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Africa Investment Forum 2018: a new bold vision tilts capital flows into Africa
November 15, 2018 | 0 Comments
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“This is a watershed moment for Africa.” Deputy Chairperson shares insights on the ongoing financial reforms of the Union.
November 12, 2018 | 0 Comments

African Union Headquarters; 12th November 2018: At 31st Ordinary Session of the African Union Summit held in Nouakchott, Mauritania in July 2018, a budget of US$681,485,337 was approved for the financial year 2019. The budget covers three components operational, programme and peace support operations. The Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Amb. Kwesi Quartey, shares the five key takeaways of the adoption of the 2019 budget in what he describes as a watershed moment for Africa.

1. Give us a brief on the 2019 budget of the Union.
Amb. Kwesi; The Assembly of the Union adopted the 2019 budget for the Union at a total of US$681,485,337 at the African Union Summit held in Nouakchott, Mauritania in July 2018. This amount reflects a significant decrease of the annual budget by 12%, compared to the 2018 budget. It is also a reflection that the share of AU member states financing the budget has substantially increased compared to the partner funding in previous years. If you look at the 2019 budget, excluding the peace support operations, member states will contribute 66% of the budget while 34% is expected to be secured from our development Partners.
This increase of member states contribution has come about by implementing the decision on financing of the Union to fund the activities and agenda of the Union. Through this mechanism, we can see that the continent is gradually realizing its vision of reliable, predictable and sustainable funding of its agenda. The 2019 budget also demonstrates an enhanced process of domestic resources mobilization but most importantly, stringent measures are now in place to ensure the prudent use of these resources to meet the development needs of our Continent
The breakdown of the 2019 budget is as follows; US$161.4 million will go into financing the operational budget of the Union, US$252.8 million will go into the program budget while US$273.3 million will finance Peace Support operations.

2. The preparation of the 2019 budget is said to be significantly different from the previous budget preparations, why is that?
Amb. Kwesi; Yes, the 2019 budget is different because the Union has adopted new ways of programme planning and budget process, to ensure greater accountability in line with the implementation of the decision of Financing on the Union.

This is the first time we had joint sittings of the AU Commission and organs, the Committee of Finance Ministers (F15) technical experts and the Permanent Representatives’ Committee sub-Committees of General Supervision and Coordination on Budget, Finance and Administrative matters and of Programs and Conferences, to prepare the budget. The preparation took about five weeks consecutively, looking carefully at the budget of each spending unit of the Union to ensure it complied with the nine golden rules.

During the 2019 budget, we also introduced the budget ceilings for departments and organs based on their track record on prudent execution rate, the ability to reach their targets and aligning their programmes strictly, to the priorities of the Union. This will greatly enhance the budget execution and ensure the expenditure is linked to results.

These joint sittings were also held at the ministerial level by the Committee of Ministers of Finance (F15) before the budget was presented to the Executive Council and the Assembly for adoption. The Committee of Ministers of Finance has since assumed responsibility for oversight of the African Union budget and Reserve Fund.

Related article- Financial reforms at the African Union lead to massive cuts of the Union’s Budget. https://au.int/en/pressreleases/20180706/financial-reforms-african-union…

3. You have made reference to the nine golden rules, tell us more about that.
Amb. Kwesi; The nine golden rules are financial management and accountability principles adopted by the Assembly of the Union in January 2018. These rules are meant to ensure financial discipline within the Union to enable us decisively address issues of low execution rates, identify undetected wastages and instances of over-budgeting by departments or organs, as well as ensure full compliance with the African Union financial rules and regulations.

So far, we have fully implemented four of the nine golden rules. There is an interlinking factor on the application of all the nine rules with the progress in the implementation of the decision on financing of the Union and therefore we will soon have the other five rules applied.

The nine golden rules speak to the fact that;
a) Member states’ contributions should cover a minimum threshold of the budget to ensure the Union’s self-sufficiency and sustainability, thereby decreasing dependence on external funding.
b) The rules recognize the need for major changes to be effected to ensure revenues are predictable. This touches on elements such as the full payment of assessed contributions by Member States and partners’ contribution, for the revenue streams to be centrally coordinated.
c) The rules also speak to the credibility of the AU budgeting system which must be based on a fully integrated and automated financial management system.
d) As I mentioned earlier, one of the rules is the annual budget ceiling which is communicated to department and organs before they submit their budget proposals.
e) Also, it is important that expenditure must at all times, be authorized for virements, surplus budgets and spending that exceeds approved budgets.
f) Another key rule, is seeing to it that resource flows and transactions are reliable and efficient. Funds must be provided to departments and organs in the agreed amounts at the agreed times.
g) Institutional accountability is of utmost importance, to ensure the flow of funds is tracked to service delivery units. This requires the harmonization of all the different management systems we use.
h) Reporting is also an integral part of the financial management process. The Financial Rules and Regulations requires that departments and organs report all activities for which funds have been received, as part of the compliance and quarterly performance reports.
i) Finally, there is also the aspect on centralizing the process for engaging partners to avoid unilateral engagements for partner funded programmes.
These rules are currently being translated into AU policy and procedures and will also be reflected in the AU’s updated Financial Rules and Procedures.

4. In regards to the decision on Financing of the Union, what is the progress on that since its adoption in 2016?
Amb. Kwesi; There is commendable progress in the collection of the 0.2% levy by member states. 11 of our member states paid their 2018 assessed contributions to the AU, either partially or in full, through the new financing arrangement. We have 24 States that are at various stages of domesticating the Kigali Decision on Financing the Union and of these, 14 are actually collecting the levy.

Let me also add that there is flexibility built into the implementation of the 0.2%. Member States have the ability to determine the appropriate form and the means they will use to implement the decision in line with their national and international obligations. It is for this reason that Member States that are, for example, members of the World Trade Organization have implemented the 0.2% levy without contravening their international trade obligations.

Also, as I mentioned earlier, the introduction of the golden rules and the joint sittings have provided stronger technical oversight of the AU budget.

Lastly, I think I would highlight the operationalization of the Peace Fund as a remarkable milestone. This year our Member States have contributed over US$55.9 million to the Peace Fund, which is the largest amount of money Member States have ever contributed to the Peace Fund since it was established in 1993.

