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G7 Development Finance Institutions and multilateral partners to invest over $80 billion into African businesses over the next five years .
June 15, 2021 | 0 Comments

The G7 DFIs, the IFC, the private sector arm of the African Development Bank, EBRD and the European Investment Bank today announced that they were committed to investing $80 billion in the private sector over the next five years to support sustainable economic recovery and growth in Africa.

The Covid-19 pandemic has caused a severe global economic and health crisis. The announcement is a welcome boost to support the long-term development objectives of African economies that have been negatively impacted by the crisis. It is the first time the G7 DFIs have come together to make a collective partnership commitment to the African continent.

The IMF estimates that sub-Saharan Africa needs additional financing of around $425 billion between now and 2025 to help strengthen the pandemic response spending and reduce poverty in the region.

The UK Minister for Africa, James Duddridge, said: “The UK is proud to back this commitment by world leaders at the G7 Summit to invest more than $80 billion in Africa’s private sector over the next 5 years.

“This investment will create jobs, boost economic growth, help tackle climate change and fight poverty. It comes at a crucial time as the continent rebuilds its economies, severely impacted by Covid-19.”

Nick O’Donohoe, the CEO of CDC Group, said: “The patient, high quality capital that DFIs provide is urgently needed if African economies are to start to rebuild quickly from the impact of the pandemic. CDC is committed to building long term investment partnerships in Africa that fuel sustainable private sector growth in support of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.”

Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank, said: “The EIB welcomes G7 leadership to enhance support for high-impact investment across Africa during and after the pandemic. Last year the EU Bank’s engagement in Africa, as part of Team Europe, represented the largest ever support for climate action and investment in fragile states in 55 years of EIB operations on the continent. We stand ready to cooperate further with African and multilateral partners to tackle both COVID-19 and accelerate the green transition in Africa.”

Makhtar Diop, IFC’s Managing Director, said: “Ensuring an inclusive and sustainable recovery for people, businesses and economies across Africa in coordination with our development partners, is at the core of IFC’s development mandate today. We know that the private sector will play a major role in financing Africa’s future by creating millions of jobs that are essential to ensuring sustained economic growth and poverty reduction. We therefore welcome this important partnership and are proud to provide financing and to work with partners to help create the right conditions to bring more private investment to Africa.”

David Marchick, Chief Operating Officer of U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), said: “Under President Biden’s leadership, investing more in Africa is a top priority for DFC in fulfilling our development mandate. DFC is proud to be doubling down on our commitment to Africa alongside our G7 and multilateral partners and will continue to prioritize investments in vaccine manufacturing, COVID-19 response, climate mitigation and adaptation, and gender equity on the African continent.” 

Dario Scannapieco, Chief Executive Officer of Cassa Depositi e Prestiti (CDP), said: “Closer collaboration among Development Finance Institutions and multilateral partners is an essential factor in fostering sustainable economic recovery and growth in Africa. CDP looks forward to contributing to this strategic partnership, supporting the African continent in developing its entrepreneurial and financial private sector, to unlock its vast, untapped potential.”

Solomon Quaynor, African Development Bank VP, Private Sector, Infrastructure & Industrialization said: “We welcome this global partnership and the opportunity to provide the African voice, as Africa builds back better and boldly.  The opportunity to create jobs particularly for youth and women, from a focus on industrializing Africa underpinned by the African Continental Free Trade Area, will be our priority. Given the gap between the IMF estimates and what this partnership is committing to, we will seek to crowd-in African development partners, as well as African savings from SWFs, pensions, and insurance pools, estimated to have US$1.8 trillion AUM.”

Heike Harmgart, EBRD Managing Director, Southern & Eastern Mediterranean, said: “Harnessing the potential of the private sector is essential to supporting prosperity in Africa and meeting the continent’s development needs. In the North African countries where we work – Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia – we have invested over €11.5 billion in only 9 years, focused on boosting the private sector, developing green sustainable infrastructure and promoting youth and women participation in the economy. We will pursue our efforts to expand private sector investment opportunities at scale in the region in close cooperation with other development actors.”

Monika Beck, member of the DEG-Management Board, said: „Many of our African partner countries have been hit hard by the pandemic. We quickly developed new services to support private sector SME and to help protecting jobs and livelihoods. In Africa, DEG has always been specifically committed to creating prospects for the young, growing population. In addition to the continuing massive impact of Covid-19 we expect a further acceleration of the challenges connected to developments such as digitization and climate change. Therefore DEG welcomes and is proud to be part of the G7 DFI Africa initiative”.

Each DFI has its own investment criteria which are aligned to an assessment of need to achieve development impact across a range of sectors. DFIs play an important role in helping to build markets, mitigate risk and pave the way for other investors to enter new markets.

The G7 DFI group consists of CDCProparco (France), JICA and JBIC (Japan), DFC (US), FinDev Canada (Canada), DEG (Germany) and CDP (Italy). This commitment is also supported by the IFC, the Africa Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the European Investment Bank

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Guinea: African Development Bank approves $430,000 grant for Ebola emergency relief project.
June 8, 2021 | 0 Comments

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank has approved a $430,000 grant to Guinea to fight the spread of the Ebola hemorrhagic fever epidemic throughout the country.

Since mid-February 2021, Guinea has been facing a resurgent Ebola-related epidemic, following the major crisis of 2014. This new epidemic comes against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, which poses both health and socio-economic challenges to the West African country. The project was approved on 3 June.

The funding from the African Development Bank will enable Guinea to strengthen the diagnostic and sample management capacity of six regional laboratories. These laboratories will receive sample collection kits, reagents, and infection prevention and control equipment. Four regional laboratories will also receive GeneXPert equipment and genome sequencers, and biologists will be trained in Ebola virus diagnosis.

The project will also provide personal protective equipment and triage, isolation and case management facilities. In total, some 200 pieces of personal protective equipment will be distributed, including to health and community workers. Some 400 health workers and community volunteers will receive refresher training in infection prevention and case management, including survivors, in the affected regions.

The project responds to one of the African Development Bank’s High 5 strategic priorities, namely, Improving the quality of life of African people.

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Mozambique: African Development Bank grants $1.6 million to support national Covid-19 response.
June 8, 2021 | 0 Comments

Mozambique has received a $1.6 million grant from the African Development Bank to purchase emergency health materials in response to the Covid-19 outbreak.

The grant, which forms part of a $9.7 million grant to support the Covid-19 emergency response and strengthen health systems in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and in São Tomé and Príncipe, was approved by the African Development Bank Group’s Board of Directors last year.

The $1.6 million allocation was used to provide medical supplies to increase testing and screening and acquire equipment, including: adult and pediatric intensive care unit ventilators, and BiPAP devices that work like a mechanical respirator in the treatment of lung diseases. The funding was also used to purchase oxygen masks, personal protective equipment and Covid-19 test kits. Some of the supplies were presented to the government on Wednesday.

The project was implemented by the SADC Secretariat in partnership with the World Health Organization and the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Mozambican Minister of Health, Dr. Armindo Tiago, held a formal handover ceremony at the Ministry of Health Office, attended by African Development Bank Country Manager Pietro Toigo and WHO Representative, Dr. Joaquim Saweka.

Mozambique has shown a decrease in Covid-19 infections, but health authorities are on alert due to the threat of new variants and the risk of a third wave.

“Even though vaccination started on 8 March in Mozambique, there is still some way to go. This support comes at the right time, when Mozambique urgently needs to strengthen the health system’s capacity in order to cope with the emerging Covid-19 variant in neighbouring countries,” Minister Tiago said.  

The partnership with WHO will complement the efforts of the African Development Bank and the government to support the private sector and the national budget, the Bank’s Toigo said. “The Bank is deeply committed to supporting Mozambique to put the pandemic behind it, and to protect lives and, crucially, support the economic recovery to put the country back on the development trajectory it deserves,” he said.

Dr. Joaquim Saweka, the WHO Representative in Mozambique, said the donation was part of a long-standing partnership with the African Development Bank. He said it was “an expression of WHO’s commitment to ensure that the government strengthens its capacity” in order to serve those affected by the pandemic and beyond.

Other Bank support to Mozambique to reduce the impact of Covid-19 includes $42 million in emergency budget support to strengthen health systems, expand social security and assist the private sector. The Bank also mobilized $4.5 million from existing projects to support initiatives to protect workers and accelerate border-tracking activities in the transport sector. The funds also subsidized credit to reduce the impact on small agricultural businesses and to support young Mozambican artisans to produce masks.

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Bank-funded project boosts water supply in Zimbabwe’s second-largest city
June 8, 2021 | 0 Comments

Limited investments in water and sanitation infrastructure across Zimbabwe’s urban centers in recent times have largely contributed to poor service provision, which has left citizens scrambling for the precious liquid. Bulawayo, the country’s second-largest city, was not spared. Frequent droughts in nearby regions worsened the water woes. 

“The situation worsened in 2018, where we would go for three weeks without water. It was a difficult period as we had to endure long queues at a nearby borehole just get to enough water for the day,” explained Nothando Maphosa, a 35-year-old mother of two from the Bulawayo suburb, Nketa7. “It was so bad that we had to come up with a time table for flushing the toilet, which is unhygienic,” she said.

Bulawayo experienced severe drought from 2018 to 2020, which led to the introduction of a six-day water shedding program. Before then, the city was already grappling with water pumps installed more than 40 years ago, and were plagued with costly breakdowns, requiring extensive maintenance. The water lifting capacity was low, and used high energy with little output. In addition, many manufacturers no longer had such dated replacement parts available.

To improve water, sewer treatment and pumping capacity, the African Development Bank funded the $33 million Bulawayo Water and Sewerage Services Improvement Project (BWSSIP) to replace obsolete pumps at Fernhill and Ncema pump stations. The new installations include three pumps at each station, two working in tandem as duty pumps and one standby pump. Funding also supported a supervisory control and data acquisition system, which will control and monitor the new equipment locally and remotely, further supporting the city’s vision of being a leading smart urban center by 2024 through the use of various technologies.

Since the water distribution began through the new pumps in February 2021, Bulawayo has gradually reduced disruptions from six to two days per week, with a gradual plan towards a citywide uninterrupted water supply. The increased pumping capacity has further assisted the replenishing of the raw water reservoir, which had dried up in 2020 due to drought.

The newly installed water pumps have increased the treatment capacity for the City of Bulawayo from 92 megaliters to 145 megaliters a day – exceeding the city’s daily water demand of 135 megaliters a day. The increased raw water capacity from the pumps, coupled with a refurbished water treatment system, is assisting the city to meet the daily water consumption demand of Bulawayo’s 770,000 residents in all its 165 suburbs.

“Since sometime in February 2021, we have been receiving regular water supplies. We now go for as long as three weeks without water rationing and, even when it happens, it does not take one full day [for water to come back],” Maphosa said.

Project implementation began in 2016. It also included strengthening institutional capacity, enhancing service delivery and efficiency, and improving environmental sanitation. The project, administered by the Government of Zimbabwe via the Bulawayo City Council, is expected to be completed in December 2021.

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Zambia: Lusaka’s water point ambassadors turn the tap to protect residents from Covid-19
May 27, 2021 | 0 Comments

A water point attendant in Zambia’s capital Lusaka has a new role beyond filling up containers for residents at the community tap. John Nyambe spreads the word about the novel coronavirus – its dangers, and what residents can do to protect themselves.

The role comes with a new title too – “coronavirus prevention ambassador.” Nyambe, 71, bears the title with pride. His message was especially vital in a city with a history of inadequate sanitation and disease outbreaks.

As soon as the first cases of Covid-19 were identified in Lusaka in March 2020, the African Development Bank adjusted one of its programs to address the outbreak. The aim was to engage communities benefiting from the Lusaka Sanitation Program to keep them up to date with information on the pandemic, dispel misinformation and to distribute hygiene products.

Nyambe, who was appointed by the Lusaka Water Supply and Sanitation Company, has witnessed a difference in behaviour since the sanitation program accommodated its new mission.

“We have seen change in the community and people are now following the guidelines that have been set because they now understand that the disease is deadly and they need to take care of themselves,” said Nyambe, who also works as a security guard for a local firm.

Since the Covid-19 hygiene project got under way, 400 hand sanitiser stations have been installed in public spaces such as markets, health centres, water points, and places of worship. And over 600 water tap attendants like Nyambe have become coronavirus prevention ambassadors. The key message was around the importance of staying safe by practising social distancing and washing hands thoroughly. This helped change the perceptions of people, many of whom were sceptical about the pandemic.

“This project is good for, not only the water tap attendants, but for the community as well. The tap attendants were able to sensitize the community and did so by demonstrating, using the materials that were given by the Bank,” said Josephine Moono Chihongo, the Lusaka Water and Sanitation Company community development officer for the area known as Peri-Urban West.

“Today, when you go to the community water collection points, no one draws water without a mask and without sanitizing their hands. This shows us that there is behavioural change among the communities,” Chihongo added.

The measures were rolled out in addition to ongoing activities that are part of the Lusaka Sanitation Program, a $243 million project jointly funded by the African Development Bank, the European Investment Bank, the German Development Bank and the World Bank.

