AfDB Calls for a “Revolution” in Providing Energy Access Solutions
March 31, 2017 | 0 Comments
The African Development Bank (AfDB) brought together more than 180 stakeholders across the off-grid energy sector on Tuesday, March 28, in the context of “Energy Week” at the Bank’s headquarters in Abidjan to discuss interventions to support the scale-up of energy access investments. The overarching objective was to unleash an “Off-Grid Energy Revolution”, to provide up to 75 million households and businesses not covered by the power grid with modern, clean and affordable electricity using decentralized solar technologies.
During the plenary session of the Off-Grid Revolution consultation workshop, opening remarks were given by Bank President Akinwumi Adesina; the Minister of Oil, Energy and Energy Development of Côte d’Ivoire, Thierry Tanoh; and the Minister of Energy of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Henry Macauley.
President Adesina said, “Africa’s energy potential is as enormous as its electricity deficit. We must move quickly to unlock this energy potential. We must be smart, efficient, sustainable and quick in our actions.” The Off-Grid Revolution stakeholder consultation comes under the framework of the New Deal on Energy for Africa, which aims to provide universal energy access to all Africans by 2025.
“Although we can employ mix of approaches, off-grid solutions must be at the core of our approach to achieve the ambitious electricity access targets that we have set,” Adesina added.
The future of off-grid energy solutions is bright. Amadou Hott, the AfDB Vice-President for Power, Energy, Climate Change and Green Growth, noted that millions of Africans have recently been connected to electricity by start-ups, driven by plummeting costs of solar photovoltaic (PV) and batteries, innovations in mobile payments and wireless communications technologies. “These businesses are increasing energy access across Africa faster, more cheaply, and more widely than conventional grid extension,” said Hott.
In break-out sessions, participants discussed the issues related to access to financing, risk mitigation, enabling environment and appropriate business models to scale up the energy access in Africa. Overall, stakeholders reiterated the need for a stronger political will by governments, ensure long-term integrated planning of off-grid and on-grid, and to develop the local ecosystem including manufacturing, skills development. Stakeholders also agreed on the need for more patient capital and local currency financing, hedging tools to mitigate foreign exchange risks, and to improve the credit scoring data.
The meeting was attended by leading and emerging businesses, country-representatives, civil society, industry bodies, local financial institutions, key development partners, technology providers, impact investors and AfDB staff.
About the Off-Grid Revolution
The AfDB – under its New Deal for Energy for Africa (NDEA) Strategy – has set an aspirational target of “off-grid” electricity access target of reaching 75 million connections by end of 2025. This can only be achieved through an unprecedented collaboration across a wide spectrum of committed partners. Against this backdrop, the Bank convened the “Off-Grid Revolution” workshop to define towards a suite of interventions to support the scale-up of “off grid” investment. The event is part of the Energy Week, a series of events, including high-level discussions and partnerships focusing on lighting up and powering Africa, and unlocking Africa’s huge energy potential co-organised and hosted by the AfDB. Energy Week runs from Monday, March 27 to Friday, March 31, 2017 in Abidjan.
About the AfDB’s Power, Energy, Climate Change and Green Growth Complex
The Power, Energy, Climate Change and Green Growth Sector Complex (PEVP), was created to fulfill the objectives of “Light Up and Power Africa” – principally achieving universal access to electricity by 2025. The Complex will accomplish this by building Africa’s energy systems while ensuring green growth. The entire development ecosystem for operational effectiveness, scale, socio- economic, and environmental impact will be taken into account. The New Deal on Energy for Africa, together with the inter-connected flagship programs is a top initiative of PEVP.
“Lights, Power, Action”: AfDB’s Adesina and Kofi Annan Urge Governments to Close Africa’s Energy Deficit
March 14, 2017 | 0 Comments
The Chair of the Africa Progress Panel and former UN Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, and the President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, have called on African governments and their partners to do everything possible to close the continent’s huge energy gap.
They made the call on Monday, March 13, 2017 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, at the launch of the Africa Progress Panel Report on “Lights, Power, Action: Electrifying Africa,” which calls for the adoption of every available on-grid and off-grid solution to light up and power Africa.
“The electricity deficit in Africa is immense,” said Adesina. “Today, 645 million people do not have access to electricity.
“Yet the continent has abundant supply of solar, hydropower, wind and geothermal potential, as well as significant amounts of natural gas and in some countries coal deposits. Africa has energy potential, yes, but we need to unlock that potential. And we must do so quickly, because Africans are tired of being in the dark.”
Adesina stated that he drew inspiration from the Panel’s previous report in developing the Bank’s High 5 development priorities, which places energy as the top priority, and which has, through the Bank’s New Deal on Energy for Africa, committed to investing US $12 billion on energy in the next five years and leveraging US $45-50 billion from the private sector and other partners. The goal is to connect 130 million households via the grid, 75 million people via off-grid and provide some 130 million households with access to clean cooking energy.