5. What are your projections in advancing the ongoing financial reforms?
Amb. Kwesi; Looking at the progressive developments in Africa’s self-financing agenda, I believe this is a watershed moment for Africa. Our focus is to gradually move towards funding 100% of the Union’s operational budget, 75% of the programme budget and 25% of peace support operations by 2021, for the full ownership of the Union’s agenda.
We are working on revising the Scale of Assessment as currently, 48% of the Union’s budget is dependent on the contributions of only 5 member states under “Tier 1” of the scale of assessment. This presents clear risks to the stability of the budget. It is for this reason that in a meeting held in August 2017, Ministers of Finance recommended the introduction of ‘caps’ and ‘minima’ to our existing scale of assessment, in order to improve overall burden-sharing and risk reduction.

We also want to strengthen the sanctions regime for non-payment of contributions to ensure AU Member States payments are made on time. Under the current sanctions regimes, Member States non-payment are classified to be in default only if they are in arrears for two full years. This has led to a trend where about 33% of the assessed contributions are regularly held in arrears.

Finally, we are working towards developing a credible medium-term budget framework (2019-2021) based on revenue forecasts and capacity to spend. This will enable the Union to improve the credibility of its budget, strengthen financial management capacity and accountability and demonstrate value for money and results to its Member States. We are committed to ensure the highest standards of finance and budget management as well as seeing to it that we have a credible budget based on capacity to spend and proper revenue forecasts.

For more information, contact:
Ms. Doreen Apollos | Communication Advisor | Bureau of the Deputy Chairperson.
E-mail: ApollosD@africa-union.org | Tel: +251 115182737

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Adesina shares vision to transform Africa through investment not aid
November 12, 2018 | 0 Comments

President Cyril Ramaphosa officially opened the inaugural edition of the Africa Investment Forum on Thursday saying Africa was not only on the rise but Africa is on the move, referring to the continent as a destination for investments.

The Africa Investment Forum is an unprecedented gathering of pension funds, Sovereign wealth funds, capital markets, project sponsors, institutional and financial investors seeking to invest in Africa.

Describing Africa as the “next global frontier for investment,” Ramaphosa said: “May the deals be concluded. May we all be part of the deals that are going to be made here.”

Four African Heads of State –  President Alpha Conde of the Republic of Guinea; President Macky Sall of Senegal;  President Nana Dankwa Akufo-Addo of Ghana and President Sahle-Work Zewde of Ethiopia, made the trip to South Africa for the Forum. Other officials included the Vice President of Nigeria; the Prime Ministers of Rwanda, Edouard Ngirente and Cameroon, Philémon Yang, as well as ministers representing the Kingdom of Morocco, Cote d’Ivoire, Tanzania, Niger, and Gabon. In attendance also were Governors and Board members of the African Development Bank.

In his opening remarks, Adesina lauded the “impressive gathering” of stakeholders, indicating that their “presence here shows you care about Africa, and that you have confidence to take up more investments in Africa.”

Giving an overview of existing opportunities in the power and agriculture sectors, President Adesina said: “we always asked what’s the next China after China? Well, appropriately, China figured it out. It’s Africa.”

He acknowledged that Africa has massive infrastructure deficits, from ports to railways, roads, energy, and information and communication technology infrastructure needed to spur its competitiveness in global markets. The African development bank estimates the continent has a financing gap of $68-108 billion per year for infrastructure.

Adesina said, “But it’s all about how you see it: a glass half empty or a glass half full. Let’s see the challenges as a glass half full. That means Africa has an investment opportunity of $68-108 billion a year for infrastructure alone.”

“Which continent will have consumer and business expenditures that reach $5.6 trillion in just 7 short years,” he added. “Don’t think far: think Africa!”

The power sector alone provides a US$30 billion annual investment opportunity, tapping into Africa’s vast resources of gas, solar, hydro, wind and geothermal. Huge investment opportunities abound to make Africa the leading region on renewable energy in the world.

The African Development Bank is spearheading the development of the Desert to Power to develop 10,000 MW of solar across the entire Sahel region. This will become the largest solar zone in the world.

At the Africa Investment Forum, 306 project transactions valued at US$208.8 billion have been developed.  Over the next three days, 60 projects and deals worth US$40.4 billion will be discussed in Boardroom sessions by investors and promoters to fast track closure of deals or to remove policy and regulatory constraints to deal closure. An additional US$28 billion of projects will be showcased in “gallery walks” which have yet to move to boardroom investment conversations.

Over 330 investors will be in the Boardroom investment conversations and  “I must say the demand by investors has been overwhelming, so much so that 92% of the investments Boardrooms have been oversubscribed.That’s remarkable for a first inaugural investment forum,” Adesina said.

The Africa Investment Forum is seeking to help reduce intermediation costs, improve the quality of project information and documentation, and increase active and productive engagements between African governments and the private sector.
The Forum will feature projects from various sectors such as energy, infrastructure, transport and utilities, industry, agriculture, ICT and Telecoms, water and sanitation, funds and financial services, health, education, hospitality and tourism, housing, and aviation.

*AFDB

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Africa agribusiness, a US$1 trillion business by 2030
November 9, 2018 | 0 Comments
Agribusiness will become the ‘new oil” on the continent, African Investment Forum participants said
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, November 9, 2018/ — As project sponsors, borrowers, lenders and investors gathered at the Africa Investment Forum  to make deals on investment opportunities, leaders of the continent’s  top agribusiness companies shared their thoughts on the future of the industry. With its vast agricultural potential, Africa’s agribusiness sector is predicted to reach US$1 trillion by 2030. Agribusiness will become the ‘new oil” on the continent, African Investment Forum participants said, fueling the motor of inclusive growth.

“Agriculture is a key priority for the African Development Bank, through our Feed Africa strategy,” said Jennifer Blanke, the African Development Bank Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development.  “Understand that by transforming Africa’s agriculture sector it will become the engine that drives Africa’s economic transformation through increased income, better jobs higher on the value chain, improved nutrition, and so on,” she said in her opening remarks at an Africa Investment Forum session titled, Agribusiness: investment conversation with industry leaders.

