Oluwapelumi says. “As a nursing mother…[being] able to work online from home…has helped me to be able to support the family.”

Oluwapelumi is one of more than 23,000 youth who have completed Coding For Employment’s month-long courses since its launch in 2018. The initiative is the Bank’s response to global digital transformation moving at such a fast pace that disadvantaged communities, including African unemployed youth, are at high risk of exclusion and marginalization. And the COVID-19 pandemic isn’t deterring the program from its mission: to help bridge the ICT skills gap among unemployed youth and help them be innovators in the global digital economy.

“The impact of COVID-19 is challenging the convention of a 9-to-5 office job – pushing the world to adapt to remote work driven by digital communication,” says Martha Phiri, Director of the Bank’s Human Capital Department. “Digital skills offered through Coding 4 Employment are equipping African youth with the tools to be more attractive job candidates, and the initiative is part of the solution helping African nations build back better, post-pandemic,” she added.

COVID-related school closures, national lockdowns and restriction of movement  led Coding for Employment to adapt its in-person training classes to an online eLearning platform. The program collaborated with Microsoft to train online class facilitators. Last week, Coding for Employment celebrated its first group students in Nigeria who completed the online program with a virtual graduation ceremony.

*AFDB

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‘Africa’s outlook is positive,’ African Development Bank tells Indian investors and officials
August 14, 2020 | 0 Comments

The groundwork has been laid for Indian investors who are looking to invest in Africa.

During a recent virtual conference hosted by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and its partners, officials called for Indo-African partnerships to go beyond government-to-government cooperation and promote private sector participation in order to accelerate Africa’s development.

The Conference on Innovative Financing Mechanisms for Doing Business with Africa took place on 30 July 2020 and attracted more than 600 participants from over 45 countries. Besides Africa and India, there were also participants from the Middle East, Europe, and Asia, representing businesses, governments, financial institutions, and business promotion agencies.

Akhilesh Mishra, India’s Additional Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs, urged the private sector to consider investing in youth and startups because those sectors have enormous potential for employment generation.  He noted that, aside from the long-term funding traditionally provided as official development assistance, African countries will require more targeted short-term financing.

Bajabulile Swazi Tshabalala, Acting Senior Vice President and CFO of the African Development Bank Group, highlighted business potential in Africa, noting that the continent had great prospects for investors, with a growing consumer market that Indian firms cannot afford to miss.

“The positive outlook for Africa is reinforced by the establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which seeks to deepen regional integration across the continent and allow the free movement of people and trade across borders,” Tshabalala said.

Tshabalala said there was a tremendous opportunity for Indian industry to work together with the Bank in sectors such as power generation and transmission, energy, agricultural transformation, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, technology, transportation, and industrialization.

The Bank is seeking to expand the number of bankable projects in Africa and has set aside $100 million for project preparation activities in low-income countries. It is also keen to mobilize greater private sector participation in these projects from all countries, she added.

David Rasquinha, Managing Director of the Export-Import Bank of India, underscored the need to expand Indian financial inflows to Africa by expanding the Indian banking network. He said India and Africa could work together in areas such as healthcare and pharmaceuticals, the financial sector and infrastructure development.

Nana Spio-Garbrah, chief financing analyst from the African Development Bank’s syndications, co-financing and client solutions department, spoke on the Bank’s capacity to mitigate risk for foreign investors, especially during this era of COVID-19.

Spio-Garbrah also talked about the Bank’s Partial Risk Guarantee (PRG) and Partial Credit Guarantee (PCG), which has been upgraded to meet client needs better. She mentioned the Bank’s syndication services, particularly the A/B loan product, which allows B-lenders to benefit from the Bank’s Preferred Creditor Status. She also mentioned the Co-Guarantee Platform – a new cooperative of four risk mitigation providers and the African Union, which collectively pools their capacities to de-risk African projects. 

Takashi Hanajiri, head of the African Development Bank’s Asia External Representation Office made a presentation on the partnership between India and the Bank, and the Bank’s COVID-19 Response Facility. Hanajiri pointed out the huge potential of the Africa Investment Forum and encouraged Indian partners to participate to find investment opportunities in Africa.