The AfDB President commended the Africa Progress Panel for another very insightful report which, he said, will help Africa think through how to achieve the off-grid electricity revolution, as part of the comprehensive New Deal on Energy for Africa.
Lights, Power, Action notes that more than 620 million Africans without access to electricity cannot wait for grid expansion. While grid-connected megaprojects such as large dams and power pools are essential to scale up national and regional energy generation and transmission, they are slow and expensive. Therefore, governments must also increase investment in off-grid and mini-grid solutions, which are cheaper and quicker to install, the report says.
Of the 315 million people who will gain access to electricity in Africa’s rural areas by 2040, it is estimated that only 30 per cent will be connected to national grids. Most will be powered by off-grid household or mini-grid systems.
“Lights, Power, Action” is an in-depth follow up to the influential 2015 Africa Progress Report, “Power, People, Planet: Seizing Africa’s Energy and Climate Opportunities“. It urges governments to put in place the incentives needed to encourage greater investment in off-grid and mini-grid systems, protect consumers, and facilitate demand among disadvantaged groups.
Above all, governments need to foster an environment in which companies can enter energy generation, transmission and distribution markets, climb the value chain, and build the investment partnerships that can drive growth and create jobs.
“Traditional approaches to extending the grid are no longer viable as the main option for African countries,” Annan said. “They will take too long and will not meet the needs of our growing economies and societies. Instead, governments and their partners need to seize the opportunity to re-imagine their energy futures.”
UN Chief Hails Improved Cooperation With AU
February 2, 2017 | 0 Comments
By Margaret Besheer*
UNITED NATIONS —
New U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Wednesday that the organization is working to “avoid the worst” for South Sudan. He also praised the international and regional cooperation that prevented large-scale violence in Gambia during its recent post-election crisis.
Guterres spoke to reporters at the U.N. after his return from the African Union summit in Ethiopia.
The new U.N. chief said the situation in conflict-torn South Sudan is “dramatic” and could worsen.
Guterres said it was agreed at a meeting involving himself, leaders of the AU and East African bloc IGAD that they would cooperate to make sure South Sudan’s national dialogue is genuinely inclusive going forward.
He also met with South Sudan’s president.
“In a meeting with Salva Kiir, it was agreed that we will have better cooperation both for the U.N. mission to operate more freely inside South Sudan and for the Regional Protection Force to be put in place,” Guterres said.
African nations have proposed deploying 4,000 troops to South Sudan to help stabilize the country, where three years of conflict have displaced more than two million people.
Guterres said it was agreed that Kenya would contribute troops to the force.
Turning to the recent post-election crisis in Gambia, where President Yahya Jammeh initially refused to step down in favor of his democratically-elected opponent, Adama Barrow, Guterres said the episode demonstrated what is possible when there is regional unity.
“It is possible for action to be taken and it is possible for democracy, human rights and the freedom of peoples to be defended. When there is division in the region, it is much more difficult for the U.N. to be able to act accordingly,” the U.N. chief said.
The secretary-general said the narrative about Africa must not be based on the crises, but on the continent’s potential.
He said Africa has grown economically and has great success stories that must be built on to achieve widespread and inclusive sustainable development. Guterres said that is the best way to prevent further conflicts.
Female Parliamentarians from across Africa meet in Nairobi to discuss new policies on property rights
December 22, 2016 | 0 Comments
The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Women in Parliaments Global Forum (WIP) hosting the first meeting of the WIP Council on Economic Empowerment in Kenya
Nairobi, Kenya 20 December 2016 – The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Women in Parliaments Global Forum (WIP) convened female Parliamentarians from 12 African countries in Nairobi, Kenya, to share perspectives on strategies for female MPs to promote legal reforms which ensure that women’s property rights are included in all African legal frameworks. The meeting provided an occasion to discuss and address the current African property rights landscape with special attention given to the role of MPs in advancing property and inheritance laws for women across Africa.
The major recommendations from the meeting were, among others:
– Ensuring the Harmonization of laws and reviewing and repealing discriminatory laws, by working on amending, passing or repealing necessary laws. Lack of staffing was identified as a major constraints and MPs requested the support of the Bank to develop capacity building program on research; analysis and training on the content of current laws and the types of reforms that would be considered best practices;
– Funding legislation on women and agriculture at the regional and national level;
– Promotion of better data collection through relevant ministries and ensure that Governments collect systemic sex-disaggregated data, particularly related to land and property rights. The meeting underscored the need for the African Development Bank to support collection of gender specific data;
– Highlighting specific gender targets in Ministry of agriculture strategy;
– Financing entrepreneurship in Agriculture;
– Zimbabwe is establishing a women’s bank and wants AfDB’s support in making sure it is a success;
– MPs identified the need to mechanize agriculture so that women can do a better job of feeding their families and realizing better yields;
– Information sharing and sensitization;
– Access to Justice/Legal aid: When women’s rights are violated, they are too poor and don’t have the means to go through extended litigation. MPs should fight for legal aid provisions through the parliament. Other support networks of women lawyers should be explored and capacitated.