Some agribusiness leaders said there is a need to invest US$45 billion per year to harness the power of agriculture and move up the value chain to create jobs and wealth. At present, only US$7 billion is invested in the sector. Investments from the private sector, leaders said, will create the adequate environment and enhance the emergence of locally owned agro-processing industries, capable of creating jobs and increasing incomes in rural Africa. The continent could become a net exporter of agricultural commodities, replacing US$110 billion worth of imports, as well as doubling its share of market value for select processed commodities.

The full-capacity session was a highlight of the Africa Investment Forum, organised by the African Development Bank. The event brought representatives from multilateral financial institutions, pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, government officials and private investors to Johannesburg, South Africa for three days.

Participants in the agribusiness session discussed the industry’s entire value chain. Leading the ‘fireside chat’ was a roundtable of experts that included Aliko Dangote, President and CEO of the Dangote Group; Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, Minister of Finance of Nigeria; William Asiko, CEO, Grow Africa; John George Coumantaros, Chairman, Flour Mills of Nigeria and TP Nchocho, CEO, Land and Agricultural Bank of South Africa

“We need to do the research to produce the right solutions to the issues we might face along the value chain. Youth are particularly involved in this aspect as they know how to develop tools addressing issues such as water management and release”, said Aliko Dangote.

Agribusiness can also promote industrialisation and urban employment, break the ‘productivity gap’ of development, and improve the quality of life for all Africans. Attendees said Africa’s agricultural potential needs to be unlocked.

Session participants said they want to bring African agriculture to the next level. For the small and medium scale farmers, the main challenge remains access to finance. Zainab Shamsuna, Nigeria’s Minister of Finance urged investors and development partners to adapt their policies to accommodate more participants in the agriculture value chain,

“I want us to eat what we grow and consume what we produce”, Shamsuna said.

In closing the session, Edward Mabaya, Manager of Agribusiness Development at the African Development Bank highlighted the vast investment opportunities in Africa’s agribusiness including seed, fertilizer, mechanization, processing and storage.

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Africa Investment Forum: All Set to Tilt the Tide of Investments into Africa
November 5, 2018 | 0 Comments
Forum to advance projects to bankable stages, raise capital, and accelerate financial closure of deals
Adesina

Adesina

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, November 5, 2018/ — The Africa Investment Forum kicked off on Monday with a media briefing in the South African capital. The game changing event, aimed at attracting multi-billion-dollar deals across the continent, is set to usher in a new era for Africa’s investment landscape.

Regional and global investors and institutional investors, private sector leaders, prominent government officials, and representatives of State are converging in South Africa, for what is billed as an unprecedented gathering to mobilize and crowd in global investment capital for the continent’s ambitious development agenda.

Dubbed by the African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina as the “collective deal of the century for investment in and the development of Africa,” the forum will focus on advancing projects to bankable stages, raising capital and accelerating the financial closure of deals.

“This is the beginning of a new conversation, a new way of doing things,” Victor Oladokun, the African Development Bank Director of Communications told reporters, a day before the Forum, which will be held at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg.

South African Deputy Director of the National Treasury Vuyelwa Vumendlini said the Africa Investment Forum provides a continental complement to the country’s recent investment forum which successfully attracted more than 200 billion Rand in investments.

The Government of South Africa, the African Development Bank and several multi-lateral development partners are hosting the Forum expected to become a key springboard for investment and an annual event.

Global financial institutions such as Africa Finance Corporation, Development Bank of South Africa, Africa 50, Afreximbank, European Investment Bank, Trade and Development Bank and the Islamic Development Bank, have come together to form solid strategic alliances around this new venture.

The Africa Investment Forum, is a unique platform where already curated projects, advanced and de-risked and are brought in front of investors. This innovative partnership of key global and continental players will focus on transactions and deals, Oladokun said.

Between US $130-170 billion a year is needed to finance infrastructure for Africa’s growing population, according to the African Development Bank’s Economic Outlook 2018. While global assets under management amount to an estimated US$131 trillion dollars, most of that is not invested in Africa; even one percent of that could provide the investment gap Africa needs.

“There is an urgent need to close the gap and for that to happen ‘it has to be business unusual. This is the first and biggest African investment market place, nothing like this has even been done before,” Oladokun, told reporters.

Guateng Province officials and government representatives in attendance included Muzi Mathema, of Guateng Growth and Development Agency, Ms Vuli Vumendlini, Deputy Director of the Nationa Treasury and Ayanda Holo, Director of Media engagement for the South African government. African Development Bank Executive Director Mmakgoshi Lekhethe was also in attendance.

Ronnie Ntuli, Executive Chairman Thelo, described the Forum as “a unique opportunity for Africans to partner with global capacity and the private sector. “It is an investor market…where all these partners converge to take advantage of tremendous opportunities,” he said.

Africa Investment Forum moving Africa’s investment agenda forward

African businesses are rapidly growing in number and sophistication, presenting excellent investment opportunities with relatively high returns, but the challenge of positioning themselves for consideration in front of institutional investors and global corporates remains.

The Forum has curated a total pipeline of 230 projects worth over US$208 billion spanning several sectors – energy, infrastructure, transport and utilities, industry, agriculture, ICT and Telecoms, water and sanitation and health and education.

Twenty-eight boardroom sessions will curate, screen and ensure the projects are bankable and reach financial close. A total of 61 deals estimated at more than US$40 billion will feature in Boardroom Sessions, while another US$28 billion worth of deals will be showcased to investors at a marketplace Gallery Walk.

The Forum also includes a co-guarantee platform that will develop and deploy innovative instruments to de-risk private sector investments at scale, thus boosting investor confidence.

Discussions will focus on specific projects, sectors, investors, and themes. Others will have country or regional focus. Co-financing and collaborations between investors will also be a key focus area at this event.

The inaugural Africa Investment Forum will feature a session on Championing Investments− an investment conversation with African Heads of State to highlight concrete and transformative actions for a new business landscape in Africa, including collective efforts to facilitate private investments.