The panelists also included representatives from ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development, and ABSA Bank, who introduced their financial services and products. Escorts Limited, one of India’s leading engineering companies, talked on the trilateral partnership between India, Japan, and Africa in the agriculture sector.

The conference was supported by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, the African Development Bank, the Export-Import Bank of India, and other organizations.

The African Development Bank and India have a long-standing strategic partnership dating back almost 40 years to 1982, when India first joined the African Development Fund (ADF), the concessional arm of the Bank Group. A year later the country became a shareholder of the African Development Bank.

*AFDB

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Statement from the Dean of the African Diplomatic Corps in the United States of America about Dr Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB)
July 29, 2020 | 0 Comments
Ambassador Serge Mombouli is urging the US to throw its weight behind Adesina now that the probe has cleared him of wrongdoing .Photo credit Allo Africa News
Ambassador Serge Mombouli is urging the US to throw its weight behind Adesina now that the probe has cleared him of wrongdoing .Photo credit Allo Africa News
On behalf of the African Diplomatic Corps, His Excellency Serge Mombouli, warmly thanks the panel led by Mary Robinson for their excellent work.

Dr. AKINWUMI ADESINA, President of African Development Bank (AfDB) has now been completely exonerated and of any wrongdoing by a high level panel of eminent persons led by Her Excellency Mary Robinson, former President of the Republic of Ireland. The panel was established to review the report by the Ethics Committee of the Boards of Directors of the African Development Bank that had previously reached the same conclusion that Dr. ADESINA had not engaged in unethical practices or misconduct.

On behalf of the African Diplomatic Corps, His Excellency Serge Mombouli, warmly thanks the panel led by Mary Robinson for their excellent work; congratulates Dr. AKINWUMI ADESINA, President of the African Development Bank Group, and commends him for his visionary leadership and the outstanding development results attained by the Bank under his tenure.

He notes that the election of the President of the African Development Bank is planned to take place on August 27. 2020 and calls for the re-election of Dr. Adesina be done in unison by acclamation. Dr. Adesina is the sole candidate and has received the full endorsement of the African Union.

Ambassador Serge Mombouli, Dean of the African Diplomatic Corps, further extends his appreciation to the Board of Directors, the Ethics Committee of the Boards of Directors, and the Bureau of the Board of Governors of the African Development Bank for their courage and maturity in establishing an independent and transparent process, which confirms the excellent governance of the Bank.

The African Diplomatic Corps accredited to the United States urges the United States of America, the largest non-regional shareholder, and all other shareholders, to continue to strongly support the President of the Bank and the African Development Bank Group, going forward, especially at this period of global Covid-19 pandemic.

The African Development Bank will continue to play a crucial role in bringing African economies back on the trajectory of growth and sustainable development.
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Conversation with Marieme Esther Dassanou, Coordinator of the African Development Bank’s Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa programme
July 29, 2020 | 0 Comments
Marieme Esther Dassanou
Marieme Esther Dassanou
She previously led IFC’s Gender Secretariat’s work on advancing women’s inclusion in the insurance and financial sectors.

Marieme Esther Dassanou is the Coordinator of Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) the African Development Bank’s flagship pan-African initiative, which aims to bridge the $42 billion financing gap facing women entrepreneurs in Africa.

She previously led IFC’s Gender Secretariat’s work on advancing women’s inclusion in the insurance and financial sectors.

In this interview, she outlines progress made with the AFAWA initiative and its future plans.

You recently joined the African Development Bank as AFAWA coordinator. Can you tell us more about the initiative?

AFAWA is a pan-African initiative launched by the African Development Bank at its Annual Meeting in Lusaka, Zambia in May 2016 to promote gender-inclusive financing and unlock the women entrepreneurship potential in Africa. Through AFAWA, the Bank seeks to bridge the $42 billion financing gap faced by women-empowered businesses (WEBs) by deploying financing instruments better suited to addressing their finance needs for the growth of their businesses.

These financial instruments are coupled with technical assistance to financial institutions to better address the needs of WEBs as well as capacity building for women entrepreneurs to increase their profitability and bankability. AFAWA also includes a business-enabling environment component to ensure regulation is conducive to enhancing the ability of financial institutions to lend to women. Through AFAWA the Bank aims to unlock up to $ 5 billion in the next five to six years.