The Bank and WIP will carefully consider the points raised and identify that will inform an action plan that will be ready by January 2017. The outcome of the meeting in Nairobi will lead up to the discussion during the WIP Global Summit 2017. Members of the WIP Council on Economic Empowerment from all regions of the world are expected to attend this high-level Summit.
This event was the first meeting of the WIP Council on Economic Empowerment and brought together active female Parliamentarians from the WIP network in Africa, academia and other research institutions, government officials, business leaders and members of CSOs to discuss and provide innovative solutions to the challenges related to women’s property rights, in order to achieve women’s economic development. The purpose of the WIP Council is to address issues (legal and institutional), share best practices, stimulate dialogue, shape agendas, advocate and drive legislative reforms at the national and regional level. Council Members will meet annually at WIP Summits, targeted African Development Bank Annual Meetings as well as during targeted regional meetings.
Gabriel Negatu, Director General of the AfDB’s Eastern Africa Regional Center (EARC) provided welcoming remarks, highlighting that “Africa has witnessed significant progress on gender equality. Despite this progress, there are still areas such as the legal status and land and property rights, where more is yet to be done”. The AfDB believes that the continent’s long-term competitiveness depends on how well Africa empowers its women. In many African countries, however, unequal access to property, discriminatory laws including land and tenure rights, and discrimination in the labor market, and business-related obstacles hinder women from contributing even more to their countries’ growth and well-being. According to the Social Institutions and Gender Index (SIGI) of the OECD, which classifies countries around the world according to their level of discrimination, only 20% of all countries in the low discrimination category are African; while an overwhelming 82% are found in the very high discrimination category. We should also recognize that Africa is doing better in using the potential of women in politics with 16 of the 46 countries with 30 or more women in parliament being African, including apart from the world champion Rwanda, countries like Sudan (30%), Tunisia and Algeria (31%); Ethiopia (39%); Mozambique (40%) and Senegal (43%). The Bank is very active in moving the agenda of women’s economic empowerment and today, we will speak about some of the initiatives we have put in place to advance this agenda. We must take advantage of partnerships to ensure we remove these obstacles and invest in gender equality, hence the critical importance of partnering with MPs given their unique role in passing/advancing laws that ensure gender equality and women’s economic empowerment.
Florence Mutua, member of the Kenyan parliament pointed out that: ”We cannot talk about creating the necessary legislations and policies to grant women their rights without also discussing structures that empower women access to resources and more importantly, property. The unequal ratio of ownership between men and women contributes substantially to this condition. Lack of rights to tenure or ownership render many women unable to protect themselves, and this in turn prevent access to credit through lack of collateral, thus reinforcing the control that men traditionally have over the household and its dependents. These underlying issues are the main reason that we need laws that specifically speak to access to and ownership of property. In Africa, only a handful of countries including Burkina Faso, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zimbabwe and more recently Kenya have laws that speak to women’s access to property. It took Kenya more than 50 years to come up with the Matrimonial Property law that gives women rights to property ownership in marriage, this even against the backdrop of one of the most progressive Constitutions in the world with regards to gender equality”.
The Special Envoy on Gender and Vice-President of the African Development Bank, Geraldine J Fraser Moleketi, explained that: It is widely acknowledged that property rights and inheritance laws directly impact women’s economic livelihoods. This is particularly true for women in agriculture, where land is a central asset for crop production, animal rearing, and other income generating activities. Secure land rights allow women to realize food security for themselves and their families, to leverage land assets as capital for forward looking investments, and to generate wealth. Strengthening women’s property and inheritance rights is critical to empowering their full economic and social potential. Lack of property ownership and asset control prevents women from realizing their full potential in the agricultural sector. Studies have shown that women’s rights over land are inferior to those of men. The strength of one’s property rights defines the incentives to invest time, energy, and other resources into any business venture. Absent land title or other assets, banks will not lend to female famers who seek to grow their agricultural business. As indicated in a study conducted by the Bank entitled: ‘Legal Frameworks and Women’s Voice and Agency in Africa’. The study suggests that 16 countries still create barriers to women’s access to financial services, be it in opening bank accounts, or applying for national identity cards; 17 countries still do not have legislation to protect women from domestic violence, leaving them vulnerable and restricting their voice and agency.
The Special Envoy incites Parliamentarians to be bolder as they have the responsibility and the ability to accomplish much for women in economic sectors (i.e. agriculture), through a variety of mechanisms. These mechanisms include: (1) review and repeal of discriminatory laws; (2) promotion of better data collection through relevant ministries; (3) insistence on specific gender targets; (4) financing entrepreneurship in agriculture; (5) information dissemination and legal aid.