The Africa Investment Forum takes place from November 7 to 9, 2018 at the Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg.

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Afe Babalola University Confers Honorary Doctorate Degree on African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina
October 22, 2018 | 0 Comments
In his acceptance address, Adesina lauded the Institution as an epitome of academic excellence commended its high standards of discipline
ADO EKITI, Nigeria, October 22, 2018/ — The Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti,  Nigeria, has conferred a Doctor of Letters, Honoris Causa on the President of the African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org), Akinwumi Adesina in recognition of his immense contributions to socio-economic development on the continent.

John Olachy Momoh, Chairman of Channels Media Group, Nigeria’s multi award-winning television station also received an Honoris Causa at the  6thConvocation ceremony of the University held on Sunday 21 October 2018 at the University Campus in Ado Ekiti.

“The honorary recipients are Nigerian ambassadors who have conquered the world due to the quality and functional education they received,” said Aare  Afe Babalola, Founder of the University.

“They were chosen on the basis of their distinguished reputations, outstanding achievements, exemplary leadership and extraordinary contributions to humanity. This is the highest honour an academic institution can give and today, they are richly-deserved,” he added.

In his acceptance address, Adesina lauded the Institution as an epitome of academic excellence commended its high standards of discipline. To the graduating students,”invest your time and energy in making the right decisions. The story and history of this great institution is one of the right decisions that should be well-studied by those involved in tertiary education globally,” he said.

Afe Babalola University is a private university established in 2010 in Ado Ekiti, Nigeria, with the ambition to address the disconnect between curricular programs and labor market demands.  The University operates through five colleges for undergraduates (Science, Social & Management Sciences, Law, Engineering and Medicine & Health Science) as well as a Post graduate school. In November 2013, it was appointed to mentor the College of Industrial Development (UID), Accra, Ghana thereby becoming the first university in Nigeria to mentor a foreign university. This year, a total of 4013 students graduated, including 43 pioneer medical doctors.

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African Development Bank showcases investment opportunities in Africa to Nordic investors
October 16, 2018 | 0 Comments
The Bank presented its strategy for the transformation of African economies and showcased investment opportunities on the continent
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, October 15, 2018/ — The African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org) in a multidisciplinary team roadshows has presented financial products and investment opportunities to Nordic investors to leverage more access to financing. The roadshows brought together more than 50 private sector companies, investors and government and public institutions in Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Denmark.

The aim of the event was to bring the Bank closer to customers in order to increase awareness of key private sector stakeholders to understand the Bank’s financial and risk mitigation products for investment projects. The roadshows also generated significant interests of businesses to the Africa Investment Forum, the Bank’s maiden market place, scheduled for November 7-9 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The first roadshow took place in Norway on 24-25 September, followed by Sweden on September 27- 28. In Finland, the Bank met key private sector companies, private funds, and pension funds from 1-2 October and the final event was in Denmark on October 4-5.

The Bank presented its strategy for the transformation of African economies and showcased investment opportunities on the continent. The highly interactive event targeted commercial banks, institutional investors including pension funds, asset managers and insurers as well as individual investors across the Nordic region.

“Nordic countries are very important for the development of Africa and we want to see more investments coming from these countries. Hence, the roadshow organized to showcase African investment opportunities and to present the Bank as a gateway for their investments”, said Olivier Eweck, Director, Syndication, Co-financing and Client Solutions Department, adding that “several private investors and companies have shown keen interest in the Africa Investment Forum”.

The African Development Bank team discussed key roles in accelerating Africa’s investment opportunities across the Nordic region in line with the Bank’s development priorities for Africa as enshrined in the High 5s.

The Bank sees its partnership with long-term investors from the Nordic region as important and welcomes their perspective and visions to support new investments in infrastructure, and to foster sustainable development initiatives in Africa.

The Africa Investment Forum is a novel platform for international business and social impact investors looking to transact and invest funds in Africa. It will connect investors with both public and private sector projects throughout the continent.

The Bank expects that holding the event under one roof would provide an ideal platform for interfacing with its partners, reduce intermediation costs, improve the quality of project information and documentation, and increase action-oriented engagements between African governments and the private sector.

 

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The Status Quo is Unacceptable: It’s time to normalize the narratives on African Migration, Experts Urge
September 25, 2018 | 0 Comments
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African Development Bank Launches first Africa-to-Africa (A2A) Investment Report
September 25, 2018 | 0 Comments
Africa-to-Africa Investment Report: A first look, finds that more African companies are investing in Africa
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, September 24, 2018/ — Opportunities for investment in Africa outweigh the obstacles, according to a report by leading African companies covered in the African Development Bank’s (www.AfDB.org) new Africa-to-Africa (A2A) Investment Report, the first ever report on inter-African trade published by the Bank.

The report unearths the realities African companies face when investing in the continent, the emerging trends in A2A investment and the steps African policymakers can take to accelerate intra-African investment.

Africa-to-Africa Investment Report: A first look (https://bit.ly/2Q3p3kh), finds that more African companies are investing in Africa. These companies have confidence in the continent’s long-term growth potential; they are at the cutting edge of their industries, and are capitalizing on their knowledge of local markets to generate higher returns and impact.

In line with the Bank’s High 5s  for transforming Africa and the African Union’s Agenda 2063, the A2A Report aims to take the conversation on investing in the continent a step further. It shows what African multinationals are doing to drive investments in Africa, d how they are expanding their African footprint, and gives insights into how to scale-up investments more widely.

As global foreign direct investment to Africa falls, intra-African investments are picking up pace,” said Akinwumi A. Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group. “Africa’s big companies are increasingly on the move and expanding their African footprint. It is through more investments that the continent can build inclusive, sustainable growth and development. We have made this our collective commitment in the High 5s”.

The A2A Report features eight publicly-listed and privately-owned African companies operating in consumer services, finance, industry, media and diversified portfolios and investment, with home bases in North Africa (Morocco), West Africa (Nigeria, Togo), East and Central Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya) and Southern Africa (Mauritius, South Africa).

Highlights from the Report’s intra-African investment stories include the importance of having a clear long-term vision, getting up-to-date investment facts, building local partnerships to deliver on the ground and tapping into talent in the local labour force.