Why is it important for the Bank to have such a vehicle or mechanism in place?

The development and growth of women-owned businesses on the continent is a priority for the African Development Bank. The continent’s women entrepreneurs start businesses faster than anywhere else in the world, and in most countries represent at least 30% of formally registered businesses. Taking into account the informal economy, one could comfortably say that women represent the largest part of the SME sector. Thus, aiming to develop our continent without them would not make economic sense. They are fundamental and key drivers of sustainable economic growth and widespread and inclusive prosperity.

It is important to support these businesses to grow by ensuring they have the financial and business tools they need. AFAWA, through its Guarantee for Growth programme, supported by the G7, the Netherlands, Sweden and Rwanda, is a good starting point. Implemented together with the Africa Guarantee Fund, the programme reduces the guarantee requirements for women when they need a loan. AGF is a pan-African financial institution that provides financial institutions with guarantees and other products specifically intended to support small and medium-sized enterprises in Africa. Together, we will work with financial institutions to enhance their understanding of women entrepreneurs and their different risks, which should be considered in the development of financial services for women.

The Bank is also further leveraging its lines of credit, trade finance lines and investment in equity funds to increase access to finance for WEBs of a certain size even more. The partnership signed with the Women Entrepreneurship Finance Initiative (We-Fi) supports the Bank in increasing it financial coverage for women entrepreneurs through these traditional instruments, as well as increase trading opportunities for women entrepreneurs and grow the fashion and creative industries.

What are the commitments so far?

The program has so far received commitments from G7 members, including France, the UK, Canada, Italy and Germany, as well as the Netherlands, Sweden and Rwanda. AFAWA has also received its first tranche of funding from We-Fi , a portion of which will go towards enhancing to the capacity of women-owned businesses to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.

We invite other governments, especially our regional member countries, to partner with us in helping to bridge the finance gap for women-run businesses in Africa.

On the implementation front, what ground has been covered?

We’ve made great progress since the G7 Biarritz Summit last year. On 31 March 2020, the Board of Directors of the African Development Bank approved the two mechanisms that will enable us to de-risk women-led businesses and increase their ability to access to loans with lighter collateral requirements. We’ve been slightly delayed by COVID-19, but we expect that the Guarantee for Growth Programme will be operational before the end of 2020.

In the meantime, we are leveraging the Bank’s lines of credit, trade finance and equity funds to enable women to access funds and grow their businesses. The Bank is also ensuring that the SME component of its COVID-19 Rapid Response Facility (CRF) package, has a part specifically dedicated to women businesses. The Bank is also exploring opportunities to work with equity funds in enhancing the ability of women enterprises to further participate in the COVID-19 response to increase their operations and production.

Who is eligible to borrow?

It’s not only about borrowing. The access to finance gap is in part due to the inability of women-owned and led businesses to access funding, their lack of skills in presenting financially viable businesses, and an environment that is not always conducive to increasing women’s access to financial services. The AFAWA approach addresses all these areas. Thus, depending on their needs, women entrepreneurs will be eligible at different levels including access to finance for those with viable and bankable projects and also access to training and capacity building for those who may not yet be eligible to borrow but could improve their financial management skills, record keeping, marketing and any other area to enhance their bankability. 

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Zambia: From mine to field: agriculture project helps youth turn away from copper and live off the land
July 29, 2020 | 0 Comments

In Zambia’s Serenje district, young Zambians are being offered a ray of hope in the form of an agriculture project that is both an alternative to copper mining as a path out of poverty and a key element of the Zambian government’s strategy to diversify its economy away from a heavy dependence on copper.

Sylvia Chafungwa, a young woman living in Serenje in central Zambia, is a farmer and the treasurer of one of its farmers’ associations. A few months ago, the community’s entire workforce turned to agriculture after Zambia’s economy hit a downturn as a result of a copper price plunge triggered by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The Agriculture Productivity and Market Enhancement Project (APMEP) program, Chafungwa says, helped her to better cultivate maize, soy and rice on land she inherited from her father. “We realized that agriculture can put food on our table and offer us a sustainable source of income. So we all became farmers,” she said.