The African Development Bank is providing $50 million to build healthier and happier families by elevating residents’ quality of sanitation, especially the poor living in peri-urban communities around Lusaka. At the time that the Lusaka Sanitation Program was launched in 2015, around 70% of the city, roughly 2.2 million people, lived in high-density, unplanned peri-urban neighbourhoods. Five years later, the sanitation program provided a foundation to fight the pandemic.

By late March 2021, Zambia had registered more than 87,000 cases of Covid-19 and the death toll from the disease was more than 1,000. Bank support enabled the production and translation of messages and jingles, the distribution of bottles of hand sanitizer, and face masks.

“We now understand that coronavirus is real and we were empowered by the Lusaka Sanitation Program with information on how to protect ourselves,” said Easter Kumbana, a resident of Kanyama. “I had no money to buy facemasks and hand sanitizers because the little money I had, I needed to feed my children, so I was extremely happy to be assisted with the sanitizers and face masks.”

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President Adesina receives honorary doctorate from renowned Makerere University in Uganda
May 27, 2021 | 0 Comments

-Dr. Adesina recalled how the university helped turn an oversupply of bananas into a revolution in the matooke industry in Uganda

African Development Bank President Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina reminded an audience of Africa’s knack for unique home-grown innovation as he was honored by one of the continent’s oldest and most respected universities last Friday.

Adesina joined graduates at a ceremony in Uganda, where he received an honorary doctorate from Makerere University. He recounted how a phone call from Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni some 20 years earlier had led to one of the country’s most famous inventions.

Back then, Adesina was associate director at the Rockefeller Foundation. Museveni had sought his advice to deal with the country’s banana glut. That conversation eventually led to a relationship with Makerere University’s food technology department, which developed a method to transform bananas into shelf-stable flour that could be used to prepare the local staple dish, matooke.

Adesina told the audience that in his home language, Yoruba, “makerere” meant “megaphone of good news.”

The African Development Bank president told students and faculty: “It is such good news to join the roster of your distinguished honorary graduates of Makerere. Makerere is close to my heart. Makerere University is known for innovation.”

The honorary doctorate recognized Adesina’s “distinguished contribution to science, research and academic leadership, reform and thought leadership”.

Ahead of the ceremony, the Bank president met with the university’s Chairperson of Council, Lorna Magara, and university management. “University education is the most critical thing that any society should do, and when it comes to Africa, you find that not more than 9% of our population has access to tertiary education,” Adesina said at the meeting.

He called for more investment in science and technology to cope with the fourth industrial revolution, marked by advances in artificial intelligence, big data, robotics, nanotechnology and biotechnology.

Professor Barnabas Nawangwe, Vice-Chancellor of the university, said the African Development Bank had helped Makerere modernize laboratories and build new ones. As a result, he said, the university could produce vaccines and medicines, including the anti-tick vaccine and diagnostics to manage Covid-19 and other diseases, as well as the low-cost medical ventilator, Bulamu.

Nawangwe said the increased research and innovations by Makerere would help Uganda reduce dependence on imports, provide an alternative source of revenue for the university, and create jobs for unemployed youth.

“Makerere University has also benefited from your visionary leadership in the various positions you have held in different organizations,” Nawangwe told Adesina.

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Youth are Africa’s best asset; invest in them – African Development Bank President Adesina
May 20, 2021 | 0 Comments

Africa’s underinvested youth are in need of urgent attention  and youth entrepreneurship investment banks must become the focus of global support, the African Development Bank head Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina said Monday in a discussion on scaling up financing for the continent’s youth.

Adesina was speaking at a virtual roundtable at which he presented a novel concept for youth entrepreneurship investment banks. The roundtable, organized by the African Development Bank, came a day ahead of the Summit on Financing African Economies convened by President Emmanuel Macron.

Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya, Jean-Michel Severino, CEO of Investisseurs et Partenaires; Ashish J. Thakkar, CEO of Mara Phones; Yana Kakar Global Managing Partner Emeritus at Dalberg Advisors; Yvonne Otieno, CEO, Miyonga Fresh Greens, and other representatives of the private sector joined in the meeting.

Otieno urged the world to believe in the youth and to put their hands in their pockets.  “Take a risk on us. You will never regret it,” she said in a moving presentation in which she described her career trajectory which began in a bookshop,  progressed through journalism, to starting her own business growing French beans on 1.5 acres of land.

“Failure is only a weakness if you don’t learn from it,” said Otieno.

With lack of access to finance a serious bottleneck, the proposed youth entrepreneurship investment banks would coordinate financial and non-financial actors and partners to more effectively support youth entrepreneurs.

 “We must support the youth to go beyond looking for jobs. We must unleash the entrepreneurial drive and capacities of the youth to create jobs, Adesina said. “We must grow, finance and support large scale successes of youth -led businesses in Africa.”

Speaking immediately after Dr. Adesina’s opening remarks, Spanish Foreign Minister Arancha González Laya expressed strong support for the initiative. “Spain welcomes the African Development Bank’s youth entrepreneurship investment initiative, geared towards unlocking entrepreneurship and promoting the growth of businesses of the youth.” she said.

Thakkar, chair of the African Development Bank’s Presidential Youth Committee, advised that the youth investment banks would need to be  scalable and self-sustaining.  He said it was very important to create the right incentive structures for governments to encourage the private sector to play a key role. 

Research suggests that Africa needs to create 18 to 30 million jobs annually through 2030, and Ladi Balogun, CEO of First City Monument Bank Group, reiterated the urgency of this challenge. He said time was of the essence in terms of mounting a response as well as accelerating decision-making processes for the extension of financing to entrepreneurs. He also advised working through local money managers to achieve scale.   

“We have a ticking time bomb on our hands,” Balogun said.

Participants also commended the African Development Bank for taking a lead role in the effort to support youth entrepreneurs, as well as calling on the Bank to play a number of roles.  

Yana Kakar said the African Development Bank has an important knowledge transfer role to play.  She added that the Bank has much to share about what is needed in tech-enabled segments versus what might be needed to enable entrepreneurs in more production-oriented segments.

The African Development Bank has demonstrated its strong commitment to the youth of Africa through its Jobs for Youth in Africa Strategy to help create 25 million direct and indirect jobs, and empower 50 million youth by 2025. The institution has also set up a $40 million trust fund in partnership with several European countries to advance youth entrepreneurship and innovation.

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Ethiopia: African Development Bank Group signs grant agreement for $31 million to tackle nutrition and end child stunting
May 14, 2021 | 0 Comments

The African Development Bank and the Government of Ethiopia have signed an agreement for a $31 million grant to boost health and nutrition for children under the age of five.

The African Development Fund’s Board of Directors approved funding for the government’s Multi-Sectoral Approach for Stunting Reduction Project (MASReP) at the end of April. The total budget is $48 million.

The agreement was signed on 10 May by Yasmin Wohabrebbi, State Minister of Finance, on behalf of the Government of Ethiopia, and Abdul Kamara, Deputy Director General of the Bank’s East Africa Regional Development and Business Delivery Office.

Wohabrebbi said, “In the past two years the government spent close to $31 million from its own sources to execute the Seqota Declaration Innovation Phase. The Multi-Sectoral Approach for Stunting Reduction Project (MASReP) we are signing today will complement the government’s investment effort to achieve goals set under the Declaration.” The project targets 40 districts in the Amhara and Tigray regions, where nearly 50% of children under the age of five are afflicted by stunting.

Children will benefit from improved access to parent-grown nutritious food and nutrition services while pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers will receive nutrient-dense food crops, livelihood promotion and nutrition counselling. The wider population will gain greater access to water for domestic use and food production. The health, education and nutrition service delivery will benefit from stronger systems and improved infrastructure.

“The agreement further underscores the African Development Bank’s commitment to support the Ethiopian government’s initiatives to end stunting in children under age two by 2030, in line with its Seqota Declaration,” said Kamara. He said the project would address the multidimensional causes of stunting.

Ethiopia’s Seqota Declaration is a commitment to end stunting in children under two by 2030. The national ministries of health; agriculture, water, irrigation and energy; education; women, children and youth; labour and social affairs; transport; and finance are co-ordinated in this effort.

The Multi-Sectoral Approach for Stunting Reduction Project is consistent with the government’s Ten-Year Strategy and two of the Bank’s High Five strategic priorities, namely Feed Africa and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.

The African Development Bank’s total ongoing commitment in Ethiopia is $1.6 billion, covering the key sectors of basic services, energy, transport, water supply and sanitation, agriculture, governance, and the private sector.

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In Niger, a rare scene in the pandemic: Covid-19 wards remain empty, agriculture and business benefit from support programs
May 14, 2021 | 0 Comments
After achieving outstanding results in its management of the pandemic, Niger, which is expected to grow its GDP by 6.9% in 2021, is now planning for the relaunch of its economy, as here at Diffa pepper market in the southeast of the country.

Looking over his hectares of rice in Saga, less than 10 minutes from central Niamey, Garba Soumana’s face is radiant. A gust of wind from the Niger River drowns out his voice, but in no way diminishes his joy. “Thank you, Lord. God is great,” he exclaims. “This is such an achievement, like a thorn taken out of your foot,” he says, again and again, gazing over his vast green expanse.

Just like Garba Soumana, thousands of Nigerien producers have the comfort of knowing that they will have the seeds they need for the next planting season, in June and July, thanks to support from the African Development Bank to help Niger with its country-wide response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

In addition to budget support of more than $100 million, the Bank is also providing funding to low-income member countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), including more than $4 million for Niger. The Bank also provided $22 million to help the G5 Sahel countries combat the pandemic.

In this Sahelian country, exceptionally vulnerable to cyclical droughts and climate change, access to seed enhances food security and helps to prevent the health crisis from turning into a food crisis. In Niger, food security is linked to social and political stability.

“The Bank’s support has been particularly important for this country that is already suffering under triple climate, humanitarian and security shocks,” said Nouridine Kane Dia, the Bank’s country manager for Niger.

Not far from Saga, in Niamey, Amadou Tidjani has a contagious smile on his face too. This trader learned, just a day ago, that when it became due later this year, he would not have to pay his import-export licence.

“This is like a shot in the arm; the pandemic has put a stop to our business trips. Our shops are not getting the usual footfall. In this gloomy situation, getting a deferral on payment of the licence is a godsend,” said Amadou, as he bustled about his bags of rice, the staple food during Ramadan.

Several hundred Nigerien traders will benefit from the temporary suspension of taxes and duties. This government measure aims to save hundreds of businesses from bankruptcy.

The Bank’s support for Niger also extends to the most vulnerable groups, including internally displaced persons and refugees. Diffa, in the southeast, and Tahoua and Tillabéri in the northwest are three regions that form the epicentre of terrorist activities. Here, thousands of people have benefited from social protection measures, such as the distribution of food, hand-washing kits, and drinking water facilities, as well as the construction of latrines.

“The support of the Bank has provided Niger, whose financial capacities are being severely tested by the sharp increase in security and humanitarian expenses for the fight against terrorism and the reception of refugees, with the fiscal space and emergency support needed to cope with the additional consequences of the health crisis and preserve gains made in poverty reduction,” added Kane Dia.

Health success

The African Development Bank Group’s Covid-19 Response Facility (CRF) has had a considerable effect on the health response in Niger. It has increased the resources allocated to health and strengthened the country’s capacity for screening and caring for people infected with Covid-19, and for recruiting health workers.

Initially, screening was only available in Niamey, at the Medical and Health Research Centre (CERMES). Support from partners such as the African Development Bank helped to set up a number of facilities for the analysis of PCR tests, including at Zinder and Maradi, the most important cities after the capital.

In Talladjé, a working-class district of Niamey, wife and mother Halima Ousseini is preparing to go for a medical consultation. This time, she walks with a confident step, dressed in a flowing boubou. Her medical centre will, like other similar medical facilities, receive a variety of 140 medical products ordered under the emergency health response programme supported by the Bank.

“For us, access to medicines was no easy matter in normal times. It got harder still under the pandemic. Our revenues have fallen, but the prices of medications have stayed the same. So, having access to medicines is a huge relief for people like us of modest means,” said Halima Ousseini, who told us that she makes a living as an informal trader and with the help of her children.

The support of the African Development Bank has also helped Niger to take excellent care of those infected with the virus. Approximately 1,637 new health workers have been recruited and health logistics have been strengthened, including through the donation of three ultramodern ambulances to the Nigerien Ministry of Health.

Of a population of 23 million, 70% of whom are under the age of 25, some 5,000 cases have been detected and 185 deaths have been recorded, making Niger one of the least-affected countries on the continent. This significant support is also building the capacity of the health sector to deal with further public health shocks.

In Niamey referral hospital, the national facility approved to treat Covid-19 cases, beds remain unoccupied for lack of patients. Covid-19 units have been closed and ventilators transferred to other services that need them. “The department is operating at a relaxed pace because we do not have any more Covid-19 patients…The situation is totally under control,” said Dr Amadou Foumakoye, head of the hospital’s Covid-19 unit.