The business case for A2A investment is strongly connected to the continent’s integration, growth and prosperity. Although challenges remain, the A2A Report is the start of a broader discussion to fast-track investments, move beyond the wish list and make deals happen. The continent’s policymakers can inspire a greater level of confidence and promote A2A investments by highlighting their role as dependable business partners for African investors.

The Report is part of the Bank Group’s continued championing of investment across Africa, along with the first Africa Investment Forum (AIF) (AfricaInvestmentForum.com), scheduled to take place in Johannesburg, South Africa from 7-9 November 2018.

The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) (www.AfDB.org) is Africa’s premier development finance institution. It comprises three distinct entities: the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF). On the ground in 37 African countries with an external office in Japan, the AfDB contributes to the economic development and the social progress of its 54 regional member states.

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African Development Bank, mariner investment group, and africa50 price landmark $1 billion impact securitization
September 20, 2018 | 0 Comments
Structured as a synthetic securitization by Mizuho International, Room2Run transfers the mezzanine credit risk on a portfolio of approximately 50 loans from among the African Development Bank’s non- sovereign lending book, including power, transportation, financial sector, and manufacturing assets
MONTREAL, Canada, September 19, 2018/ —

  • With “Room2run,” AfDB Launches Securitization Market for Multilateral Development Bank Sector
  • Transaction is in Direct Response to G20 Action Plan for Mdb Balance Sheet Optimization
  • AfDB Commits to Reinvest freed up Capital into New African Infrastructure Lending, Making Room2run one of the Largest Impact Investments ever
  • Transaction is supported by New European Union Guarantee Tool (European Fund For Sustainable Development)

The African Development Bank (www.AFDB.org), the European Commission (http://EC.Europa.eu/growth/industry/innovation/funding/efsi_en), Mariner Investment Group (www.MarinerInvestment.com), LLC (Mariner), Africa50 (www.Africa50.com), and Mizuho International plc  (www.Mizuho-EMEA.com) today announce the pricing of Room2Run, a US $1 billion synthetic securitization corresponding to a portfolio of seasoned pan-African credit risk. Room2Run is the first-ever portfolio synthetic securitization between a Multi-Lateral Development Bank (MDB) and private sector investors, pioneering the use of securitization and credit risk transfer technology to a new and previously unexplored segment of the financial markets.

Structured as a synthetic securitization by Mizuho International, Room2Run transfers the mezzanine credit risk on a portfolio of approximately 50 loans from among the African Development Bank’s non-sovereign lending book, including power, transportation, financial sector, and manufacturing assets. The portfolio spans the African continent, with exposure to borrowers in North Africa, West Africa, Central Africa, East Africa, and Southern Africa. Mariner, the global alternative asset manager and a majority-owned subsidiary of ORIX USA, is the lead investor in the transaction through its International Infrastructure Finance Company II fund (“IIFC II”). Africa50, the pan-African infrastructure investment platform, is investing alongside Mariner in the private sector tranche. Additional credit protection is being provided by the European Commission’s European Fund for Sustainable Development in the form of a senior mezzanine guarantee.

“Room2Run gives us fresh resources to invest in the projects Africans need most,” said Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group. “Africa has the most promise, the greatest natural resources, and the world’s youngest population. But we also have the world’s most persistent infrastructure deficits. The African Development Bank has the strategy to address these infrastructure finance gaps—and Room2Run gives us the capacity to make it happen.”

Structured as an impact investment, Room2Run is designed to enable the African Development Bank to increase lending in support of its mission to spur sustainable economic development and social progress. In connection with Room2Run, The Bank has committed to redeploy the freed-up capital into renewable energy projects in Sub-Saharan Africa, including projects in low income and fragile countries.

“On the Impact scale, Room2Run is off the charts,” said Dr. Andrew Hohns, Lead Portfolio Manager and head of the Mariner Infrastructure Investment Management team. “Room2Run answers the call of the G20 for private sector participants to step in and facilitate development finance, providing a template for attracting significant private sector capital into urgently needed projects in developing economies.”

Raza Hasnani, Head of Infrastructure Investment at Africa50 commented, “Room2Run provides an innovative and commercially viable solution to the African Development Bank’s risk management and lending objectives, while paving the way for commercial investors to support and benefit from the growth of infrastructure on the continent. Africa50 is very pleased to participate in this landmark transaction, which is in line with our mandate to drive increased investment in infrastructure in Africa, and to create pathways for long-term institutional capital to flow into this space.”

Room2Run enjoys the support and participation of the European Commission with an investment from the European Fund for Sustainable Development, in the form of a senior mezzanine guarantee. “Only a few days after announcing our renewed Alliance with Africa for sustainable investments and jobs, I am very happy to announce that we are, together with the African Development Bank, launching Room2Run,” commented Neven Mimica, the European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development. “This initiative is a perfect example of what we are doing to support investments in African low income and fragile countries through the External Investment Plan. Through Room2Run, we provide an additional protection to investments in the field of renewable energy. Through our Guarantee, investments under Room2Run will translate into extending supply to many people currently without electricity whilst creating much-needed new jobs.”

Room2Run also directly responds to calls by the G20 that MDBs use their existing resources to full capacity, as articulated in the 2015 G20 MDB Action Plan to Optimize Balance Sheets, as well as calls for greater MDB efforts to crowd-in private investment. The G20 has called on MDBs to share risk in their non-sovereign operations with private investors, including through structured finance, mezzanine financing, credit guarantee programs, and hedging structures.[1],[2]

The Government of Canada has been a global leader in advocating for MDBs to use their existing resources more efficiently and to mobilize private capital for global development. The goal of the G20 MDB Action Plan to Optimize Balance Sheets is to catalyze significant new development financing from the MDBs throughout the real economy in key development regions.  “Attracting more private capital into global development efforts is critical to building economies that work for more and more people around the world,” said Bill Morneau, Canada’s Minister of Finance, “that’s why Canada and our G20 partners have been calling on multilateral development banks to use their existing resources as efficiently as possible, and to look for new ways to attract more private capital.  We are pleased to see the African Development Bank come forward with a transaction that directly responds to both of these objectives.  Room2Run is an innovative solution to a long-standing challenge.”