The APMEP initiative is financed by the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP), a Financial Intermediary Fund hosted within the World Bank Group. GAFSP provided $31.13 million in grant funds to the Zambian government for APMEP, and the African Development Bank disbursed the money and provided technical expertise.

APMEP is developing irrigation schemes, intensifying agricultural mechanization, promoting conservation agriculture, crop diversification, and enhanced aquaculture and livestock development in Zambia as part of an integrated agriculture value chain development under the Ministry of Agriculture. The project contributes to economic growth and poverty reduction by enhancing food security, incomes, and nutrition among participating households.

The Bank’s Director of Agriculture and Agro-Industry Martin Fregene, said, “GAFSP has provided farmers with ways to improve their livelihoods and created employment, especially for vulnerable people like women and youth in rural areas.”

In Serenje, APMEP is planning construction of four irrigation schemes on more than 2,000 hectares of land. These will provide adequate water for farmers like Chafungwa and her community to carry out conservation agriculture, a farming system that promotes minimum soil disturbance and promotes cultivation of diverse crops throughout the year.

Before the new infrastructure was installed, the project supported rain-fed crop cultivation in the 2018 and 2019 seasons. During this time, APMEP trained farmers in crop management  and offered opportunities to earn income by weeding and harvesting the crops. Farmers are now implementing the techniques they learned on their own fields. The farmers’ association in Serenje owns the irrigation scheme and operates it commercially, under the leadership of a scheme manager.

Since the beginning of the program, 62,000 people – about 56% of them women – have benefitted from the project.

“This project is making transformational impact on livelihoods among community members in terms of food security and income. It has really changed people’s mindset on agriculture as a business, especially in the central districts of the project,” said Sylvester Mwanza, APMEP’s National Project Coordinator.

The initiative is part of a longer-term drive by Zambia’s government to diversify its economy away from copper. At its peak, copper accounted for 70% of Zambia’s foreign exchange earnings and close to 30% of government revenue. But following the 2008 global economic crisis, copper prices plunged by two-thirds – prompting the government to invest more in sustainable resources like agriculture.

Bank agricultural specialists assisted the APMEP team with the project implementation and provided tools and technical expertise in best practices and inputs. Philip Boahen, Chief Agriculture Policy Economist at the Bank and Coordinator of the GAFSP Portfolio, said the training that Chafungwa and her community received have enabled them to build a sustainable agri-business by making the most of improved seeds, fertilizers, irrigation infrastructure and financing.

“It is life changing and I can see all the benefits of this project for me, my family, and the whole community in Serenje,” said Chafungwa, adding that she hopes her association will soon be able to buy more tractors and other farm equipment.

The African Development Bank, as the supervising entity of the GAFSP program in Africa, offers technical support in 12 countries: Liberia, Kenya, Gambia, Senegal, Mali, Benin, Malawi, Niger, Tanzania, Central Africa Republic, Cote d’Ivoire and Zambia, with a total portfolio value of $372.43 million.

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For 20 million Africans first-time access to clean water is proving crucial amid COVID-19
July 29, 2020 | 0 Comments

From Mozambique in the south to Morocco in the north, 20 million people in rural and urban areas of Africa have gained access to clean drinking water for the first time, thanks to African Development Bank projects.

report by the Bank’s Independent Development Evaluation (IDEV) unit, which studied projects carried out since 2005, provides key lessons for improving the Bank’s water sector interventions and accelerating the longer-term transformation of Africa’s agriculture and health sector.

IDEV conducted four evaluations related to the water sector: three project cluster evaluations (water supply and sanitation in both rural and urban contexts, and agricultural water management) and one water sector evaluation.

These evaluations summarize the evidence, findings and lessons learned between 2005 and 2016, covering more than 400 operations across the continent with a total project cost of UA 6 billion ($8.2 billion).  

Access to safe water and sanitation is particularly important in this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, since the spread of the virus can be mitigated by good hygiene practices. Agricultural water management can also help African farmers to optimize production and reduce the pandemic’s negative impact on food security and nutrition.