The achievements of this crisis management will be further boosted by the vaccination campaign launched on 29 March 2021, with the support of development partners.

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Finance in Common Summit Spring Meeting: public development banks call for new financing for Africa’s recovery post-Covid-19
May 12, 2021 | 0 Comments

Participants in the meeting, hosted by the African Development Bank, brainstormed on joint actions that could help boost a strong and inclusive recovery in Africa

A global coalition of public development banks today emphasized the urgency of immediate resources for Africa’s recovery post-Covid 19. Together, they committed to deepening cooperation to boost investment opportunities across the continent.

Participants in the meeting, hosted by the African Development Bank, brainstormed on joint actions that could help boost a strong and inclusive recovery in Africa. This would be recovery grounded in a dynamic private sector. The African Association of Development Finance Institutions co-organized the meeting in collaboration with the International Development Finance Club, which is hosted by the Agence Française de Développement.

The meeting was held virtually and follows the first Finance in Common Summit held in November 2020. At that summit, public development banks committed to work together to support the transformation of the global economy and society towards sustainable and resilient development.

During the three principal sessions of the meeting, heads of public development banks and international partners focused on concrete proposals and innovative financial solutions to unlock the potential of African financial institutions to promote sustainable development investments in Africa.

“The African Development Bank is strongly supportive of public development banks,” African Development Bank president Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina said in opening remarks.

He added: “As public development banks, we must deepen our ability to reach all parts of Africa. To ensure financial inclusion, especially for the unbanked, and expand access to finance, savings and insurance products and services, we need to work as one unified system. Public development banks must strengthen their capacity to deepen domestic capital markets and stock exchanges. He said this would hasten access to financing and unlock new opportunities.”

Rémy Rioux, chairperson of the International Development Finance Club, said: “African challenges, more than anywhere else, require us all to go seek coordinated responses and actions. Because in Africa, we need to leave no one behind. Let’s Finance in Common and build now a common and positive story of innovation and investment in Africa, leveraging ODA and mobilizing all willing stakeholders. The days of pure aid are over. Africa is ready for sustainable investment.”

Public development banks have a key role to play in Africa. From the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, institutions like the African Development Bank have channeled resources to various sectors and clients, particularly underserved areas like health, social investments, housing, agriculture and climate.

The African Development Bank’s $10 billion Covid-19 Response Facility has been instrumental in mitigating macroeconomic shocks for African countries. The Bank also announced a $3 billion social bond to support its Covid-19 funding efforts.

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to an unprecedented global health and economic crisis, affecting African economies, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, most deeply.  A historic recession of 2.1%, the largest contraction for the sub-Saharan region in more than half a century, is threatening gains made over the last decade and attainment of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The pandemic has negatively impacted the debt situation for African countries. Without a resolution of Africa’s $700 billion external debt, the continent’s economic recovery will be delayed and financial market stability will be affected in the short and medium term.

“Think of the impact that this debt is having: in 2019, Africa paid $221 billion for debt service, which is 44% of the total government revenue of $501 billion in the same year,” said Dr. Adesina.

Discussions covered measures that could be taken to strengthen the balance sheet of African public development banks and provide financing and additional tools to support the private sector in Africa. Participants also discussed challenges faced by African public development banks.

The African Development Bank president will convey the outcomes of the Spring Meeting to a May 18 Summit on Financing African Economies in Paris. That summit is being convened by French President Emmanuel Macron. It is expected that there will be further pledges and announcements of financial and technical assistance to support the commitments made by the African public development banks.

African public development banks, in a  joint declaration , called for the heads of state and international organizations to support our role in the African financial system and provide us with the necessary means and incentives: a clearer mandate for climate and SDGs, additional capacity building, greater access to concessional resources as well as reinforcement of our capital bases, taking advantage of the expected SDRs issuance by the International Monetary Fund (IMF)”.

The following public development banks and partners participated in the panel discussions:

Association of African Development Finance Institutions (AADFI), Association of European Development Finance Institutions (EDFI), African Development Bank, African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), Agence Française de Développement (AFD), Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), European Commission (EC), European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), European Investment Bank (EIB), Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), International Development Finance Club (IDFC), KfW Development Bank, Trade and Development Bank Group (TDB), and West African Development Bank (BOAD).

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African Energy Downstream Committee to drive African competitiveness, jobs, local content, energy, and maritime security.
May 3, 2021 | 0 Comments

Swiss-based downstream expert Philippe Cohen has joined the African Energy Chamber’s Advisory Board. Photo courtesy

The African Energy Chamber, has created a Downstream Committee to engage more closely with Africa’s energy marketing, storage and trading developments and trends. 

Further, Swiss-based downstream expert Philippe Cohen has joined the African Energy Chamber’s Advisory Board. Philippe will be mentoring and supporting the work of the African Energy Chamber by spearheading the newly established Downstream Committee. 

“Our continent has been engaged in commodity trading for decades, and we need to ensure that we trade African commodities like crude oil and LNG in Africa for our own industrialization and growth. Trading houses and governments must start seeing Africa as a market, and not just as a farm to supply other continents” stated NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman at the African Energy Chamber.

The African Energy Chamber believes that the Downstream and Midstream Activities of our African energy sector are key drivers for change in the overall industry. Philippe is an accomplished and result-driven gentleman who understands the most pressing issues the downstream sector is facing today, from origination to financing and from organic growth to expansion via mergers and acquisitions.

Local content and African participation have to be an integral part of the downstream sector, especially with energy downstream trading companies. We need to change the face of trading firms when it comes to financing and trading commodities in Africa, as well as the operators’ jobs and in the executive suite. It is not correct that many of the commodity trading companies making billions of dollars in Africa with African resources have no Africans in senior management. This needs to change.

Our downstream committee has a responsibility to advocate for regulations and policies that promote growth and investment in Africa’s downstream sector. This will help drive a lot of African economies, create the needed jobs, work with governments on energy and maritime security and push Africa to remain competitive in the global economy.

Moving Africa towards our obligations for carbon neutrality is essential when it comes to the energy marketing and trading. The African Energy Chamber aims to be proactive in driving Africa’s downstream sector to make the necessary changes, especially given the available technology, rather than waiting for directions from bureaucrats or Western groups.

Trading houses and governments must start seeing Africa as a market, and not just as a farm to supply other continents, says NJ Ayuk, Executive Chairman at the African Energy Chamber.

“With the AfCFTA Agreement, we need to urgently implement provisions that open and enable market access for African downstream players, who need to be respected and encouraged to grow in Africa by government cutting the red tape for them operate. We are honored to have Mr Cohen joining our board.” Added Mr Ayuk.

Our committee members, working with various African governments and national energy companies to communicate regularly about the policies which are working, and those which could be made to work better will only benefit African families and businesses.

Africa has been home to some of the most entrepreneurial commodity trading houses like Vitol, Puma, Vivo, Glencore, Trafigura, Litasco, Sahara Energy, Oando, Oryx Energies and Mocoh, just to name a few. We must encourage them and also open doors for new actors, including African home-grown companies.

*Courtesy of African Energy Chamber

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Energy Capital & Power, Kanflooens Partnership to Strengthen U.S.-Africa Energy Investment Opportunities
May 3, 2021 | 0 Comments

The partnership will help facilitate deals in the African and U.S. energy sectors, promoting investment and engagement
Kanflooens’ Founding Partner, Ngozi Onyejekwe
HOUSTON, United States of America, May 3, 2021/ — U.S consulting firm Kanflooens is a strategic partner of Energy Capital & Power (ECP) for the highly anticipated U.S. Africa Energy Forum (USAEF); With the first-ever USAEF event taking place both virtually and in-person in Washington D.C. on 12 July and in Houston for the main summit and gala dinner on 4-5 October 2021, the partnership will help facilitate deals in the African and U.S. energy sectors, promoting investment and engagement; Hosted by ECP and in partnership with the African Energy Chamber U.S.-Africa Committee, USAEF 2021 brings together industry leaders across the entire energy value chain to stimulate progress and partnership between Africa and the United States.

Energy Capital & Power (ECP) has signed a strategic partnership with U.S. consulting firm Kanflooens for the U.S-Africa Energy Forum (USAEF), taking place in Houston on 4-5 October 2021, with a preceding networking event on 12 July in Washington. With transformative African investment opportunities at the forefront of a global post-COVID-19 recovery, and the Biden administration taking a renewed look at U.S.-Africa relations, the partnership represents a fundamental opportunity for promoting investment and facilitating deal making between the two continents.

The strategic partnership allows ECP to leverage Kanflooens’ expertise in building and facilitating deals in the African and U.S. energy sector, while establishing Kanflooens’ Founding Partner, Ngozi Onyejekwe, as a member of the ECP organizing team. Onyejekwe will facilitate meetings and set up deals between U.S. and African firms, representing ECP on the ground in Lagos, Abuja, Houston and other key U.S. locations.

“Kanflooens is excited to partner with ECP on this inaugural USAEF event, to share content, shape the narrative about Africa engage the global community and turn these into positive investments for Africa. The USAEF will provide the space for candid conversations; best practice scenarios and actionable learnings; and insights into technology and innovation. Critically, it will provide the platform to drive investment and establish a solid roadmap that addresses the entire energy value chain,” stated Ngozi Onyejekwe, Founding Partner, Kanflooens.

USAEF 2021 will focus on the energy transition; energy storage and battery metals; Africa’s place in global energy supply chains; gas as a vital fuel for the energy transition and development; the ongoing role of petroleum resources; and repositioning the U.S. as the primary partner of choice for African energy developers. With numerous opportunities present across the entire African energy value chain, ECP’s partnership with Kanflooens represents an important step in creating new connections between American and African stakeholders. 

“USAEF 2021 represents a call to action for U.S. energy companies to take advantage of African investment opportunities, across the energy value chain, and participate in the continent’s economic transformation. By drawing on Kanflooens’ expertise, and utilizing the company’s influential position and valuable network, ECP is directing attention to America’s role in Africa’s future, advancing an agenda of sustainable, long-term investment and relations,” says James Chester, Senior Director, ECP. 

To learn more about U.S.-Africa energy investment opportunities, and to find out more information regarding sponsorship opportunities at USAEF 2021, visit www.USAfricaEnergy.com or contact James Chester at james@energycapitalpower.com.
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Africa’s recovery pathway offers enormous opportunities, African Development Bank head says at EU-Africa Green Investment Forum
April 27, 2021 | 0 Comments

Sounding a note of optimism at the European Union-Africa Green Investment Forum on Friday, African Development Bank President Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina reminded global audiences of the continent’s vast opportunities for green growth.

“Africa is a huge market offering incredible opportunities. The recovery pathway offers enormous opportunities. Recovery must be green and build climate resilience. Recovery must boost green investments,” Adesina said in a keynote address.

The hybrid forum was convened by Portugal and the European Investment Bank to mobilize private and public capital towards the green transition in Africa. The high-level event brought together leading government and business figures, international and development financial institutions, civil society and academia.

Adesina identified energy, agriculture and infrastructure as key areas of investment potential for a post-Covid-19 recovery in Africa. With abundant solar, wind, hydro and geothermal energy resources, Africa’s energy transition alone presents a $100 billion per year investment opportunity, he said. Agriculture potentially offers massive investments in climate-smart crops to build more resilient food systems. And climate-resilient infrastructure offers investment potential of between $130 billion and $170 billion, Adesina said in a video address.

Speakers emphasized the need to build back greener collectively. Several congratulated the United States, after President Joe Biden on Thursday committed to cut carbon emissions by 50-52% below 2005 levels by the year 2030.

“We need to bring everyone on board,” African Union Commissioner Josefa Sako said. She called for a just transition that recognized the historical responsibility of the developed world for climate change. She warned that measures taken should not push vulnerable populations into greater poverty.

European Investment Bank President Werner Hoyer said the partnerships forged in addressing the Covid-19 crisis must now be applied to climate change. “Africa may be the continent that is most vulnerable to the immediate effects of climate change but it is responsible for some of the lowest greenhouse gas emissions per head. This is also the continent where mistakes made elsewhere can be avoided. Africa can invest in innovative technologies and make the right choices for a sustainable and inclusive future.”

In a recorded message during the opening session, António Guterres, Secretary General of the United Nations, said the gathering was an opportunity to strengthen partnerships and boost investment in Africa for the benefit of all.

“I see agendas converging around financing a green transition and greater resilience. African countries are rapidly scaling up renewables, particularly solar and wind power,” Guterres said.

While climate change is a huge challenge for Africa, Adesina urged investors to seize on the opportunities it presents, which would be worth $3 trillion by 2030.

The African Development Bank is in the vanguard of investment in climate adaptation, he said, but over 70% of the financing needed will need to come from the private sector to complement public investments.

“The private sector, especially small and medium-sized enterprises, is critical in mitigating climate change and implementing adaptation methods. This calls for innovative approaches to attract and steer financial flows toward low carbon and climate resilient development,” Adesina said.

A greener Africa must also focus on the circular economy, in which waste can be recycled and turned into wealth. For example, a new plastic recycling plant in Ghana has already created 2,300 green jobs, while converting food waste into organic fertilisers will increase the circularity of the food systems, Adesina said.