Juan Carlos Martorell, Co-Head of Structured Solutions at Mizuho International, adds, “Compared to other synthetic securitizations, a major achievement of Room2Run has been to ensure that ratings agencies, and in particular S&P, reflect the merits of the risk transfer into their rating assessments for multilateral development banks. The Bank’s leadership through this transaction has now set the stage for broader adoption of the instrument throughout the MDB community.”

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Development Bank Group (AfDB).

 

Media contacts:

AfDB: Nafissatou Diouf, Manager, Media Relations, N.Diouf@AFDB.org
Mariner Investment Group, LLC: David Press, Tel: (917) 721-7046, David@FeverPress.com
Africa50: Fleur Tchibota, Tel: +212666171099,F.Tchibota@Africa50.com
Mizuho International plc: Gayle Rodrigues, Corporate Communications, Tel: +44 207090 6213,
Gayle.Rodrigues@UK.Mizuho-sc.com
European Commission: Carlos Martin Ruiz de Gordejuela, Tel: + 32 229-65322

About the African Development Bank Group

The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group (www.AFDB.org) is the premier development finance institution in Africa with a mandate to spur sustainable economic development and social progress in the continent, thereby contributing to poverty reduction. The Bank Group achieves this objective by mobilizing and allocating resources for investment in the continent; and providing policy advice and technical assistance to support development efforts. The African Development Bank’s authorized capital of around USD 100 billion is subscribed to by 80 member countries made up of 54 African countries and 26 non-African countries.

www.AFDB.org

Media contacts:

AfDB: Nafissatou Diouf, Manager, Media Relations, N.Diouf@AFDB.org
Mariner Investment Group, LLC: David Press, Tel: (917) 721-7046, David@FeverPress.com
Africa50: Fleur Tchibota, Tel: +212666171099,F.Tchibota@Africa50.com
Mizuho International plc: Gayle Rodrigues, Corporate Communications, Tel: +44 207090 6213,
Gayle.Rodrigues@UK.Mizuho-sc.com
European Commission: Carlos Martin Ruiz de Gordejuela, Tel: + 32 229-65322

About the African Development Bank Group

The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group (www.AFDB.org) is the premier development finance institution in Africa with a mandate to spur sustainable economic development and social progress in the continent, thereby contributing to poverty reduction. The Bank Group achieves this objective by mobilizing and allocating resources for investment in the continent; and providing policy advice and technical assistance to support development efforts. The African Development Bank’s authorized capital of around USD 100 billion is subscribed to by 80 member countries made up of 54 African countries and 26 non-African countries.

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African Development Bank boosts Cameroon livestock and fish farming with €84 million loan
September 13, 2018 | 0 Comments
The loan, approved by the Bank’s Board on Wednesday, will support the modernization of beef, pork and fish production, with significant improvements to food and nutrition in the country
Crossbred cows in a dairy farm in Cameroon. (Photo: Mario García Podesta /IAEA)

Crossbred cows in a dairy farm in Cameroon. (Photo: Mario García Podesta /IAEA)

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, September 13, 2018/ — The African Development Bank Group (www.AfDB.org) has extended a loan of €84 million to Cameroon to support livestock and fish production in the central African country in line with the Bank’s strategies to create jobs and raise household incomes.

The loan, approved by the Bank’s Board on Wednesday, will support the modernization of beef, pork and fish production, with significant improvements to food and nutrition in the country.

Both the Bank and the Government of Cameroon are implementing strategic policies aimed at improving food and nutritional security, reducing poverty and improving production infrastructure in rural areas. The Bank’s signature High 5s strategy includes policies to feed Africa, industrialize the continent and improve the quality of life of its people.

The project approved by the Board will specifically target raising standards and competitiveness in such key livestock value chains as genetics improvement, feeding, slaughter, processing, conservation and transportation. For fish production, the focus will be on rearing, conservation, storage, and processing.

While the project has a national scope, the Cameroon government has identified three main target areas – the North-West for production, and Central and Coastal for consumption. The impact of the cross-cutting actions involved will, however, be felt in the other regions of the country as well.

Key beneficiaries of the project will be stockbreeders and their cooperatives who constitute 45% of the pastoral sector labour force; fish farmers, input producers and sellers, traders, women wholesale fishmongers and processing operators. In addition, up to 350 higher education graduates will be trained and settled as business leaders.

The project’s total cost is estimated at €99.27million (CFAF 65.113 billion. The bank will provide a loan of € 84.00 million (CFAF 55.100 billion) (while the government will contribute €15.27 million (CFAF 10 billion) in counterpart funding.

*AFDB

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Could the future of food in the world depend on what Africa does with agriculture?
September 3, 2018 | 0 Comments
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The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) transformation into the African Union Development Agency
July 10, 2018 | 0 Comments
The Assembly approved the establishment of African Union Development Agency as the technical body of the African Union with its own legal identity
 

Mr. Ibrahim Assane MAYAKI Executive Secretary of NEPAD

Mr. Ibrahim Assane MAYAKI Executive Secretary of NEPAD

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, July 9, 2018/ — At the recent 31st Ordinary Session of the Assembly of African Union Heads of State and Government in Nouakchott, Mauritania, African Heads of State and Government received several reports, including the status of the implementation of the AU Institutional Reforms presented by President Paul Kagame of Rwanda. President Kagame is the current chair of the African Union and the champion for the AU Institutional Reforms process.

During the Summit in Nouakchott, a decision was officially taken on the transformation of the NEPAD Planning and Coordination Agency into the African Union Development Agency. 

The Assembly approved the establishment of African Union Development Agency as the technical body of the African Union with its own legal identity, defined by its own statute.  The statue will be developed and presented for adoption at the next AU Summit in January 2019.

The Assembly commended the leadership of Senegalese President, H.E Macky Sall, current Chairperson of the NEPAD Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee, for reinforcing the credibility of NEPAD that has been acknowledged in the international community, including the G20 and the G7.