Beneficiaries were key to the success of the projects, the report found. The extent and quality of collaboration with local stakeholders matters. In Ghana, for instance, there was active participation by over 600,000 community members in the various project activities thanks to raising awareness and understanding the demand-driven approach. 

The evaluation also identified some barriers to the success of a water sector intervention. For example, outcomes can be undermined by poor service delivery, insufficient human capacity, limited financing and performance of the sanitation and hygiene component or lack of appropriate assessment of critical water sector risks.

Overall, having a long-term view is paramount for determining the success of water interventions. These lessons can provide some quick responses to the ongoing COVID-19 and food security crisis, and accelerate longer-term transformation of Africa’s agriculture and health sector.

Ensuring reliable access to clean water for drinking and handwashing can reduce the transmission of the coronavirus. But today, about 2.2 billion people lack access to safely managed water supply, and most of these are in Africa’s poorest regions.

In addition, over 750 million Africans lack access to improved sanitation. These water and sanitation challenges are likely to be further compounded by Africa’s looming climate change crisis.

To address these challenges, the Bank has invested UA 4.5 billion ($6.2 billion) over the past ten years towards promoting universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water and adequate and equitable sanitation — one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG 6).

According to IDEV’s evaluation report, the Bank’s projects in agricultural water management played a role in reducing the drudgery of fetching water for domestic and agricultural use, and in increasing productivity and diversity of crops.

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Road to Annual Meetings: South African villagers find fresh water in ancient mountain springs
July 29, 2020 | 0 Comments

The village of Tsakhuma in the Vhembe district of South Africa’s Limpopo region is proof positive that communities can find solutions to their problems. Like many rural areas in South Africa, Tsakhuma lacked access to water for bathing, cooking, washing and chores, and the burden of fetching water fell on its girls and women.

“There was a general water shortage all over Tsakhuma,” says villager Florence Negondeni. “We would sometimes go for weeks without access to water.”

The problem arose, in Negondeni’s view, when district municipal authorities installed a new water scheme in Tsakhuma without consulting community members. The new system lacked a maintenance plan, and breakdowns contributed to water scarcity. Fed up with the situation, Negondeni began to study the history of the community and region for clues that might improve its water security. Shortages “made me think about ancient areas in the mountains, where our people used to get water,” she says.

Villagers discovered a number of springs in the mountains nearby. After undertaking a cost analysis of equipment to supply water from the springs to the village, the community members pooled funds to buy it, and  set up their water scheme.

The African Water Facility, hosted and managed by the African Development Bank, supported the establishment of the community scheme, which has water reserves for more than a year, at a cost of about $7,850. The sum was raised from the 113 village households. “On a monthly basis, the community members contribute R20 (approximately $1.50) each to maintain and service the pipeline,” Florence added.

South Africa’s Water Research Commission (WRC), which funds, facilitates and disseminates research on water-related innovation, invited Florence to present her project. The Commission has since begun mobilizing financing to roll out similar initiatives. As a result, Tsakhuma now has 11 communal groups, led by women, that supply 4,000 people with water for multiples uses.

“Tsakhuma is a model for community-based solutions to water supply in rural and peri-urban areas,” says Omari Mwinjaka, coordinator of the African Water Facility. “We are working with partners to implement, up-scale and replicate this model to other areas in Africa.”

The African Water Facility provided $1.45 million in grant funding to The Water Research Commission to assess the benefits of community-driven water planning. Funds will also go to implementing multiple use water systems in six villages in Limpopo’s Vhembe and Sekhukhune districts, which are among the country’s poorest.

The African Water Facility, founded in 2004, is wholly Africa-owned and managed, and is the only Project Preparation Facility operating in Africa that focuses exclusively on the water and sanitation sector. Since 2006, AWF has funded 119 projects at a cost of €167 million across the continent and mobilized  over €1.5 billion in downstream investment.

 “One of the African Water Facility’s objectives is to deploy small but catalytic investments, or provide seed funding to projects that can be replicated or piloted using innovative or alternative business models and technologies aimed at helping communities – especially women and children – improve their quality of life, create employment, and reduce stunting in children,” said Wambui Gichuri, the Bank’s Acting Vice President Agriculture, Human and Social Development, African Development Bank Group.