The AfDB strongly believes in the critical role of Members of Parliament particularly in advocating for the legal reforms that will benefit women, including in their quest to access finance. The Bank is also working with a number of parliamentary networks such as WIP to ensure MPs receive the support required to tackle some of the identified challenges. The Special Envoy concludes by appealing to all the legislator to help Governments to push to push and reform discriminatory legislations and help effect legal and policy reforms for gender equality. Only when women are able to follow their dreams freely, Africa reach its full potential.
AfDB approves USD 159 million corporate loan to Ethiopian Airlines to finance expansion plan and fleet modernization program
December 16, 2016 | 0 Comments
The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a financing package of USD 159 million to partly finance Ethiopian Airlines’ expansion plan and fleet modernization program. The package comprises two tranches, with the first tranche (85% of the financing) being covered by African Trade Insurance, Africa’s export credit agency, which will be providing credit risk insurance to the transaction. The investment is a reflection of the Bank’s new strategic thrust to achieve its five operational priorities and is rooted on the necessity to integrate Africa and improve air connectivity in the continent.
Ethiopian Airlines is the flagship airline for Ethiopia, 100% owned by the government of Ethiopia. Its operations are covering all aspects of aviation services including passenger services, cargo services, maintenance, ground handling, catering and training with the aviation academy. With 93 destinations served, it is connecting the continent through its pan-African routes and it is also connecting Africa to the rest of the world. The Bank’s support will allow Ethiopian Airlines to keep the momentum on its expansion plan and be on track on its route operating roadmap. Ethiopian Airlines is setting the standards for the aviation sector in Africa and operates a modern and fuel efficient fleet.
This corporate loan complements previous interventions approved by the African Development Bank in support of developing the aviation sector on the continent, both from its public and private sector windows. It is also a testimony of the Bank’s catalytic role in improving the operating environment and financial soundness of the aviation sector in the continent.
The African Development Bank has a long-lasting relationship with Ethiopian Airlines and newly approved intervention is the second corporate loan to Ethiopian Airlines processed under the Bank’s private sector window.
African Economic Conference closes with call for agriculture to be at the centre of Africa’s development
December 13, 2016 | 0 Comments
The 11th African Economic Conference (AEC) wound up in Abuja, Nigeria on Wednesday, after three days of intensive discussions on how African countries can achieve agro-allied industrialization.
Over 300 participants attended the annual event, co-organized by the African Development Bank (AfDB), UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), on the theme, “Feed Africa: Towards Agro-Allied Industrialization for Inclusive Growth.”
“This should not just be another conference. There has to be some key actions going forward, deploying agriculture to spearhead Africa’s economic transformation,” Ousmane Dore, the Resident Representative of the African Development Bank’s Nigeria Country Office, said as he closed the meeting.
Dore highlighted the Bank’s operations in Nigeria, a huge agriculture portfolio including the ENABLE Youth programme, which is assisting young graduates, or “agripreneurs”, to venture into a variety of agri-businesses. The theme of the conference was timely, he said.
Commenting on the outcomes, Adam Elhraika, Director of Macroeconomic Policy Division of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), urged participants to share the excitement and important messages that emerged from the conference with partners and governments in order to ensure their implementation.
For his part, Ayodele Odusola, Chief Economist and Head of the Strategy and Analysis Team for UNDP’s Regional Bureau for Africa, said the theme of the conference was in tune with the African Union’s 2063 agenda as well as the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. He echoed the sentiments of the Conference that agro-allied industrialization would lead to the attainment of Africa’s ultimate development objectives.
Several research papers were presented at the conference, alongside high-level panel discussions on agro-allied industrialization. The research papers ranged from agriculture, climate change and food security, which served the conference well as they initiated discussions on sustainable development.
Opening the conference earlier, Nigeria’s Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo, commended the theme and the high-level participation in the conference, adding that the Government looks forward to the outcome of its deliberations “as it would be very useful as we design our new economic recovery plan where agro-industrialization will certainly play a key role.”
AfDB President, Akinwumi Adesina gave a keynote speech in which he underscored the fact that agriculture, which contributes over 28% of Africa’s GDP, holds the key for accelerated growth, diversification and job creation for African economies and its people.
“Agriculture provides the basic raw materials needed for industrial development. Food accounts for the highest share of consumer price index and providing cheap food is critical for taming inflation. When inflation is low, interest rates decline and it brings greater private sector investments. A more productive, efficient and competitive agriculture sector is critical for boosting rural economies, where the majority of the population live in Africa,” Adesina said. “The future of Africa depends on agriculture.”
Two research papers claimed the top positions in the final review by the conference organizers. The first position went to Mintewab Bezabih of the UK School of Economics and Political Science, Remidius Ruhinduka of the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Mare Sarr, University of Cape Town, South Africa, who presented their work on “Climate change perception and system of rice intensification (SRI) in Tanzania: A moment approximation approach. While the second position went to a paper titled “Greenhouse Gas Mitigation in the Agricultural Sector: Win-Win or Trade-Off among Small Farmers from West Africa” written and presented by Tiertou Edwige Some of Université Cheikh Anta Diop, Senegal; and Bruno Barbier of the Centre de Recherche d’Économie Appliquée (CREA) in Senegal.