The current reforms at the AU are an affirmation by member states of their commitment to the NEPAD Agency as the Union’s own instrument established to champion catalytic support to countries and regional bodies in advancing the implementation of the continent’s development vision – as articulated in the seven aspirations and 20 goals of Agenda 2063.

Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, CEO of the NEPAD Agency, stated that, “A core aspect of the current reforms is to streamline and improve effectiveness and efficiency in delivery in the implementation of AU decisions, policies and programmes across all AU organs and institutions. In this sense, as the NEPAD Agency is the technical implementation agency of the AU, one specific recommendation in the Kagame report is to transform it into the AU Development Agency. We are enthusiastic about this transformation, which will make it possible to deploy our programmes even more effectively in the service of our continent’s development.”

 

 

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Annual Meetings of the Boards of Governors of the African Development Bank Group: “Accelerating Africa’s industrialization”
March 24, 2018 | 0 Comments
21 – 25 May 2018, Busan Exhibition Conference Center, Busan, Republic of South Korea
ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, March 23, 2018/ — The 53rd Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the African Development Bank and 44th Meeting of the Board of Governors of the African Development Fund (http://www.AfDB.org/am), the concessional arm of the Bank Group, are scheduled to take place from May 21-25, 2018 in Busan, Korea.

While Africa has enjoyed strong economic growth for almost two decades, the continent has not seen a commensurate rise in industrialization. On average, African industry generates merely US$700 of GDP per capita, which is barely a fifth in East Asia (US$3,400). In addition, African exports consist of low technology manufactures and unprocessed natural resources, which represent more than 80 percent of exports from Algeria, Angola or Nigeria, for example.

Africa’s rapid industrialization holds the potential for a win-win scenario – for the world, and certainly for the continent. It would also help raise productivity by spurring technological progress and innovation while creating higher-skilled jobs in the formal sector; promote linkages between services and agricultural sectors; between rural and urban economies; and among consumers, intermediates and capital goods industries. Industrialization will also make the prices of manufactured exports less volatile or susceptible to long-term deterioration than those of primary goods, as well as help African countries escape dependence on primary commodity exports.

The theme is generating a lot of interest at a time when Korean and Asian companies are increasingly active in Africa. What lessons can Africa learn from Korea’s development experience? Can relations between both regions, built on a win-win formula, enable Africa claim a more significant share of world trade? Can Afro-Asian commercial and financial ties favor the development of the African private sector? What are the most effective policy levers that could foster structural transformation on the continent? How can the continent learn from the experiences of Korea and leading African nations such as Mauritius, Morocco, Ethiopia, and Rwanda in the industrialization process? These and other questions will be debated during the Busan Annual Meetings.

The Annual Meetings are one of the largest economic gatherings on the continent. Thousands of delegates, Heads of State, public and private sectors stakeholders, development partners and academics, will reflect on Africa’s industrialization − one of the Bank’s High 5 strategic priorities (https://www.afdb.org/en/the-high-5) and an avenue to improve the living conditions of Africans.

During the meetings, the Bank will organize a series of knowledge events to generate new ideas for developing and financing Africa’s industrialization. Highlights of the meetings will include a high-level presidential panel on Accelerating African Industrialization: Bringing the future to the present. The panel will be a platform for political leaders from Africa and Korea to present their visions and strategies for industrialization as well as ideas for overcoming implementation challenges.

The Bank will launch the updated version of the African Economic Outlook (AEO) 2018 – the Bank’s flagship economic publication. Several knowledge events are on the programme such as Pathways to Industrialization, where panelists will deliberate on the various trajectories African countries can follow towards sustainable industrialization. A panel on Future of Work and Industrialization will examine how Africa can adapt its educational systems and workers’ skills to suit new economic realities, particularly for industrial development of the continent, among other sessions.

Journalists willing to take part in the Meetings are requested to send to the Bank a designation letter from their news organization at the following address: (media@afdb.org). Upon receipt of the letter, the Bank will send a personal code that will allow online registration. Online registration will close on 13th May 2018. Journalists from countries without Korean diplomatic representation should register early enough in order to get assistance from the Bank in obtaining a visa should they need one.

The African Development Bank will not cover transport and subsistence costs for journalists travelling to Busan.

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Adesina Urges America to Support African Agriculture as a Business
February 23, 2018 | 0 Comments
I do not seek aid for Africa. I seek investments in Africa – Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank
Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank and Sonny Perdue, Secretary of Agriculture

Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank and Sonny Perdue, Secretary of Agriculture

ARLINGTON, United States of America, February 22, 2018/ — The President of the African Development Bank (www.AfDB.org), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina has made a strong case for increased American and global investments to help unlock Africa’s agriculture potential.

He made the remarks as the Distinguished Guest Speaker, at the USDA’s 94th Agriculture Outlook Forum (www.USDA.gov/oce/forum) in Virginia on Thursday, on the theme The Roots of Prosperity.

According to Adesina, “For too long, Agriculture has been associated with what I call the three Ps – pain, penury, and poverty. The fact though is that agriculture is a huge wealth-creating sector that is primed to unleash new economic opportunities that will lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.”

Participants at the Forum included the Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue; Deputy Secretary of Agriculture, Stephen Censky; President of the World Food Prize Foundation, Kenneth Quinn; Chief Economist of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Robert Johansson; Deputy Chief Economist, Warren Preston; and several top level government officials and private sector operators.

Adesina appealed to the US private sector to fundamentally change the way it views African agriculture.

“Think about it, the size of the food and agriculture market in Africa will rise to US $ 1 trillion by 2030. This is the time for US agri-businesses to invest in Africa,” he said. ‘’And for good reason: Think of a continent where McKinsey projects household consumption is expected to reach nearly $2.1 trillion and business-to-business expenditure will reach $3.5 trillion by 2025. Think of a continent brimming with 840 million youth, the youngest population in the world, by 2050.”

The U.S. government was urged to be at the forefront of efforts to encourage fertilizer and seed companies, manufacturers of tractors and equipment, irrigation and ICT farm analytics to ramp up their investments on the continent.