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Adesina Completely Exonerated by High Level Independent Review Panel led by former Irish President Mary Robinson
July 28, 2020 | 0 Comments
Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina
Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina
In January 2020, sixteen allegations of ethical misconduct were levelled against Adesina by a group of whistleblowers.

A much awaited report by an Independent Review Panel has completely exonerated the President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina of any ethical wrongdoings.

The Independent Review Panel was set up by the Bureau of Governors of the Bank, following a complaint by the United States, to review the process by which two previous organs of the Bank – the Ethics Committee of the Board, and the Bureau of the Board of Governors – had previously exonerated Adesina.

The distinguished three-member Independent Review Panel include Mary Robinson, who is a former President of the Republic of Ireland, a former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the Chairperson of the Elders, a global body of wise persons concerned with the world’s wellbeing; the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Gambia, Mr. Hassan B. Jallow; and Mr. Leonard F. McCarthy, a former Director of Public Prosecutions, a former Director for the Office of Serious Economic Offences, and a former Head of the Directorate of Special Operations of South Africa. He also served as the Vice President of Integrity for the World Bank for nine years.

In January 2020, sixteen allegations of ethical misconduct were levelled against Adesina by a group of whistleblowers. The allegations which were reviewed by the Bank’s Ethics Committee of the Board of Directors in March, were described as “frivolous and without merit.” The findings and rulings of the Ethics Committee were subsequently upheld by the apex Bureau of the Board of Governors in May, which cleared Adesina of any wrongdoing.

The report of the Independent Review Panel states that it “concurs with the (Ethics) Committee in its findings in respect of all the allegations against the President and finds that they were properly considered and dismissed by the Committee.”

The Panel once again vindicates Adesina and states, “It has considered the President’s submissions on their face and finds them consistent with his innocence and to be persuasive.”

The conclusions of the Independent Review Panel  are decisive and now clear the way for Governors of the Bank to re-elect Adesina to a second five-year term as President during annual meetings of the Bank scheduled for August 25-27.

Adesina is a highly decorated and distinguished technocrat and globally-respected development economist. He was awarded the prestigious World Food Prize in 2017 and the Sunhak Peace Prize in 2019 for global leadership in agriculture and for good governance.

Since taking over the reigns of the Bank in 2015, he has introduced several innovative reforms including a High5 development strategy; a restructuring of the bank including setting up offices in several African nations to get closer to its clients; an Africa Investment Forum that has attracted $79 billion in investment interests into projects in Africa between 2018 and 2019. He successfully led a historic General Capital Increase campaign that culminated in the Bank’s shareholders raising the institution’s capital from $93 billion to $208 billion, in October 2019.

In June and July respectively, global credit ratings agencies Standard and Poors and Fitch Ratings both affirmed the ‘AAA’ rating of the Bank, with stable outlook.

Under Adesina’s leadership the African Development Bank launched a $10 billion crisis response facility to boost African nations’ ability to tackle the health and economic effects of COVID-19.

Several Governors of the Bank speaking off the record, say it is now time to put recent events in the past; provide the Bank’s President with full support; and bolster the Bank’s efforts on Africa’s critical development issues.
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Djibouti: African Development Fund commits $41.16 million in grants to shore up COVID-19 response
July 27, 2020 | 0 Comments

The African Development Bank on Friday approved grants worth about $41.16 million to Djibouti to bolster the national budget in support of government efforts to mitigate national and regional impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The funding will take the form of an African Development Fund grant for $4.12 million and a $37.04 million grant from the Bank’s Regional Operations Envelope. The Bank is providing the funding under its COVID-19 Response Facility.

“It is the first time the Bank is leveraging the Regional Operations resources for a budget support operation. This approach was pertinent to ensure that Djibouti has adequate resources to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in its territory and limit cross-border impacts that pose serious risks for health, social and economic development for the country and ensure adequate controls at territorial borders and all points of entry,” said the Bank’s Acting Director General for East Africa, Nnenna Nwabufo.

The financing will enable the Government of Djibouti to support three interlinked COVID-19 response programs to enhance health systems; safeguard livelihoods and provide social protection; and defend labour force productivity and economic activity.