Commending the European Commission’s External Investment Plan, Adesina said the Bank looked forward to building a strong partnership with the Commission to deliver more in the context of the new EU strategy with Africa.

“Africa is already green. Africa just needs to get greener. What is needed now is more euros to back Africa’s green growth. Think about the tremendous green investment opportunities available today and many more that will emerge into the future. Think differently, think Africa,” he said.

*AfDB

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New reports from African Development Bank, FAO and CGIAR showcase digital agriculture opportunities
April 27, 2021 | 0 Comments

Drones, satellites, geographic information systems, weather stations and advanced analytics are some of the most promising technologies for providing solutions to Africa’s agricultural challenges, according to the joint Digital Agricultural Profiles carried out by the African Development Bank, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and CGIAR in three countries.

The profiles, covering Côte d’IvoireRwanda and South Africa, map the challenges and opportunities to scale the adoption of innovative digital technologies in the agriculture sector. These include national digital technology and the policy landscape, user demands along the value chain and available digital agriculture services and applications. The profiles also examine the main barriers to adoption as well as the digital technologies with the greatest potential to transform the sector.

“The future of agriculture is data-enabled. Conventional approaches to food production are no longer able to keep up with Africa’s fast growing food systems demands and the impact of climate change on agriculture. Technological innovations and digitalization offer an opportunity to transform African agriculture to produce higher yields, increase value addition and ensure more nutritious foods on a wider scale,” said Dr. Martin Fregene, Director for Agriculture and Agro-industry at the African Development Bank.

“The Digital Agriculture Profiles provide a snapshot of how a country is positioned in that transformational process,” he added.

The series is based on the concept of the Climate-Smart Agriculture country profiles developed by the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security. The methodology was designed in close collaboration with the World Bank Group.

The applications of digital technology in agriculture are diverse. For example, using satellite data, farmers can monitor crop health, soil quality and water and fertilizer usage. Sensors, automation and machine learning allow for the adaptation of more precise agricultural operations for specific locations and conditions. Digital payment systems, index insurance and mobile platforms help connect farmers to markets and financial services.

“Agriculture’s digital transformation is an exciting and fast-moving train, and we need to make sure that small-scale farmers, women and rural youth are able to benefit from these technologies. The profiles give international and national financing institutions, policy-makers and public and private investors a good and quick overview of a country’s current digital landscape, as well as the main constraints and opportunities for digital policies and solutions,” said Mohamed Manssouri, FAO Investment Centre Director.

Profile highlights:

  • Rwanda Up to 85% of rural consumers will have access to basic mobile phone services in the next five years.
  • Côte d’Ivoire:  Access to digital technologies rose sharply in the last decade; nearly everyone in the working-age population now has mobile phone access, and nearly half of Ivorians use the internet.
  • South Africa: Precision agriculture is strongly adopted by large-scale commercial farmers; blockchain, barcoding and fleet tracking solutions offer unique benefits for the traceability of agricultural products.

The profiles also offer analysis on the future of digitalization. Project coordination was led by the CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture’s technical community, the Data-Driven Agronomy Community of Practice, with contributions from researchers at the Alliance of Biodiversity International and CIAT (International Center for Tropical Agriculture).

“It is critical that all development partners join forces with governments, the private sector and non-state actors to accelerate agricultural digitalization and ultimately defeat hunger globally,” said Andy Jarvis, Associate Director General of the Alliance of Biodiversity International and CIAT and co-founder of the CGIAR Platform for Big Data in Agriculture.

The Digital Agriculture Profiles are part of the African Development Bank’s Digital Agriculture Flagship. Profiles have also been produced for countries such as Argentina, Grenada, Turkey, Kenya and Vietnam, with the World Bank.

*AfDB

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Banker-turned-poultry farmer becomes champion for African agriculture
April 27, 2021 | 0 Comments

-“If we must satisfy Africa’s food security with our growing population, then there must be high commercialization of agriculture. That is modern farming.” – Ayotomiwa Yinka Ogunsua, poultry farmer.

When Ayotomiwa Yinka Ogunsua got a job as a loan officer at a microfinance bank in Ibadan, Nigeria, after graduating university, he thought he’d done well for himself. Then, he spotted an online advertisement for a youth agricultural training program and signed up, owing to his interest in farming as a hobby.

Selected to interview for a place in the poultry rearing course, Ogunsua promptly quit his bank job and, he says, prayed he would get in. “I knew I wanted to follow my passion for agriculture full-time,” the 29-year-old Nigerian said.

Ogunsua did win a place in the course, organized last March by the Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation program, or TAAT, a program of the African Development Bank and partners including the CGIAR, a global research partnership. TAAT works to harness high-impact agricultural technologies to boost crop output and create viable opportunities for workers and entrepreneurs.

Soon after, Ogunsua bought 50 chicks and started a business.

The African Development Bank’s Director for Agriculture and Agro-Industry, Dr. Martin Fregene, said TAAT has the resources, scientific and technological expertise, as well as proven implementation plans to benefit millions of African farmers like Ogunsua.

“As the continent’s leaders gather for the High-level Dialogue on Feeding Africa at the end of the month, Ogunsua’s experience serves as an inspiration for governments to commit to investing in Africa’s food systems,” Fregene added.

“After the training, I saw agriculture as a proper business, not just a passion,” Ogunsua said via telephone from his farm, as roosters crowed in the background. “I realized this is something I must make income from, as something to pay my bills – something that I can build on as an enterprise,” he added.

The CGIAR’s International Institute of Tropical Agriculture, based in Ibadan, southwestern Nigeria, provides TAAT training courses that offer capacity building and technical assistance to African “agripreneurs”.

The training, Ogunsua says, gave him the technical know-how to expand his start-up, Vive Verde, from water, agricultural and environmental services into livestock production. Atops Farms, Ogunsua’s poultry business, grew to include 500 birds by early 2021. Then something wonderful happened.

“We sold out of birds for Easter,” Ogunsua said, noting that he makes more money from agribusiness than he did working as a loan officer.

As head of Atops Farms, Ogunsua does his part to advocate for Nigeria’s agriculture sector, appearing regularly on radio and television programs, and working to change society’s perception of farming as a pastime.

“Farming, for one, is to make profit. It is also to ensure food security of the land, or the nation – of the continent,” he recently told Inspiration 100.5 FM radio. “If we must satisfy Africa’s food security with our growing population, then there must be high commercialization of agriculture. That is modern farming.”

Listen to Ogunsua talk about Africa’s agricultural transformation with Inspiration 100.5 FM radio  

Currently, he is expecting a shipment of new chicks to restock his coop, and while he waits for his chickens to mature, also rears turkeys, rabbits and goats to generate cash flow and build his agricultural business.

“I am still a small farmer, but by the grace of God I am growing and I will get there,” he said.

—-

Click here to register and to learn more about the High-level Virtual Dialogue on Feeding Africa on 29-30 April 2021.

*AfDB

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Leaders Summit on Climate: African Development Bank President says the continent is “ground zero” of the crisis as major economies boost climate targets
April 23, 2021 | 0 Comments

African Development Bank President Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina on Thursday joined 40 heads of state and government at the Leaders Summit on Climate, where the United States, Japan and Canada announced ambitious climate targets to address the escalating emergency.

United States President Joe Biden said the US would aim to cut carbon emissions by 50% to 52% from 2005 levels by 2030. Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and Canadian Prime Minster Justin Trudeau upgraded their nations’ targets to more than 40% over the same period.

The United States is hosting the two-day virtual summit. It coincided with Earth Day on Thursday and gave a platform to a diverse range of voices, particularly those from developing countries that have been directly affected by climate-linked disasters and the Covid-19 pandemic.

Biden also announced plans to triple public financing for climate in developing countries by 2024. “Meeting this challenge requires mobilizing financing on an unprecedented scale. The private sector’s already recognized this – they know that climate change is more than a threat. It also presents the largest job opportunities in history,” the US leader said. “But the private sector has more to do and must do. Let’s be clear, even then the private sector cannot meet these challenges alone, governments need to step up and may need to lead.”

During a panel discussion titled “Financing the 10-year Sprint,” Adesina spelled out the challenge that confronts the African continent as the climate crisis worsens and the world races to meet the 2030 deadline for the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Africa contributed the least to rising temperatures but suffered the worst impacts of climate change, in the form of droughts, floods, and plagues like the recent locust invasion in East Africa. Adesina said: “The continent loses $7 billion to $15 billion a year to climate change, and this will rise to $50 billion per year by 2040, according to the IMF. Africa is not at net zero. Africa is at ground zero. We must therefore give Africa a lift to get a chance of adapting to what it did not cause.”

Adesina also highlighted the African Development Bank’s role as a climate change warrior. He said the Bank had committed $25 billion to climate finance over the next four years. Its share of financing devoted to climate rose from 9% in 2016 to 35% in 2019 and will reach 40% in 2021. The African Development Bank is the only multilateral development bank to meet and exceed the 50% parity for climate adaptation and resilience. The Bank devoted 50% of its climate finance to climate adaptation in 2018. In 2020, that rose to a record 63%.

In addition, the African Development Bank recently joined forces with the Global Center on Adaptation to launch the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program, which aims to mobilize $25 billion for climate adaptation by 2025. Supporters of the initiative include UN Secretary-General António Guterres and US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen.

Speakers who preceded the panel included President Félix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who is the current African Union Chairperson, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand, Prime Minister Andrew Holness of Jamaica, and Charles Michel, President of the Council of the European Union. Other heads of international financial institutions included International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva and World Bank President David Malpass.

Tshisekedi, whose country is home to one of the world’s green lungs in the Congo Basin – as well as the global provider of coltan, used to manufacture tantalum capacitators used in mobile phones, personal computers, automobile electronics and much more – said: “It is important that the summit accelerates the mobilization of additional financial resources, and this should be substantial. This also requires simplifying the procedures for accessing financing for the least developed countries, the majority of which are in Africa,” he said.

Speakers also discussed efforts to shift trillions of dollars of private investment to finance the transition to net zero carbon emissions by 2050. This is what world leaders agreed to in the Paris Agreement at the global climate summit in Paris in November 2016. A key part of the discussion on Thursday dwelt on the $100 billion that wealthy nations had agreed to mobilize annually by 2020 to address the climate financing needs of developing countries.

Malpass said the core of the World Bank’s action plan, a summary of which was published on Thursday, was to spend record amounts to obtain optimal results. “This is the path I hope others will follow,” he said. 

The IMF’s Georgieva proposed robust carbon pricing and phasing out carbon subsidies. “Our analysis shows that without it, we will not reach our climate carbonization goals. It also shows that a mix of steadily rising carbon prices and green infrastructure investment could increase global GDP by more than 0.7% a year over the next 15 years, and create millions of good-paying new jobs.”

*Source AfDB

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Egypt’s largest solar plant, Kom Ombo, receives US$ 114 million financing package
April 23, 2021 | 0 Comments

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the OPEC Fund for International Development (the OPEC Fund), the African Development Bank (AfDB), the Green Climate Fund (GCF) and Arab Bank today signed a US$ 114 million financing package with ACWA Power for the construction of the largest private solar plant in Egypt.

The development of the Kom Ombo solar plant will add 200 MW of energy capacity, increasing the share of renewable energy in Egypt’s energy mix and further promoting private-sector participation in the Egyptian power sector.

The package comprises loans of up to US$ 36 million from the EBRD, US$ 18 million from the OPEC Fund, US$ 17.8 million from the AfDB, US$ 23.8 million from the GCF and US$ 18 million from Arab Bank. This is in addition to equity bridge loans of up to US$ 14 million from EBRD and US$ 33.5 million from Arab Petroleum Investments Corporation (APICORP).

The new Kom Ombo plant will be located less than 20 km from Africa’s biggest solar park, the 1.8 GW Benban complex. Once operational, the new utility-scale plant will serve 130,000 households.

ACWA Power, a Saudi Arabian developer, investor and operator of power generation and desalinated-water plants, submitted the lowest tariff in what was the first solar photovoltaic (PV) tender in Egypt. The provision of solar energy through a public tendering process aims to achieve a competitive tariff and promote the growth of solar energy as an affordable alternative to conventional energy sources.

Private-sector participation in the Kom Ombo project is the result of successful policy dialogue with the Ministry of Electricity and Renewable Energy and the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company (EETC), as well as a US$ 3.6 million technical assistance programme, co-funded by the EBRD and the GCF, to support the EETC in administering competitive renewable energy tenders. In addition, the project has also benefitted from broader energy-sector reforms supported by the AfDB in recent years to scale up the involvement of the private sector.

EBRD President Odile Renaud Basso said: “We are very happy to team up again with ACWA Power in Egypt, after our successful partnership in Benban, to promote renewable energy in Egypt. Increasing the production of clean energy is an important step to reducing carbon emissions and addressing climate change. This is in line with the EBRD’s strategy to become a majority green bank by 2025. This project also marks the EBRD’s first co-financing project with the AfDB and the OPEC Fund in Egypt and we look forward to future joint investment opportunities for our institutions across Africa.”