The conference attracted a number of eminent speakers over the three days, including Eric Maskin, Economics Professor at Harvard and co-recipient of the 2007 Nobel Prize; Xiaobo Zhang, Economics Professor and Senior Research Fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI); Chris Barrett, Professor in Applied Economics at Cornell University; and Paul Amaza, a Medical Professor at the University of Jos, Nigeria.
Other high-level participants included, among others, Cho Gyoung-Rae, Secretary General of the Korea-Africa Good and Agriculture Cooperation Initiative (KAFACI); Charles McClain, Deputy Minister of Agriculture for Planning and Development in the Liberia Ministry of Agriculture; Henry Eyebe Ayissi, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Cameroon; and Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The 12th African Economic Conference will take place in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in December 2017.
AfDB Board approves 2017-2021 Country Strategy Paper for Rwanda
November 24, 2016 | 0 Comments
Earmarks over US $900-million support package to support Rwanda’s economic transformation
Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, November 23, 2016 – The African Development Bank (AfDB) will support Rwanda’s economic transformation by boosting inclusive private sector-led growth and creating higher value-added formal employment with an indicative financing package estimated at US $939.4 million over a five-year period.
This support package is contained in the Bank’s 2017-2021 Country Strategy Paper (CSP) for Rwanda, which will guide the Bank’s operations in the country during the next five years, approved by its Board of Directors on Wednesday, November 23, 2016 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
While commending Rwanda’s remarkable socio-economic progress over the last 16 years during which period real GDP growth has averaged 7.9%, the Board noted that economic transformation has been slow as growth continues to be generated mainly by low value added and low productivity. As a result, there is a need to adjust Rwanda’s current economic model and implement policies and measures to accelerate the economic transformation process.
Thus, to adequately address Rwanda’s overarching development challenge, the CSP focuses on improving the enabling environment for private sector development, with a focus on the agriculture sector. The CSP is articulated around two complementary pillars: Investing in energy and water infrastructure to enable inclusive and green growth; and Developing skills to promote high value added economic activities and economic transformation.
Under the first pillar, the Bank’s assistance will focus on reducing the cost of doing to further enhance the enabling environment for private investment and economic transformation through improved access to affordable and reliable energy and water supply and sanitation. The Bank’s assistance under the second pillar will support Rwanda in accelerating economic transformation through the development of skills that promote high value added economic activities. Support under both pillars is consistent with the second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (2013-2018) and the Bank’s Ten Year Strategy 2013-2022; the High 5 priorities and the Sustainable Development Goals.
“The Bank’s assistance from the private sector window will be complementary to its support from the public sector window,” the CSP says, adding that the Bank will also give priority to increasing private investments through intensifying its efforts as a convener, connector and catalyst and use of innovative financing instruments.
Its non-lending support, including policy advice, will continue to be demand-led, ensure complementarity with the lending program and remain selective to effectively inform country policy dialogue, the Government’s investment choices and the Bank Group and other development partners programming options.
To maximize the development impact of the strategy, the Bank will introduce several innovations and scale-up its support to accelerate Rwanda’s economic transformation process through private sector-led, spatially balanced inclusive economic growth.
The Bank’s operations will include specific components to support youth employment, gender equality and women empowerment. Greater attention will also be given to partnership arrangements between the Government, the Bank, private sector, civil society and other Development Partners to mobilize co-financing, increase private investment and generate business for the Bank.
The CSP provides for a cumulative 2017-2021 indicative resource envelope of US $939.4 million. Additional resources will be mobilized from the Bank’s non-concessional window, Africa Growing Together Fund, Trust Funds, Climate Funds and co-financing with other partners.
The Bank Group’s portfolio in Rwanda comprised 19 operations with total net commitment of US $594.1 million as of October 20, 2016. The portfolio includes seven public sector operations, two private sector operations and 10 multinational operations. Infrastructure (transport, 49%; energy, 23%; and water, 3%) accounted for 75% of the portfolio in value terms. Human development accounted for 6%, agriculture 4%, multisector 8% and financial sector 1%. Private sector operations accounted for 4% of the overall portfolio.
NEPAD Regional Integration and Trade Department to host key stakeholders’ coordination meeting on Abidjan-Lagos and other West African Corridors
September 23, 2016 | 0 Comments
Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, September 21, 2016 – NEPAD Regional Integration and Trade Department has convened a two-day meeting on September 27-28, at the African Development Bank (AfDB) headquarters in Abidjan, with development partners, the NEPAD Planning and Coordination Agency (NPCA), the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), government officials and representatives of customs and revenue authorities to discuss a more coordinated approach to the management of West African corridors.
The two-day event, jointly organized by the AfDB, ECOWAS, the Accelerating Trade in West Africa (ATWA) project, and the NPCA, seeks to bring together all stakeholders, financiers and technicians to help streamline views, review the latest corridor performance metrics and foster synergies and create a platform for better co-ordination and efficiency in West African Corridor development and management.