Health-sector interventions include the implementation of a multi-sectoral crisis response strategy and dissemination of infection prevention and control guidelines to health facilities. Social protection measures include covering electricity bills for vulnerable households and maintenance of price-control mechanisms and supplies of staple foods.

To support the workforce and economy, the government proposes to suspend non-priority expenditure while increasing social spending in the budget; defer taxes for the hardest-hit enterprises; and defer tax deadlines and social security contributions for enterprises that commit to continue paying employee salaries. 

Djibouti, with a population of 1 million, has one of the highest COVID-19 case rates in the Horn of Africa. The government has responded by suspending non-essential business and social activities,closing off air and sea connections and introducing partial curfews and lockdowns.

The crisis has placed the country’s recent socioeconomic progress in jeopardy and increased its susceptibility to political instability and climate-induced shocks. The Horn of Africa region has also experienced swarms of locusts over the past year that have increased food insecurity.

Under a worst-case scenario, Djibouti’s real GDP in 2020 is forecast to contract by 3.8%, threatening as many as 40,000 jobs.

The Bank’s grant funding aligns with Djibouti’s development objectives and those of its COVID-19 Emergency and Solidarity Fund. The intervention also aligns with the Bank’s Ten-Year Strategy, and its Eastern Africa Regional Integration Strategy and broader efforts to combat fragility and build resilience in Africa.

*AFDB

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African Development Bank Group supports Ghana’s COVID-19 response plan with $69 million grant
July 27, 2020 | 0 Comments

The Board of Directors of the African Development Fund (ADF) on Friday approved a $69 million grant to support Ghana’s efforts to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigate its socio-economic impact on the nation.

The grant from the ADF, the concessional arm of the African Development Bank, will provide fiscal budget support to finance the government’s national COVID-19 Emergency Preparedness and Response Plan, and Coronavirus Alleviation Program.

Specifically, the funds will help to upgrade the capacity of healthcare facilities to isolate, diagnose and care for patients, and provide more test kits, pharmaceuticals, equipment and beds. It will also ensure adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) for health workers and support financial incentives and an insurance package for health and allied professionals.

Ghana ranks fourth in COVID-19 infections in Africa after South Africa, Egypt and Nigeria. As of 24 July 2020, the West African nation has recorded 30,366 cases of the disease, with 26,687 recoveries and 153 deaths.

“Overall, the objective is to help contain the spread of the virus, expand testing and ease the impact of the virus on social and economic life, through measures aimed at protecting jobs, sustaining livelihoods and supporting small businesses,” said Marie-Laure Akin-Olugbade, the Bank’s Director General for West Africa.

The ADF grant is a Crisis Response Budget Support operation, disbursable in a single tranche under the Bank’s $10 billion COVID-19 Response Facility. The grant aligns with one of the Bank’s High 5 priorities, namely to “Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.

Under Ghana’s COVID-19 response program, all affected persons will receive free treatment and free water supply. Micro, Small and Medium enterprises (MSMEs) will benefit from a soft loan scheme with one-year moratorium and two-year repayment period. The private sector will also benefit from a tax freeze and refund, direct subsidies and a guarantee fund, enabling businesses to access bank credit.

The program also aims to increase the percentage of the population tested from one percent to three percent by the end of December 2020, boost the number of points of entry reporting suspected cases of COVID-19 from 1 to 14 by the end of September 2020, and increase designated treatment centers with adequate intensive care facilities to 100% by end December 2020.

As elsewhere, the pandemic has slowed down economic activity in the agriculture, industrial and services sectors. The agriculture sector, in particular, will likely record a lower performance since the disease has coincided with the onset of Ghana’s farming season.

The economy of Ghana, which exports gold, cocoa and oil, is negatively affected by a significant increase in public spending due to COVID-19. Real GDP growth is projected at 2.1% in 2020 compared to 6.1% in 2019, while the current account deficit is forecast to widen to 3.6% compared to 3% in 2019, due to a decline in export earnings and lower tourism revenues and remittances.

The COVID-19 pandemic could also deepen inequalities between men and women, with far-reaching health, social, and economic implications, Bank officials noted.

*AFDB

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