OPEC Fund Director-General Abdulhamid Alkhalifa said: “We are pleased to contribute to Egypt’s efforts and strategy to expand its generation capacity in the renewable energy space. We have been at the forefront of advocating for access to affordable clean energy for many years. Kom Ombo will be our third project with ACWA Power and it exemplifies great cooperation between government, development finance and private-sector actors.”

The African Development Bank’s Vice President in charge of Power, Energy, Climate Change and Green Growth Kevin Kariuki said: “The Kom Ombo solar project is a truly remarkable transaction. It not only clearly demonstrates the indisputable competitiveness of solar PV vis-à-vis conventional sources of generation, but it also directly contributes towards the realization of Egypt’s ambitious renewable energy targets, in addition to being an excellent example of what stakeholders driven by a shared objective can achieve”.

Paddy Padmanathan, President and Chief Executive Officer of ACWA Power, said: “ACWA Power is privileged and proud to lead the realisation of the Kom Ombo PV project. The financing package signed today brings us closer to not only the people and the government of Egypt, but also to our finance partners, the EBRD, AfDB, the OPEC Fund, the GCF and Arab Bank and APICORP, reflecting our shared objective of supporting the energy transition to address the threat of climate change. Kom Ombo PV is the fourth project in ACWA Power’s Egyptian portfolio and the conclusion of this financing demonstrates the confidence in the Egyptian government’s ambitious renewable energy plans, being implemented through private-sector participation.”

Yannick Glemarec, Executive Director of the Green Climate Fund, said: “The GCF is proud to support implementation of Egypt’s ambitious renewable energy financing framework. US$ 154.7 million in GCF resources, including US$ 23.8 million for the Kom Ombo plant, catalyses over US$ 850 million in co-financing and unleashes the first wave of private renewable energy projects in Egypt. The GCF looks forward to continuing to support the government of Egypt in delivering on its ambitious climate targets through innovative partnerships with the private sector.”

Nemeh Sabbagh, CEO of Arab Bank, said: “We are proud to capitalize on our long experience in this sector and partner again with EBRD to provide debt financing and related banking services to another renewable energy project in Egypt for our client ACWA Power. Green financing is one of our strategic focus areas and Egypt is a core market for Arab Bank Group, where we have been operating since 1944”.  

The Kom Ombo plant will contribute to the Egyptian government’s target to generate 42 per cent of the country’s electricity from renewable energy sources by 2035 while delivering one of the lowest generation tariffs on the continent.

*AfDB

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African trade finance sees $5 bn in portfolio outflows in Q1 2020 due to Covid-19, but opportunities exist – report
April 23, 2021 | 0 Comments

Constrained global financial conditions caused by Covid-19 have led to massive portfolio outflows from Africa, exceeding $5 billion in the first quarter of 2020, a new continent-wide survey on trade finance has shown. About $3.1 billion left the South African market alone, the report found.

Launched on 15 April 2021, the African Trade Finance Survey Report(link is external) examines how trade finance has evolved during the Covid-19 pandemic and highlights the role it can play in overcoming the social and economic fallout of the disease. The survey was conducted by African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank(link is external)), jointly with the UN Economic Commission for Africa and the African Development Bank-hosted Making Finance Work for Africa(link is external) Partnership.

At the launch, Professor Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank, said a growing number of international banks were becoming even more reluctant to take on payment risks in countries where economic conditions were deteriorating.

“These massive capital outflows strained African banks, many of which recorded sharp drops in their net foreign assets. This further exacerbated liquidity constraints and undermined the capacity of banks to finance African trade,” he said.

The survey covers the first four months of 2020, including April, when global trade recorded its largest contraction on record. It aims to inform the design of interventions to address market challenges and effectively engage African financial institutions, trade finance intermediaries, regulatory authorities, and national authorities to accelerate efforts to bridge the region’s trade finance gap.

The report made numerous recommendations, including greater engagement between central banks and the industry, a push for increased digitalization and uptake of new technologies, and better data.

Despite the many challenges that came along with Covid-19, some opportunities also arose, the report noted. In fact, a few African countries’ economies showed strong resilience and expansion during the pandemic primarily due to their ability to be agile and to digitalize swiftly over the period.

To mitigate the significant outflows and mobilize for recovery, Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary at the UN Economic Commission for Africa, urged African leaders, especially Central Bank Governors and Finance Ministers and development partners, to further support institutions such as Afreximbank through capital increases and deploy more resources towards Africa’s recovery.  

Mervat Soltan, Chairperson and Managing Director at the Export Development Bank of Egypt, said the Bank had seen a significant increase in its digital services during the pandemic downturn. “Digitalization, which sustained business and trade growth during the pandemic, offers a great opportunity to help reduce costs and increase the use of trade finance facilities, and should become an integral part of the strategy to boost African trade post-Covid-19,” she added.

One way to boost African trade is through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which the UN’s Economic Commission for Africa estimates can improve intra-Africa trade by over 50%. Bola Adesola, Senior Vice Chairman for Africa at Standard Chartered, said the AfCFTA can provide an ideal platform to help drive new businesses on the continent, which will help accelerate trade.

*Source AfDB .For a replay of the report launch and to access the report and presentation, visit this website

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African Presidents and Global Leaders Support Bold Action On Climate Change Adaptation For Africa.
April 7, 2021 | 0 Comments
Africa now faces the dual onslaught of climate change – currently estimated at between $7 billion and $15 billion each year – and Covid-19, which has claimed 114,000 lives




In a historic and united show of solidarity for a continent that contributes only 5% to global emissions, more than 30 heads of state and global leaders committed to prioritize actions that help African countries adapt to the impacts of climate change and “build forward better.”

Africa now faces the dual onslaught of climate change – currently estimated at between $7 billion and $15 billion each year – and Covid-19, which has claimed 114,000 lives. The African Development Bank expects that the impact of climate change on the continent could rise to $50 billion each year by 2040, with a further 3% decline each year in GDP by 2050.

Speaking Tuesday, during a virtual Leaders’ Dialogue convened by the African Development Bank , the Global Center on Adaptation and the Africa Adaptation Initiative, more than 30 heads of state and global leaders rallied behind the bold new Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program . The program’s objective is to mobilize $25 billion to accelerate climate change adaptation actions across Africa.

President Félix-Antoine Tshisekedi Tshilombo of the Democratic Republic of Congo, and African Union Chairperson, invited his fellow leaders to: “revisit our climate ambitions and accelerate the implementation of our actions planned under our national priorities. To do this we will need to focus on actions to adapt to the impacts of climate change, these include nature-based solutions, energy transition, enhanced transparency framework, technology transfer and climate finance.”

The Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program is built to address the impacts of Covid-19, climate change, and the continent’s worst recession in 25 years. This is why today’s unprecedented show of support for the financing of African adaptation is so significant.

According to Ban Ki-moon, the 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Chair of the Global Center on Adaptation, “The Covid-19 pandemic is eroding recent progress in building climate resilience and leaving countries and communities more vulnerable to future shocks. Africa must make up for lost ground and lost time. Climate change did not stop because of Covid-19, and neither should the urgent task of preparing humanity to live with the multiple effects of a warming planet.”

President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon, and Chair of the African Union-led Africa Adaptation Initiative, spoke of Gabon’s record in emission reductions. He said that Gabon is one of the few countries in the world that is carbon positive. “We have to insist that equal attention be paid to climate adaptation and mitigation in climate finance. Africa calls on the developed nations to shoulder the historic responsibility and to join the program to accelerate the adaptation in Africa,” President Bongo said.

African Development Bank President Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina said: “With our partners, we intend to mobilize $25 billion in financing for the success of the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program. It is time for developed countries to meet their promise of providing $100 billion annually for climate finance. And a greater share of this should go to climate adaptation. So far, more than 20 trillion dollars have gone into Covid-19 stimulus packages in developed countries. The International Monetary Fund’s plan to issue $650 billion of new Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) to boost global reserves and liquidity will be enormously helpful to support green growth and climate financing for economic recoveryI applaud the leadership of the US government and US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, especially, on this big push.”

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said: “African nations are showing leadership…The Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program, and many other ambitious African initiatives, must be empowered to fully deliver on their goals. “

Guterres added: “Universal access to energy in Africa, a priority in the coming years, could be provided primarily through renewable energy. I call for a comprehensive package of support to meet these dual objectives by COP 26. It is achievable, it is necessary, it is overdue, and it is smart.”

Speaking on behalf of US President Joseph R. Biden, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said: “The United States remains a committed development partner for Africa and a huge supporter of the African Development Bank. Africa contributed the least to climate change but is suffering the worst of its effects. I congratulate the African Development Bank and the Global Center for Adaptation for developing the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program. We support the program… to help ensure that together, we can avoid the worst effects of climate change.”

The Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program, as launched by the African Development Bank and the Global Center on Adaptation, revolves around several transformative initiatives:

Climate Smart Digital Technologies for Agriculture and Food Security aims to scale up access to climate-smart digital technologies for at least 30 million farmers in Africa. The African Infrastructure Resilience Accelerator will scale up investment for climate-resilient urban and rural infrastructure in key sectors. These include water, transport, energy, and waste management for a circular economy. Empowering Youth for Entrepreneurship and Job Creation in Climate Resilience will provide one million youths with skills for climate adaptation and support 10,000 small and medium size youth-led businesses to create green jobs.  Innovative Financial Initiatives for Africa will help close adaptation finance gaps, enhance access to existing finance and mobilize new public and private sector investment.

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said: “As well as facing the health and economic crisis caused by the pandemic, countries in Africa are among the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Tackling this dual challenge requires putting adaptation at the heart of Africa’s recovery – so countries build resilience to climate change and spur economic activity. This pandemic has shown us the importance of investing in people. And that is so, so very valuable for Africa, which has a fast-growing young population. This begins by improving education, healthcare, and food security, and in that context, I warmly welcome the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program.”

Speaking on behalf of French President Emmanuel Macron, the Chief Executive of the French Development Agency, Remy Rioux said: “Africa is providing solutions to climate change, including the Great Green Wall and the Desert to Power initiative of the African Development Bank to build the world’s largest solar zone in the Sahel of Africa. France fully supports the Africa Adaptation Acceleration Program.”

Moderating the Leaders’ Dialogue, Dr. Patrick Verkooijen, CEO of the Global Center on Adaptation, said: “Africa has a unique opportunity to advance its development exponentially if it invests now in a climate-smart adapted future based on a deep understanding of climate risks and solutions that put nature and people at the center.”

Read the Global Call to Action here

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AfCFTA: Free trade bloc can be a game changer for African people and business
March 29, 2021 | 0 Comments

Exploring strategies to deepen private sector participation in the implementation African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was the highlight of a panel session during the 2021 WTO Aid-for-Trade Stocktaking meeting.

The African Development Bank, the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and International Trade Centre (ITC) organized the session held on Wednesday 24 March.

“The success of the AfCFTA hinges on the ability of African firms to understand and capitalize on the trade related opportunities offered by the AfCFTA,” said Pamela Coke-Hamilton, International Trade Centre (ITC) Executive Director.

The Aid-for-Trade initiative – which promotes the role of trade in development and supports building productive capacities– should focus on three priorities to boost the private sector’s role in AfCFTA: empowering businesses with skills and know-how; fostering multi-stakeholder partnerships to attract investment for greater value addition and enhancing market connections using e-commerce and digital platforms, Coke-Hamilton said. 

Also participating were: Mr. Alan Kyerematen, Ghana Minister of Trade and Industry; Mr. Li Yong, Director-General of UNIDO; Mr. Solomon Quaynor, African Development Bank Vice President, Industry, Infrastructure, Private Sector and Trade; Ms. Tania Rödiger-Vorwerk, Director, Private Sector, Trade, Employment and Digital Technologies in Germany’s Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development; Ms. Glwadys Tawema, CEO of Benin firm, Karethic; Mr. Emmanouil Davradakis, Senior Economist, European Investment Bank; Mr. Paul Walters, Director for Trade & Development, UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office and Mr. Michael Kottoh, Head of Strategy & Research, AfroChampions.

“This is a trade area of the people, so we need to understand and engage the people to go forward and believe in this dream of an African free trade area,” said Ambassador Usha Dwarka-Canabady, Permanent Representative of Mauritius at the United Nations Office at Geneva and coordinator of the African Group at the World Trade Organization, who moderated.

Discussion focused on boosting  private sector involvement in policy dialogues on trade, investment and infrastructure, strategies to increase participation by micro, small and medium enterprises, and the need for greater partnerships to attract investment in promising industries.

 Kyerematen proposed that bridging information gaps between governments and the private sector would help build confidence around the free trade agreement and noted that fiscal incentives, including subsidies, might be needed in some instances.

Li emphasized the private sector’s role in speeding up industrial development and economic diversification, particularly in the context of the ongoing pandemic and other development challenges.   “The private sector accounts for 80% of total production, two thirds of investment, three-quarters of credit and employs 90% of the working age population.” He also noted “several determining factors, including an enabling business environment, affordable connectivity, accelerated digitalization and opportunities to forge strong public-private partnerships” as crucial to ensuring businesses’ commitment to trade and invest in the AfCFTA.