“This critical meeting is in line with the Bank’s commitment to promote efficient transport corridors in West Africa and support Africa’s regional integration agenda for inclusive economic growth. At the end of the meeting, we hope to be better equipped to improve the conditions of shippers, transporters and traders in West Africa when they engage in cross-border trade,” said Moono Mupotola, Director of the AfDB’s NEPAD Regional Integration and Trade Department.
The meeting will be structured around two key initiatives that aim at promoting dialogue between different stakeholders involved in the projects. The first day will be dedicated to the Abidjan-Lagos Corridor development led by the AfDB, the ECOWAS Commission and the NPCA, while discussions on the Day 2 will focus on the three corridors covered by the Accelerating Trade in West Africa (ATWA) project, namely Abidjan-Ouagadougou, Tema-Ouagadougou and Lomé-Ouagadougou.
The Abidjan-Lagos Corridor, a flagship project of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA), is the busiest corridor in West Africa. The six-lane, 1,028-kilometre highway will connect Abidjan, Accra, Lomé, Cotonou and Lagos, while serving landlocked countries and ports in the region. The corridor is one of the main economic drivers of West Africa with over 75% of economic activities in the ECOWAS region and a total population of 35 million inhabitants.
Experts agree that support to regional trade and integration in West Africa is substantial but fragmented. The meeting is therefore timely to ensure that the approach to the development of corridors is coherent and inclusive of all key players.
Accelerating Trade in West Africa (ATWA) is an initiative funded by the Danish and Dutch Ministries of Foreign Affairs aiming to establish a durable, multi-donor vehicle dedicated to advancing regional integration, expanding trade and lowering costs along key trade routes in West Africa.
ATWA takes inspiration from East Africa, where eight development partners have pooled their support and established a single non-profit organisation working across the East African Community (EAC) to further its integration agenda. The organisation, TradeMark East Africa (TMEA), is a technical partner of the ATWA Project.
The ATWA Project Team will present analysis detailing the performance of selected West African corridors for formal and informal traders, and seek input from participants as to what activities and programmes could be elaborated to improve the situation.
Given the veritable platform that it promises to be, the AfDB intends to take lead and continually play host to this coordination process in order to streamlining efforts and activities among development partners and other stakeholders in the region.
AfDB mobilizes 28.6 billion FCFA for local development in Senegal
September 16, 2016 | 0 Comments
Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, September 15, 2016 – On September 14, 2016 in Abidjan, the Board of Directors of the
African Development Bank Group (AfDB) approved a loan of 34.78 million units of account (approximately 28.6 billion FCFA) to the Republic of Senegal to fund Phase 1 of the Support Programme for Reform of Local Development (PARDL-I).
PARDL-I is the first phase of a series of two operations offering programmatic budget support for the financial years 2016 and 2017 with an overall indicative funding envelope of 44.78 million UA (approximately 36.8 billion CFA francs). PARDL-I provides the programme’s multi-year framework and a list of reforms considered to be indicative triggers for the second phase (PARDL-II). PARDL-I is aligned with the Emerging Senegal Plan 2014-2035 and its Priority Action Plan (2014-2018).
PARDL-I, as per the Country Strategy Paper 2016-2020, which has also just been approved by the Board, comes further to previous budget support, but with the particular feature that it provides holistic support for a new generation of reforms. This programme is intended to support the efforts of Senegal to implement the Emerging Senegal Plan (PSE) in order to create a dynamic of sustained endogenous growth with the goal of reducing inequality between urban and rural areas. Thus, the effectiveness of the programme of reforms will contribute to the development of the local economy, to opening up disadvantaged rural areas and to building the ownership and empowerment of rural communities with regard to the construction and maintenance of local socio-economic infrastructure.
This operation was prepared in close collaboration with development partners in general and most particularly with members of the Budget Support Arrangement Framework (ACAB), which all have similar budget support arrangements planned for 2016 and 2017. Members of civil society and actors in the private sector in Senegal were also consulted.
To achieve its goals, PARDL-I is structured around two complementary components. The first is the strengthening of decentralization through improvements to the institutional and regulatory framework of the reform known as the Act III of Decentralization and strengthening the funding mechanisms of decentralization to ensure better management of transferred skills and the sustained development of local communities. The second is the promotion of the development of infrastructure and local entrepreneurship through improving the institutional framework for managing water and electricity infrastructure and local roads to facilitate people’s access to this infrastructure and the facilitation of the emergence of local entrepreneurship for greater local inclusivity.
US $30 billion to benefit farmers, strengthening Africa’s agriculture
September 11, 2016 | 0 Comments
Nairobi, Kenya, September 9, 2016 – Weiteithye Farmers Group in Mwala, Eastern Kenya, comprises about 100 small-scale farmers struggling with crop production, value addition and marketing of their produce.