The African Development Bank, UNIDO and the ITC have each engaged with the private sector at the continental, regional and sub-national level to facilitate the African business community’s access to the new single market, said Vice-President Quaynor.

The African Development Bank is actively supporting or looking to support initiatives to boost trade and improve livelihoods for Africans, Quaynor said, citing the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange as a model to  be replicated across Africa, referring to the commodities exchange established in 2008 that is transforming the country’s agricultural trade.

“African farmers receive only 20-25% of the final price of their market produce, compared to the 70-85% that Asian farmers receive.”

Quaynor also named AfroChampions, a public-private partnership designed to accelerate economic integration and support the emergence of African multi-nationals, as an initiative that is making an impact.

The meeting comes in the wake of the entry into force of the AfCFTA on 1 January 2021. The free trade area  brings together 1.3 billion Africans in a $3.4 trillion economic bloc. The bloc is the largest free trade area since the establishment of the World Trade Organization, and economists project that its benefits and impacts could lift tens of millions out of poverty over the next 15 years.

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Women-led Kenyan design house wins Fashionomics Africa sustainable design competition for turning fruit waste into eco-friendly footwear
March 29, 2021 | 0 Comments

The African Development Bank’s Fashionomics Africa initiative has named a women-led Kenya shoe design house as the winner of its competition to support producers of sustainable fashion.

Pine Kazi, which converts pineapple leaf and recycled rubber into fashionable footwear, won the $2,000 Fashionomics Africa competition cash prize. In addition, the business will have the opportunity to showcase its creation in online events, share insights on key sustainability challenges facing the industry and receive a certificate.

The brand, co-founded by Olivia Okinyi, Angela Musyoka and Mike Langa, will also have access to media opportunities and receive mentoring and networking opportunities from competition collaborators.

“Pine Kazi is greatly humbled to be the winners of the first Fashionomics Africa contest in Africa. This is indeed an honour to the Kenyan people and the African continent at large,” said Okinyi.

Musyoka added: “All our dreams can come true if we have the courage and the patience to pursue them.”

Competition judges said Pine Kazi’s shoes are innovative and sustainable. The upper of the shoe is made from pineapple textile, while the inside is lined with organic cotton. The sole is made from sisal plant fiber, fitted with recycled tyre underneath.

The Fashionomics Africa contest honours African fashion brands working to change how fashion is produced, bought, used and recycled, to encourage more sustainable consumer behaviour. A panel of four judges representing the Bank and competition collaborators – the United Nations Environment Program, the Parsons School of Design and the Ellen MacArthur Foundation – reviewed 110 entries from 24 African countries and selected three finalists: Pine Kazi; CiiE Luxuries, an eco-friendly accessories business based in Abuja, Nigeria; and clothing brand Labake Lagos.

“We were pleasantly surprised by all the applications received for the first edition of our Fashionomics Africa competition. It was very difficult to make a choice, but the finalists stood out with their innovative, durable and contemporary designs,” said Emanuela Gregorio, coordinator of the Fashionomics Africa initiative at the African Development Bank.

Of the applications, 65% were submitted by women and the businesses were predominantly micro-enterprises (54%), solo entrepreneurs (35%) and small businesses (12%).

“What we learned from this Fashionomics Africa contest, in this month celebrating women around the world, is that many women entrepreneurs are advocating for sustainable production and consumption, and we commend their efforts,” said Amel Hamza, Division Manager at the Bank’s Gender, Women and Civil Society Department.

An online public vote by 986 participants determined the winner: Pine Kazi got 400 votes, 318 votes went to CiiE Luxuries, and 268 to Labake Lagos.

Competition judge and a Program Director at New York-based Parsons School of Design, Brendan McCarthy, congratulated Pine Kazi during the competition winners’ announcement last Friday: “You transformed waste materials from pineapples into profound new textiles and absolutely beautiful new shoes,” he said.

The shoes are 100% handmade to reduce carbon footprint and can last three years, Pine Kazi says.

Okinyi wrote in Pine Kazi’s competition entry that if they won, they would invest half the winnings in machinery used to make shoe source materials. “[This machinery] will see pineapple leaf waste put to work and create more green jobs for unemployed youth,” she added.

The design house said resources would also be divided equally between research and development of natural dyes, the acquisition of professional stylists and the establishment of a centralized production system.

To learn more about the Fashionomics Africa online competition, click here.

Fashionomics Africa is an initiative of the African Development Bank to increase Africa’s participation in the global textile and fashion industry value chains – with an emphasis on women and youth.

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Canada and African Development Bank sign CAD 133 million gender lens Climate Fund for Africa
March 25, 2021 | 0 Comments

The Government of Canada and the African Development Bank  have signed an agreement formalizing the Canada–African Development Bank Climate Fund (CACF), a transformative special fund aimed at providing concessional loans to climate change-related projects with a strong gender-responsive component.

The fund will be capitalized through a combination of a CAD 122.9 million ($104.8 million)) repayable contribution, aimed at providing concessional loans for both sovereign and non-sovereign operations plus a CAD 10 million grant contribution for complementary technical assistance. The African Development Bank will administer the fund.

Speaking at a virtual signing ceremony to conclude the agreement, held 17 March on the sidelines of the Canada-Africa Clean Growth Symposium, Canada’s Minister of International Development, the Hon. Karina Gould, said the investment, with its strong gender footprint, recognized “the critical role that women need to play in climate action, and supports their efforts to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change.”

“Climate change is one of the most important challenges of our time…And, although we are all affected by it, we in Canada know that not everyone is affected equally…that means that vulnerable and marginalized people are bearing the brunt of this crisis.”

As a concessional facility, CACF resources will be deployed in innovative low-carbon technologies, renewable energy, climate-smart agriculture, sustainable forestry, water management, and climate-resilience projects.  The fund will finance climate change related projects in the African Development Bank’s regional member countries, including those that demonstrate a strong gender equality focus. The empowerment of women and girls will be an objective across all concessional financing of the CACF, aiming at direct, measurable gender equality outcomes.

“In building back Africa, climate resilience is very important… This is why I’m delighted and thrilled with the Canada-African Development Bank Climate Fund that we are launching today,” African Development Bank President Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina said in remarks after the announcement.

He thanked Canada for its “tremendous” support to the Bank in terms of general capital increases, temporary callable capital, and the support that Canada has given to Africa through the Bank.

“These resources that you are making available, it’s very unique, in helping us with adaptation. First, it is long-term financing. It will provide long-term capital to the private sector and to the public sector. It also provides it at affordable levels for countries…What I like most about it is that it looks at multi-sectoral use of this financing…all these things are very important to support Africa in climate adaptation and mitigation,” Adesina said. “Canada has always been there for Africa…Canada is a great friend of Africa.”

The African Development Bank’s financing for climate has increased fourfold from 9% of its total portfolio in 2016, to 36% by 2019, and is on track to achieve its target of 40% of total portfolio by the end of 2021. The Bank has committed to providing $25 billion in climate financing by 2025.

The Canada-Africa Clean Growth Symposium, co-hosted by Canada, Ethiopia and Senegal, brings together economic and business leaders from the public and private sectors from Canada and sub-Saharan Africa to explore innovative ways to grow their economies, while reducing emissions and building resilience to climate change.

The sessions focused on a blueprint for a green economy, incorporating socioeconomic development, while ensuring sustainable management of natural resources, minimizing waste and pollution, and following climate-resilient and low-carbon development pathways.

The symposium also included a trade policy discussion on environmental considerations in international trade and the promotion of rules-based trade.

Canada, one of the African Development Bank Group’s key non-regional members, has participated in all the Group’s capital increases. This includes its 7th General Capital Increase, the replenishments of the African Development Fund, including the 15th replenishment of the Fund (ADF-15), with a 7.5% increase in African Development Bank Units of Account (UA) terms. It has also contributed to numerous trust funds and initiatives managed by the Bank Group.

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Uganda: African Development Bank signs $229.5 million financing agreement for the Kampala-Jinja Expressway Project
March 25, 2021 | 0 Comments

The Kampala-Jinja Expressway Project will cut travel time and boost trade along an important artery linking Uganda with its neighbors.

The African Development Bank (AfDB.org) and the Government of Uganda on Tuesday signed a $229.5 million financing agreement for the first phase of the Kampala-Jinja Expressway Project, which will cut travel time and boost trade along an important artery linking Uganda with its neighbors.

The Kampala-Jinja Expressway Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Project-Phase I would improve travel flow, thereby “reducing travel time from more than three hours to under one hour” between Jinja and Kampala along the northern corridor linking Uganda to neighbors Rwanda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Kenya, said Matia Kasaija, Minister of Finance, Planning and Economic Development.

Minister Kasaija, who signed the accord on behalf of the government, noted that the African Development Bank was the second-largest multilateral donor to Uganda, contributing 20% of the country’s development assistance in the areas of roads, energy, agriculture, education, health and sanitation.

He said the Kampala-Jinja road was a major gateway for all imports and exports into and out of Uganda and its successful implementation would spur trade volumes and economic growth in Uganda and among its neighbors.

The Bank’s Country Manager for Uganda, Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan, who signed on behalf of the Bank, said the agreement demonstrates the Bank’s commitment to supporting Uganda’s development and enhancing the well-being of its people.

“The Public-Private Partnership model will bring in private sector participation and financing of a key infrastructure in Uganda and will yield a significant economic return for the country with an estimated net revenue of $2.1 billion over the 30-year concession period,” Ngafuan said.

The KJE project would boost local industries, with the agreement stipulating that at least 30% of subcontracting in the project would be awarded to local companies under the Buy Uganda Build Uganda (BUBU) policy. It would create at least 1,500 direct jobs during the construction phase and 250 jobs during the operational phase, Ngafuan said.

The financing of the Kampala-Jinja Expressway Project is part of the Bank’s commitment to improving the quality of life of the people of Africa through regional integration and is in line with its Ten-Year Strategy (2013-2022) for Africa.

The project comprises the Kampala-Jinja Mainline Expressway and the Kampala Southern Urban Bypass (KSB). The works will be implemented in two sections: Section 1 is an urban expressway including KSB (18km) and 35km of the main expressway from Kampala to Namagunga. Section 2 is a rural motorway covering 42km from Namagunga to Jinja.

The proposed concession period is 30 years, including an eight-year construction period. The Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) is the executing agency and has already commenced the procurement of a private concessionaire on a design-build-finance-operate-transfer (DBFOT) basis under the Availability Payment PPP model.

Also present at the signing ceremony were Ms. Allen Kagina, the Executive Director of the Uganda National Roads Authority (UNRA) and Mr. Peter Lokeris, Minister for State Works and Transport.

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Life after debt: VP Arezki reflects on governance and growth in Africa
March 25, 2021 | 0 Comments

Rabah Arezki, the African Development Bank's Chief Economist and Vice President for Economic Governance and Knowledge Management
Rabah Arezki, African Development Bank’s Chief Economist and Vice President for Economic Governance and Knowledge Management

Following the launch of the 2021 edition of the African Economic Outlook, Rabah Arezki, the African Development Bank’s Chief Economist and Vice President for Economic Governance and Knowledge Management, discusses strategies to rebuild stronger African economies.

In 2021, Africa is forecast to rebound from its worst economic recession in half a century. Which indicators underpin the likelihood of such a recovery?

After contracting by 2.1 % in 2020, Africa’s real GDP is expected to grow by 3.4 % in 2021. This anticipated recovery from the worst recession in more than half a century would be underpinned by COVID-19 vaccinations and helped by a resumption of tourism, a rebound in commodity prices, and the lifting of restrictions aimed at stemming the spread of the virus. However,  the picture is clouded by unusually high uncertainties.

On the downside, the emergence of more contagious strains of COVID-19 could derail the recovery. If progress in deploying safe and effective treatment is slower than expected, governments would have to reinstate lockdown restrictions. A slow rebound in financial inflows, subdued commodity prices and tight financing conditions would suppress public finances and jeopardize the recovery. Social and geopolitical tensions in the region are also a major source of risk.

On the upside, the projected recovery could be better than anticipated if there is timely, fair and universal access to COVID-19 therapeutics and vaccines and if structural transformation efforts, including digitalization and work-from-home measures, are intensified by countries and employers. Continued fiscal and monetary stimulus measures would also strengthen the recovery.

Can you provide a clear picture of the debt situation in African countries? Why does debt relief matter now, more than ever before?

To cushion the economic and social impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, many governments in the continent announced fiscal stimulus packages that averaged about 3% of GDP. This caused a surge in the gross financing needs of the continent, which has been financed partly by ramping up debt. The average debt-to-GDP ratio, which had somewhat stabilized at around 60% of GDP at the end of 2019, is expected to climb by 10 to 15 percentage points by 2021.

The composition of Africa’s debt continues to shift towards commercial and non-Paris Club creditors, and from external to domestic sources. The Paris Club, which used to account for more than half of Africa’s external debt, now accounts for only about 27%. Africa owes the rest of the world about $546 billion – equivalent to one-quarter of its GDP and nearly equal to the size of its annual revenues of $501 billion. The recent debt accumulation has been driven mainly by the depreciation in exchange rates, growing interest expenses, and high primary deficits.