Like other smallholder farmers in Africa, the Weiteithye group lacks access to inputs, financial services and skills in agri-business, efficient machinery for processing produce, market information, new technology, among others. David Mutiso, the group’s Chairman, is calling for support to promote agriculture into a profitable sector. “Most of the people in the rural areas like us depend on farming. The Government must make agriculture work for us; we need to earn proper income from agriculture,” he said.
It is farmers like Mutiso who are set to benefit from the US $30 billion pledged by major development institutions, the private sector and African leaders at the African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) in Nairobi, Kenya.
The funds will support investments to increase production and income for smallholder farmers and local African agriculture businesses over the next decade. A session on “Making Political, Policy and Financial Commitments to Africa’s Agricultural Transformation” saw Kenya’s President, Uhuru Kenyatta, pledge US $200 million to support 150,000 young farmers and agricultural entrepreneurs to access markets, finance and insurance over the next five years.
The African Development Bank announced investments of US $24 billion in the coming decade to drive Africa’s agricultural transformation. “This is a 400% increase in financing to the agricultural sector by the Bank from its current levels of $600 million per year,” Chiji Ojukwu, Director of the Bank’s Agriculture and Agro-industries Department, remarked on behalf of Bank President Akinwumi Adesina.
The Bank’s contribution will support the private sector to unlock the potential of African agriculture. In his keynote address delivered on September 8, 2016 during a plenary session on the “Role of Policy in Enabling Public-Private Partnerships to Achieve African Agricultural Transformation”, President Adesina said, “Africa must seize this moment and prioritize investments in agriculture. It is time to support African farmers; African farmers cannot fail.”
The Africa Agriculture Status Report 2016, launched at the AGRF, highlights the importance of private-sector investment in all aspects of agriculture, such as inputs, as well as the agricultural value chain, including production, processing, marketing and transport.
A fertilizer firm, OCP Africa, committed to investing US $150 million over the next five years to support local fertilizer distribution, storage and blending, while the World Food Programme promised to purchase at least US $120 million each year in agricultural products from smallholder farmers through a partnership called the Patient Procurement Platform.
The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, for its part, pledged US $5 billion, a portion of which will go towards crop and livestock research, strengthening data, and improving systems to deliver innovation and information; and to provide better tools to farmers. The next six years will see Africa’s agriculture benefit from US $3 billion pledged by the International Fund for Agricultural Development.
The Rockefeller Foundation committed to contributing US $180 million towards investments in human resilience to catalyse agricultural transformation, while the Kenya Commerical Bank, East Africa’s largest commercial Bank will invest US $350 million in loans for smallholder farmers, 50,000 of them women and another 50,000 youth.
Targeting women and youth is priority for the AfDB. Through its Affirmative Finance Action for Women (AFAWA), the Bank will help to leverage US $3 billion for women farmers and entrepreneurs. The Bank is already rolling out its ENABLE (Empowering Novel Agri-Business Led Employment) Youth initiative, in partnership with the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture.
The ENABLE Youth program seeks to bolster youth entrepreneurship in agriculture and agri-business. The initiative will see the Bank train the next generation of agriculture entrepreneurs, also referred to as ‘agri-preneurs’, in several countries, and provide them with seed money through banks to finance their bankable business plans.
New ways of financing are crucial for transforming Africa’s agriculture, says new report
September 7, 2016 | 0 Comments
Innovative financing is crucial for agricultural transformation, wealth creation and long-term prosperity in Africa, according to this year’s Africa Agriculture Status Report (AASR), launched on September 6, 2016 in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi.
The African Development Bank (AfDB) is one the authors of the report, which focuses on Progress toward Agricultural Transformation in Sub-Saharan Africa. It says despite annual public investments in agriculture having risen across Africa, from US $186.4 million per country between 1995 to 2003 to US $219.6 million between 2008 to 2014, only 13 African countries have honoured their pledge to invest at least 10 percent of public funds in agriculture as foreseen under the Maputo Declaration of 2003. “If all [countries] that have pledged could make good on their promise, public funding for agriculture across Africa would rise from $12 billion (the amount allocated in 2014) to $40 billion,” notes the publication, unveiled at the ongoing African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF).
Inadequate financing for agriculture has been cited as a major impediment to smallholder farmers, their organisations, as well as small and medium agro-enterprises, which lack access to basic financial services.
The report calls on African governments to urgently step up partnerships with various actors in order to grow agricultural finance, at the same time creating an enabling environment to foster innovation to the benefit of the smallholder farmer. The AfDB is one of the main players in agricultural financing on the continent. Between 1967 and 2014, it approved loans and grants to African member countries with commitments amounting to US $100.68 billion, of which agriculture and rural development accounted for 12.4 percent (US $12.45 billion).
Agriculture is one of the Bank’s five key priority areas, also referred to as the High 5s. By 2025, its Feed Africa Strategy (2016-2025) will, among other things, see about 320 million additional people enjoying access to adequate calories and nutrients, and up to 130 million people lifted out of poverty (representing 25% of the estimated 550 million currently living below the poverty line).
To achieve the goals of Feed Africa, AfDB will invest US $2.4 billion of its resources annually over the ten-year period of the strategy. The Bank will use these resources to leverage additional funding to meet the balance (of between US $30 billion to US $40 billion) needed annually to finance the strategy, including substantial increases in private and commercial bank financing.
The AASR 2016 says private-sector investment in agriculture is critical, and is needed in all aspects of the agricultural value chain, including production, processing, marketing and transport.
To read the full report, visit: http://agra.org/aasr2016/
To download the report: http://agra.org/aasr2016/public/assr.pdf
Technical contact: Benedict Kanu, Lead Agricultural Expert, firstname.lastname@example.org
Media contact: Joyce Mulama, tel +254 724975170, email@example.com
The African Development Bank engages with African civil society at Dakar meeting
September 5, 2016 | 0 Comments
Dakar, Senegal, September 5, 2016 – Three of the five priorities set by the African Development Bank (AfDB) as part of its Ten Year Strategy were at the centre of discussions between representatives of the institution and members of West African civil society.
High-priority issues including access to energy, transforming African agriculture and improving the quality of life for the people of Africa through job creation for youth, in addition to the industrialization and integration of Africa, were the subject of a presentation and lively debates between representatives of West African civil society and the AfDB in Dakar.
Starting Wednesday, the Senegalese capital hosted this three-day regional consultation, the first of its kind, with civil society organisations. The AfDB will host a total of five such consultations between now and the end of 2016 at the level of African regional economic communities on the subject of its agenda for the continent’s transformation.
Eighty people, primarily representing West African civil society and AfDB managers, discussed the five priorities of the Bank’s Ten Year Strategy, known as the High 5s, and how civil society organisations can contribute to their implementation.
Following the presentation of three of the Bank’s High 5 priorities, Maria Mulindi, Advisor to the AfDB President, emphasized throughout the discussion that the Bank’s mission is to reach out to African populations at the base of the pyramid. “The Bank wants to work through you (civil society) to reach the base of the pyramid,” she said Wednesday.
“In Lusaka, the Bank’s leadership started a conversation with you about its priorities in three areas: energy, agriculture and youth employment,” said Mulindi, referring to the AfDB’s Annual Meetings in Zambia in May 2016, during which the Bank held a forum for civil society organisations (CSOs) that began a high-level dialogue with these organisations,
“The AfDB’s President has said that there will be regional consultations. He told us not to shirk our responsibilities,” she said, encouraging civil society to state its viewpoints on these priorities for transforming the African continent between now and 2025.
Several West African civil society leaders made the trip. They “all belong to civil society organisations involved in the three priority areas (energy, agriculture and youth employment)”, which are at the centre of the Dakar regional consultation, according to Zéneb Touré, Principal Civil Society Engagement Officer with the AfDB.
During the discussions following the presentation of these themes, Khady Fall Tall, the president of the Association des femmes de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (AFAO), the West African Women’s Association, expressed her interest in seeing the AfDB screen and identify civil society organisations that can help achieve the five priorities outlined in its ten-year plan.
“We are grateful to the AfDB for trying to work with us (civil society),” she said. “There are many civil societies in Africa. There is the development civil society that works at the base, a society that works on human rights, but it should also be noted that we have a political civil society,” she emphasized. She then asked the Bank to “support the development civil society that works with rural populations to achieve these five priorities.”
Komi Abitor, with the Togolese NGO ETD (Businesses, Land and Development), praised this new step taken by the African Development Bank in working with African civil society for the implementation of its Ten Year Strategy.
“The AfDB has truly changed its intervention strategy and policy. From what we’ve seen, the Bank is now positioning itself as a major inclusive development player for our countries,” Abitor said. “I feel that through these five priorities, the Bank is speaking a language that is close to that of civil society organisations. The AfDB is starting to speak our language,” he added.
He said he is “convinced” that civil society organisations can bring all their expertise to Africa’s premier financial institution. “Our contribution is to be involved in identifying development projects that will address the strategies defined by the Bank, while taking into account the real needs of the people of Africa,” continued Abitor, who asked that “civil society be involved in implementing projects and participating in a constructive dialogue as part of the evaluation of these programmes.”
Following the forum it held with African civil society during the Bank’s last Annual Meeting in Lusaka in May, the African Development Bank will hold five workshops at the regional economic community level around its Ten Year Strategy based on the five priorities.
During these regional workshops, the Bank and the CSOs will work to identify flagship projects from among three priority areas and develop a partnership structure between the two parties for the next ten years.
Dakar is just the first step in this process. Other regional consultations will be held in Tunis on September 14 to 16, in Yaoundé on September 28 to 30, in Johannesburg on November 14 to 16, and in Nairobi on November 30 to December 2, 2016.
*Source AFDB.Contact: Zéneb Touré, Principal Civil Society Engagement Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org