Debt relief matters now because a large number of countries are in debt distress or at high risk of debt distress. Out of the 38 low-income countries with DSA ratings, six are currently in debt distress and 14 are at high risk of debt distress. Shorter maturity of debt and increasing interest expenses on the public debt (about 18% of revenue) have exposed countries to higher refinancing risks. Increased reliance on external commercial debt has exposed countries to higher exchange rates and market risks. Debt relief would help create the fiscal space required to cushion the pandemic’s impact and drive a fast and sustainable economic recovery.

What specific reforms does AEO 2021 propose for handling debt resolution, governance, and sustainable growth issues in Africa?

The 2021 African Economic Outlook (AEO) recommends three blocks of reforms to improve the process of debt resolutions and the nexus with governance and sustainable growth. Reforms to the international financial architecture of sovereign debt to promote orderly restructuring and resolution. The current global architecture requires better coordination among creditors, which can be achieved by establishing a wider forum that brings together official bilateral, multilateral, and private-sector creditors to agree on common terms for debt restructuring and resolution.

Because African economies are particularly exposed to exogenous shocks that amplify uncertainties associated with debt contracts and repayments, the use of value recovery instruments should be embraced. Governments should use state-contingent debt instruments and value recovery sweeteners to offer risk- and reward-sharing benefits to creditors to facilitate debt restructuring negotiations. These instruments would link debt-service obligations to predefined indicators or states of the world so that in times of crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic or a natural catastrophe, debt and financing pressures are automatically alleviated.

Innovations in contract design that incorporate collective action clauses and aggregation clauses in bond contracts can allow agreed debt restructuring proposals to be aggregated across creditors for different bond series. Using a standardized design would help limit legal vulnerabilities, enhance creditor coordination, and market acceptability.

To get to the root of Africa’s debt problem and avoid the need for future debt jubilees, the relationship between debt, governance, and growth must be strengthened. Governance reforms that block leakages in public finances, improve transparency in debt management, and promote the efficiency of public investments would have to be reinforced. Growth-friendly policies that focus on accelerating digitalization and promoting free and fair competition are required to grow Africa out of the COVID-19 crisis and avoid a looming debt crisis.

What should African countries do to mitigate the short, medium, and long-term economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic?

In the short term, African countries should continue to support the health sector to consolidate gains in the fight against the pandemic. Countries should also continue to sustain monetary and fiscal support to underpin economic recovery and address increasing poverty by expanding social safety nets and making growth more equitable.

In the short to medium term, countries should address increasing poverty by expanding social safety nets and making growth more equitable. The coverage and scope of social protection must be expanded to aid the newly impoverished through in-kind support such as free food banks, medical supplies and subsidized housing.

In the medium to long term, regional integration and multinational solidarity, especially through the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement, should be strengthened. Policymakers should accelerate structural transformation through digitalization, fair competition, industrialization, and diversification. Active labour market policies need to be scaled up to retool the labour force for the evolving needs of the workplace and to build a more resilient future.

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Making the most of Africa’s energy potential
March 17, 2021 | 0 Comments

Pressure is building to phase out petroleum production in Africa to fight climate change. But harnessed strategically, Africa’s oil and gas industry can power a better future for Africa. Are calls to “keep it in the ground” really in Africa’s best interests?

By NJ Ayuk*

NJ Ayuk is the executive chairman of the African Energy Chamber. (Credit: African Energy Chamber)
NJ Ayuk is the executive chairman of the African Energy Chamber. (Credit: African Energy Chamber)

Do a Google search for ‘Help Africa,’ and you know how many results you’ll get?

1.7 Billion. ‘Help children in Africa, African hunger and how to help, Save Africa from climate change.’

There’s even a strategy for that last one: Keep Africa’s petroleum resources in the ground. The reasoning goes, if we produce fewer fossil fuels, we’ll emit less carbon and be better protected from climate change.

The international community is embracing that idea. BlackRock and Royal Bank of Scotland said they’re moving away from investments that support fossil fuel production.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and the International Energy Agency go even further.

Seeing how the Covid-19 pandemic has affected oil markets, they say now is a golden opportunity to phase out fossil fuels and usher in an era of renewable resources, freeing developing countries in particular from ‘dirty energy sources.’

Carbon emissions

Over the last 300 years, all of Africa has emitted seven times less carbon dioxide than China, 13 times less than the United States, and 18 times less than the combined countries of Europe.

Attempting to phase out Africa’s oil industry to prevent climate change is like snuffing out a small, controlled campfire instead of focusing your attention on kilometers of blazing forestland.

Funny that the keep-fossil-fuels-in-the-ground argument is a Western construct, promoted by countries that developed their economies with fossil fuels. I will not name names.

The head of Africa oil trading for the multinational commodity-trading firm, Trafigura, said telling Africa not to develop its resources is akin to making Africa “pay for the sins” of other regions. I say, trying to dictate what Africa does with its own resources is insulting, hypocritical, and frankly, an overstep.

But you know what, I think there’s more going on here than just climate change concerns. The oil and gas industry has been painted as a bunch of bad guys that oppress people and steal resources. Wrong.

But if that’s true, how do you explain indigenous oil and gas industry companies that provide jobs and training opportunities for local residents, and partner with local suppliers? Same story for the international companies operating in Africa.

But on top of providing jobs, international companies also share knowledge and technology and often improve the communities where they operate.

Something else to consider: Many oil and gas companies are diversifying their portfolios to include renewable energy assets. In fact, some of them are at the forefront of research that could lead to new renewable energy technologies.

So, if the goal is to move Africa toward increased renewable energy usage a healthy oil and gas industry is a good and cost-effective way to get there.

Does anyone care about energy poverty?

But the most important reason why Africa should be free to continue hydrocarbon production is this: Africa’s huge natural gas reserves are the continent’s best shot at alleviating energy poverty.

Today, more than 620 million people in sub-Saharan Africa don’t have electricity. That’s two-thirds of the population. Hundreds of millions more have unreliable or limited power.

What does that look like?  Without electricity, you’re cooking your food and warming your home by burning wood, charcoal, or maybe even animal waste. Your regular exposure to indoor air pollution increases your risk of respiratory infections and chronic conditions.

If you need to go to the hospital for treatment, it will be by lantern light or, worse yet, in the dark. Equipment that requires electricity, like MRI machines and ventilators, is probably not an option. 

And that’s just one aspect of your life. It doesn’t even touch on how a lack of electricity impacts your children’s school or limits economic growth in your community and your employment opportunities.

Gas-to-power technology which, incidentally, generate fewer CO2 emissions can bring reliable electricity to Africa. But we have to be allowed to unleash our resources, not constrain them.

The good news is, 13 African countries are using natural gas they produce themselves or import from neighboring nations to generate electricity.  Yes, I know that renewable energy can help meet Africa’s power needs, too. But Africans shouldn’t be pressured to make either-or decisions in this area.

Energy poverty is a serious concern. Making the solution more difficult to address is simply wrong.

Freedom from aid

Now, let’s circle back to the idea that Africa needs everyone’s help. For more than 60 years, the world has poured financial aid into Africa. And where has that gotten us?

We still have hunger. We still have poverty. We still have violence, infrastructure deficit –the list goes on.

There’s no question other nations and other people want to lift us up.  But the net effect of their generosity has been to keep Africa under outside control.

To achieve autonomy, we start by monetising of our oil and gas resources. This starts with using oil and gas as a feedstock to create other value-added products, like petrochemicals and fuel. Then we take the revenues to build infrastructure and diversify economies.

Senegal, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Nigeria, Cameroon, Algeria and Equatorial Guinea has started down this path. And with the right fiscal, tax and regulatory policies, they will be on their way to becoming major players in the world’s LNG market.

*NJ Ayuk is the executive chairman of the African Energy Chamber

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In Nigeria, a mother’s search for tasty, nutritious food for her son spurs a baby food revolution
March 16, 2021 | 0 Comments
Oluwaseun Sangoleye is CEO of Baby Grubz, a Nigerian social enterprise that she founded when her son's health waned after he refused traditional baby foods and formulas.
Oluwaseun Sangoleye is CEO of Baby Grubz, a Nigerian social enterprise that she founded when her son’s health waned after he refused traditional baby foods and formulas.

For Women’s History Month, we spotlight Oluwaseun Sangoleye, founder of Baby Grubz, a Nigerian baby food company. As a first runner-up in the African Development Bank’s 2020 AgriPitch competition, Sangoleye and Baby Grubz received a $10,000 grant from the Bank’s Youth Entrepreneurship and Innovation Multi-Donor Trust Fund. We asked Sangoleye about her journey to change the way mothers think about nutrition and feeding their babies.

When Oluwaseun Sangoleye became a mother for the first time in 2012, she had no idea motherhood would inspire her to start her own company and that she would one day be supplying mothers in Nigeria, and other parts of West Africa, with healthier food for their infants. An engineer with a degree in computer science, when she gave birth to her son, she had given very little thought to what babies eat.

“I just believed they were born, you breastfeed them, and then somewhere along the way they start eating regular food,” Seun (as she’s known to staff) recalls.

However, when her growing baby refused to take baby formula, she was desperate to find an alternative. She asked her mother, mother-in-law and women at her church, but none of their suggestions worked. She searched online for help, but found no local content on how or what to feed babies.

“Everything I found online was from the UK or US, but I noticed they all promoted food purees and thought, ‘I can do that here!’” she said.

Seun created a few different recipes from pureed fruits and vegetables, including bananas, sweet potatoes and carrots, for her son to try. To her surprise, he liked them and wanted more. Excited about her discovery, Seun became an evangelist for tasty baby food, sharing the information she had with mothers and caregivers in online forums and social media channels. As her following grew, the women began to ask her to make food for them. So she did. However, it wasn’t easy – she faced a few challenges at the start.

Although her son was eating the new food she prepared for him, he wasn’t getting all the vitamins and micronutrients a growing child needs. He soon developed rickets, a skeletal disorder that’s caused by a lack of vitamin D, calcium or phosphate.

This sent Seun back into research mode. This time, she focused on learning more about the nutritional needs of growing babies at each stage of their development. She spoke with dieticians and nutritionists, and discovered many babies in Nigeria were malnourished.

“I decided then that I didn’t want to just use this info for my son and the few mothers on the forums. I wanted to do something that could help more African children and mothers,” she said.

In 2013, she launched Baby Grubz , a Lagos-based social enterprise that produces affordable, nutrient-dense food and snacks for babies and toddlers using locally-sourced grains, cereals, fruits and vegetables.

With over 30,000 followers on Instagram and more than 325,000 mothers connected to nutrition advice via an online platform, Seun’s Baby Grubz journey has included education for mothers, helping them understand the nutritional needs of babies. Her team of 18 employees, which includes 16 women, are also given basic training in nutrition when they join the company.

The Baby Grubz team outside their factory in Lagos. “Mum-in-Chief” Seun Sangoleye (center in pink) was the first runner-up in the Women-Empowered Business category at the Bank’s 2020 AgriPitch Competition in November 2020.

“At Baby Grubz, we believe that poverty and malnutrition go hand in hand,” said Seun. “Our holistic approach leverages the strength of mothers in the fight against malnutrition by empowering women traders, nutrition educators and breastfeeding advocates in their communities.”

Baby Grubz has expanded its women-only distribution model across Nigeria, Ghana, and even to Nigerian and other West African mothers in the UK who are looking for familiar foods to feed their babies.

Although COVID-19 lockdowns in Nigeria have impacted Baby Grubz’s domestic supply chain, the business has grown over the last year as mothers who typically bought imported baby foods looked for local options due to closed borders and shipping delays.

“We’ve seen an increase in sales, mostly from people discovering Baby Grubz for the first time,” said Seun.

With a healthy son, who will be nine this year, and a growing business, Seun is determined to be an example for other African women entrepreneurs: “Baby Grubz is a multinational company of African descent selling indigenous products. These are the building blocks of excellence.”

Seun participated in the AgriPitch Competition bootcamp where she received training on investment readiness, financial management and market readiness. She was first runner-up in the Women-Empowered Business category and will receive follow-up mentoring for six months. The AgriPitch competition is organized by the Bank’s Enable Youth Program.

*Courtesy of AfDB

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Nobel laureate urges more action on debt for African growth to rebound
March 13, 2021 | 0 Comments

Nobel laureate Joseph E. Stiglitz has called for a comprehensive global plan to help countries cope with mounting debt that has been compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Stiglitz, a recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 2001, was speaking on Friday at the virtual launch of the African Development Bank’s 2021 African Economic Outlook report during a conversation with Bank President Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina.

Adesina began the exchange by pointing out that Africa’s debt had climbed to around 70 percent of gross domestic product (GDP). He then sought Stiglitz’s views on the prevailing global debt architecture.

“That’s a question I’ve been very concerned with for a long time … You need debt restructuring, and that needs to be really high on the international agenda,” said Stiglitz, an American economist and a professor at Columbia University.

“Every country has bankruptcy laws but there’s no bankruptcy law for international debt,” Stiglitz added. “Remember when there’s too much debt, it’s as much the creditor’s problem as the debtor’s problem.”

Adesina and Stiglitz went on to discuss recent debt relief efforts, including a debt standstill that the G20 group of wealthy nations presented to the world’s poorest countries in April 2020. Stiglitz said the standstill took place when it seemed the pandemic might only last a few months. “Now that it’s lasted a year, a standstill is not enough.”

“What needs to be done with debt is comprehensive and quick restructuring. We don’t want to fall into the trap of doing too little, too late,” Stiglitz said.

This year’s African Economic Outlook highlights how the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic has contributed to rising debt levels among African countries, and proposes remedies. Stiglitz said his proposal, an international debt framework, had to include the private sector, given its growing role as a source of government debt.

According to the African Economic Outlook, the share of commercial creditors in Africa’s external debt stock has more than doubled in the last two decades, from 17 percent in 2000 to 40 percent by the end of 2019.

Some hope has come in the form of new special drawing rights, potentially $500 billion, which the G20 pledged earlier in March to the International Monetary Fund to support poor countries. Adesina said the funds would “go a long way” to stabilizing foreign reserves and the exchange rate, allowing countries to go back to the market.

Adesina said another solution could be to establish an African financial stabilization mechanism where African countries can pool their funds, which would allow countries to have “endogenous” fiscal and monetary policies to ensure that you deal with “the cause of the illness…and not always the symptoms.”

Both speakers strongly favored beefing up what Adesina called Africa’s “healthcare defence.”

“Investing in quality healthcare infrastructure is so important. We are going to be investing in this… and the private sector has to play a big role,” Adesina said.

Adesina called for “vaccine justice”, pointing out that so far, only one percent of the continent’s population had received delivery of vaccines – a key part of the continent’s health and economic response, as the African Economic Outlook report also points out.

The African Economic Outlook is the African Development Bank’s flagship annual publication. It provides economic data as well as analysis and recommendations for the continent’s economies. Each edition focuses on a contemporary theme.

The 2021 edition of the African Economic Outlook estimates that Africa’s GDP contracted 2.1 percent in 2020, the continent’s first recession in half a century. GDP is projected to grow by 3.4 percent in 2021.

Regarding debt, the report estimates that African governments need additional gross financing of about $154 billion in 2020/21 to respond to the Covid-19 crisis.

Find the full report here.

*AfDB

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African Economic Outlook 2021: Africa’s growth prospects bullish despite COVID-19 constraints and debt burden
March 13, 2021 | 0 Comments

  • The economic impact of the pandemic varies across economic characteristics and regions, but the projected recovery is broad-based
  • the average debt-to-GDP ratio for Africa is expected to climb by 10 to 15 percentage points in the short to medium term
  • the time for one last debt relief for Africa is now – President Akinwumi A. Adesina

Despite the challenging backdrop of a global pandemic and external economic shocks, Africa is expected to recover from its worst recession in half a century and reach 3.4 percent growth in 2021, the African Development Bank said in its 2021 African Economic Outlook report, launched on Friday.

The outbreak of the novel coronavirus in December 2019 has taken a massive toll on Africa, hitting tourism-dependent economies, oil-exporting economies and other-resource intensive economies the hardest, as well as deepening inequality.

The African Economic Outlook, published annually since 2003, provides headline numbers on Africa’s economic performance and outlook. This year’s theme “From Debt Resolution to Growth: The Road Ahead for Africa”, highlights the impact of Covid-19 and government debt, offering mitigating measures to governments and policy makers.

The continent-wide projected recovery, following a 2.1% contraction in 2020, does not remove the threat of increasing poverty, the report said. An estimated 39 million Africans could possibly slip into extreme poverty this year, following about 30 million who were pushed into extreme poverty in 2020 as a result of the pandemic. The report finds that populations with lower levels of education, few assets, and working in informal jobs are the most affected and must be protected.

Presenting the report during a virtual launch ceremony, African Development Bank Vice President and Chief Economist Rabah Arezki cautioned that Africa’s predicted growth could be subject to major downside risks arising from both external and domestic factors. “The cost of inaction will be large,” he warned.

Debt

In 2020, government spending across Africa the continent skyrocketed as countries strived to support their populations through the pandemic.

This has had a direct negative impact on budgetary balances and debt burdens: the average debt-to-GDP ratio for Africa is expected to climb by 10 to 15 percentage points in the short to medium term, fueled by the surge in government spending and the contraction of fiscal revenues as a result of Covid–19.
This will result in fast-paced debt accumulation in the near to medium term. Although the average debt to-GDP ratio had stabilized around 60 percent of GDP, recent debt restructuring experiences in Africa have been costly and lengthy because information asymmetries, creditor coordination problems, and the use of more complicated debt instruments, the report said.

African Development Bank’s Covid response

The African Development Bank reacted swiftly to the Covid-19 pandemic, putting in place a crisis response facility to support countries in mitigating the health and economic effects of the pandemic. The Bank also launched a $3 billion Fight COVID–19 social bond on global capital markets, which at the time was the largest U.S. dollar-denominated social bond ever.

However, the fundamentals of Africa’s debt burden must be prioritized and not ignored, African Development Bank President Dr. Akinwumi A Adesina said.

“The Bank made a strategic and forward-looking choice to discuss a topic that could become a key policy concern in the near term,” he writes in the report’s foreword.

“We need to address Africa’s debt and development finance challenges in partnership with the international community. Much larger financial support is needed, and private sector creditors need to be part of the solution. The time for one last debt relief drive for Africa is now.”

The report makes important recommendations for a multi-pronged policy approach to addressing the pandemic. These include  supporting  the health sector with resources  for health care systems to cope with the virus and other preventable diseases;  monetary and fiscal support to underpin economic recovery; expanding social safety nets and making growth more equitable; minimizing the long-term implications of the pandemic on human capital accumulation by opening schools and scaling up active labor market policies to retool the labor force for the future of work through digitalization, industrialization, and diversification.

Hannan Morsy, Director of the African Development Bank’s Macroeconomic Policy, Forecasting and Research Department, said: “We have a once-in-a-century opportunity at building forward better, more equitable, more sustainable and above all more resilient. Prompt and bold measures are needed to make it happen, the report highlights the required actions.”

Earlier, Professor Joseph E. Stiglitz, recipient of the 2001 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, joined Dr. Adesina for a one-and-one conversation as the event opener. This led into a broader panel discussion to discuss the report.

Read Entire Report Here

*AFDB

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African Development Bank named the World’s Best Multilateral Financial Institution 2021 by Global Finance
March 9, 2021 | 0 Comments

Abidjan, 9 March 2021 – The prestigious U.S. magazine, Global Finance, specializing in financial markets and investment banking, has named the African Development Bank as the “Best Multilateral Financial Institution in the world for 2021”. 

 The award is a global recognition for the path breaking efforts of the African Development Bank as it transforms itself into a solutions bank for Africa, through a combination of its operations, knowledge services and investment positioning, which continue to help accelerate Africa’s development.

 The award is an affirmation of the success of the operational strategy being pursued by the African Development Bank under the leadership of Akinwumi A. Adesina, who was unanimously re-elected to a second consecutive five-year term as President of the institution last year. 

 “With widespread expectations of consolidation in multiple sectors and all around the world, investment banks will play a leading role in reshaping the world economy post-pandemic,” said Joseph D. Giarraputo, publisher and editorial director of Global Finance on announcing the winning list. 

 “Companies need more than ever to understand the specialties and skills that investment banks bring to the table. Global Finance awards are a valuable guide.”

 In 2020 the African Development Bank received broad recognition for responding swiftly to the needs of the African continent in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and for its pioneering role in the global social bond market. 

 In October 2020, the African Development Bank was selected in a poll of global bond market players as the best issuer for its $3 billion dollar-denominated Fight Covid-19 social bond, issued on 27 March 2020. 

 The Bank’s Fight Covid-19 Social bond was the largest ever US dollar denominated bond in world history, floated on the Luxembourg stock exchange, and listed on the London Stock Exchange and the Nasdaq Sustainable Bond Platform. 

 Also, in March 2020, the African Development Bank received the Environmental Finance’s 2020 bond of the year award—SSA category— for a successful one billion Norwegian Krone social bond issued in 2019. It was the first social bond ever launched in the Norwegian market, and the African Development Bank’s first transaction in Norwegian Krone. 

 Since 2017, the African Development Bank has launched nearly $5 billion worth of such instruments, denominated in US dollars, euros and Norwegian Krone.

 Bank President Akinwumi Adesina, said: “I am delighted at Global Finance’s recognition of the African Development Bank as the best multilateral financial institution in the world in 2021. I am proud that for first time since its establishment in 1964, the African Development Bank has risen to a position as a foremost globally-respected financial institution.”

 Adesina described the award as one which was “duly earned” and credited the Bank’s continued success to a new culture of results, strong client orientation, leadership, creativity and continued innovation by a team of excellent staff across all its jurisdictions. He added: “We are constantly innovating, developing and deploying financial, investment and knowledge products to meet the rapidly changing needs of African countries and the private sector.”

 In February 2021, the ratings agency S&P Global affirmed the African Development Bank’s “AAA/A-1+” foreign currency issuer credit rating with a stable outlook. The Bank has continued to receive extraordinary support from its shareholders, including an increase in its subscribed capital from $93 billion to $208 billion, the largest increase in its capital since its establishment.

 According to Adesina “The extraordinary support of our shareholders and the strong corporate governance of the Bank’s board of directors have served us well. We will continue to leverage our resources to better serve our clients.”

 The full results of the 22nd annual World’s Best Investment Banks will be published in an exclusive survey in the April 2021 print and digital editions and online at GFMag.com.

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AfDB:On International Women’s Day, Acting VP Gichuri reflects on Africa’s gender wins
March 9, 2021 | 0 Comments

To mark International Women’s Day, development leader Wambui Gichuri shares her thoughts on how far Africa has come on gender equity. She also reveals personal life lessons that have inspired her. Gichuri is Acting Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development, as well as Director for Water Development and Sanitation, at the African Development Bank.

1. What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

International Women’s Day is a celebration of women’s remarkable achievements and an opportunity to review the obstacles that stand in the way of women realizing our full potential.

More personally, I believe that what we tell our children – whether girls or boys – is really important. Growing up, I heard and saw many biases against women and girls – which unfortunately still persist. But my mum, who raised me and my two sisters as a single parent, told us that we could succeed beyond our wildest dreams if we focused on school, worked hard and passed our exams. She told us that education is the key that can open any door. This stuck with my sisters, and with me. On International Women’s Day, I honour all that my mother did to prepare us to achieve.

2. What progress in gender empowerment and equality have you seen in your career, and what challenges remain?

There are more women in school and more women with degrees. There are more women in boardrooms and in government. An African woman – Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala – is now heading the World Trade Organization. She is the first African and first woman to hold this office. However, we still need more women sitting where decisions are made. 

We need to be safe in our workplaces, out in public, and in our homes. We need more access to finance to start and scale up businesses. Organizations need to take action to close gender wage gaps. We need to invest in infrastructure services such as water, sanitation and hygiene to ease the burden among the millions of unserved people in Africa who suffer poor health as a result of inadequate or unavailable services or spend valuable productive time collecting water. It is a well-known fact that, in most cases, women and girls bear the brunt of these shortcomings.

What’s more, COVID-19 will undermine many of the gains of the past decade, for example, by making it more difficult for many girls to return to school.

3. How does your work at the Bank advance opportunities for women across the continent?

Gender equality and women’s empowerment is central to the Bank’s strategies and programs. In 2020, the Bank’s Board approved the People Strategy, which commits to actions and targets that move us closer to gender parity among staff. The Bank also approved a new Gender Strategy and Action Plan which aims to empower women in a number of areas, including access to finance and markets.

The Bank also invests in strategic initiatives such as the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa program (AFAWA) which aims to reduce the estimated $42 billion financing gap for women-owned and run SMEs. AFAWA has two parallel channels: the first is strategic use of the Bank’s financial instruments such as lines of credit, trade finance, and equity funds – expected to unlock $2 billion. The second channel is an innovative guarantee mechanism expected to de-risk women’s SMEs and incentivize financial institutions to lend to women entrepreneurs. The guarantee mechanism, called the AFAWA Guarantee for Growth, is expected to unlock $3 billion. AFAWA’s implementation started in January 2021 and the program held a special Women’s Day virtual event, where it introduced some of the first beneficiaries.

4. What words of advice would you give to young women starting out in their working lives?

Find good mentors to guide you – and be a mentor to others, because this is a good way to develop leadership skills. Networking is an important source of new ideas, knowledge, and possible job opportunities. Read books – they will help you expand your horizons, strengthen analytical and writing skills, inform your conversations, listening skills, and more!

Learn digital skills to adapt to virtual work environments and to be equipped for the future of work.

Most importantly: I encourage young women to work hard, dream big, be clear about your career goals and follow them with tenacity, passion, and energy.

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