“As the nation that first inspired me and then welcomed me with open arms, permit me to say that I am here to seek a partnership with America: a genuine partnership to help transform agriculture in Africa, and by so doing unlock the full potential of agriculture in Africa, unleash the creation of wealth that will lift millions out of poverty in Africa, while creating wealth and jobs back home right here in America,” the 2017 World Food Prize Laureate  told the Forum.”

Adesina told more than 2,000 delegates that the African Development Bank is spearheading a number of transformative business and agricultural initiatives.

“We are launching the Africa Investment Forum, as a 100% transactional platform, to leverage global pension funds and other institutional investors to invest in Africa in Johannesburg, South Africa from November 7-9.”

The World Bank, International Finance Corporation, the Inter-American Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Islamic Development Bank, are partnering with the African Investment Forum to de-risk private sector investments.

The African Development Bank is also pioneering the establishment of Staple Crop Processing Zones  in 10 African countries, that are expected to transform rural economies into zones of economic prosperity and save African economies billions of dollars in much needed foreign reserves.

“We must now turn the rural areas from zones of economic misery to zones of economic prosperity. This requires a total transformation of the agriculture sector. At the core of this must be rapid agricultural industrialization. We must not just focus on primary production but on the development of agricultural value chains,” Adesina added. “That way, Africa will turn from being at the bottom to the top of global value chains.”

In his keynote address U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Sonny Perdue, said:

“The U.S. Administration has removed more restrictive regulations to agriculture than any other administration. Our goal is to dismantle restrictions that have eroded agricultural business opportunities.”

“Agriculture feeds prosperity and accounts for 20 cents of every dollar. As global prosperity grows, it in turn fuels the demand for more nutritious food and business opportunities,” he added.

In his concluding remarks, Adesina informed participants about a new $ 1 billion initiative, Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) to unlock Africa’s huge potential in the savannahs.

Expressing strong optimism that the future millionaires and billionaires of Africa will come from agriculture, Adesina said:

“Together, let our roots of prosperity grow downwards and bear fruit upwards. As we do, rural Africa and rural America will brim with new life, much like I witnessed in Indiana, during my time as a graduate student in America. Then, we will have changed the 3 ‘Ps’ to – Prosperity, Prosperity and Prosperity!”

The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) (www.AfDB.org) is Africa’s premier development finance institution. It comprises three distinct entities: the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF). On the ground in 44 African countries with an external office in Japan, the AfDB contributes to the economic development and the social progress of its 54 regional member states.

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ACBF appointed African Union specialised agency for capacity development
February 23, 2018 | 0 Comments

By Wallace Mawire

Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission with African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) management after ceremony in Harare

Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission with African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) management after ceremony in Harare

The African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) has been appointed as a specialised agency for capacity development by the African Union (AU) at a ceremony endorsed by Mr Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of
the African Union Commission in Harare.

Under the new framework, capacity development activities ACBF is going to undertake under will include enhancing skills required to achieve sustainable development,strengthening the human and institutional capacity of national and regional institutions,promoting economic and social transformation through policy formulation,implementation, monitoring and evaluation focusing on Africa’s developmental agenda and generating and sharing knowledge on capacity development.

It is reported that the African Union Commission shall, subject to its applicable internal procedures facilitate effective collaboration with ACBF Agency through the commission and other relevant organs of the Union, collaborate with the ACBF Agency in joint resource mobilization initiatives for the financing of
capacity building interventions in the continent and facilitate the ACBF Agency role in coordinating capacity building initiatives on the African continent.

The ACBF agency shall also create a consultative forum in which Africans may participate as full partners in the establishment of priorities and the development of policies and programs to promote capacity building in policy analysis and development management, establish processes for coordinating capacity building efforts in
policy formulation and implementation that would lead to greater efficiency and effectiveness of
ongoing donor efforts, coordinate resource mobilization to provide funding and resources for capacity building in Africa, lead, coordinate and champion production of fit-for-purpose, high-quality, and timely capacity development knowledge in support of the implementation of Africa’s development priorities, coordinate
knowledge connection (government, private sector and academia), facilitation and sharing to improve development practices, coordinate capacity development advisory services and training at continental, regional and country levels to translate capacity development knowledge and learning into relevant and innovative methods and
practices, support the emergence of a knowledge-based economy to sustain development results
in Africa, publish and disseminate information related to capacity building and capacity
utilization in Africa, collaborate with national, bilateral or multilateral institutions carrying out specific capacity building and capacity utilization activities in Africa.

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PRESIDENT BUHARI TO ATTEND AFRICAN UNION SUMMIT IN ADDIS ABABA; SET TO CHAMPION ANTI-CORRUPTION CAMPAIGN AT REGIONAL LEVEL
January 26, 2018 | 0 Comments

By FEMI ADESINA*

Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari attends the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council in Addis Ababa on January 29, 2016.Getty Images Tony Karumba

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari attends the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council in Addis Ababa on January 29, 2016.Getty Images Tony Karumba

President Muhammadu Buhari will Friday depart for Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to participate in the 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU).
The highlight of the President’s engagements during the visit will be his Statement under the historic theme for the AU Summit, namely: “Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation.”

This is the first time in the 54-year history of the AU that anti-corruption will be made a theme of the gathering of the regional leaders.

It would be recalled that on July 4, 2017 during the 29th Session of the AU, African leaders unanimously endorsed President Buhari to champion the fight against corruption on the continent. The endorsement was in recognition of his personal commitment and widely acclaimed anti-graft drive at the domestic level.

On July 25, 2017, the President in a letter to President Alpha Conde of Guinea, who is also the out-going AU Chairperson, formally accepted his nomination to lead members of the AU on this crucial crusade against a veritable socio-economic vice that is anti-development.

While thanking his colleagues for the honour, he reiterated his “commitment to contribute towards our collective efforts to strengthen good governance and development on the continent.”

Apart from anti-corruption, other issues lined for consideration by African leaders and their delegations include, peace and security (transnational terrorism); institutional reforms of the continental body; free movement of persons; climate change; trade; aviation; education; gender and development.

President Buhari will also hold bilateral meetings with some of his colleagues on issues of common interests.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama; the Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami; the Minister of Interior, Abdulrahman Danbazau; the Minister of State (Aviation), Hadi Sirika; the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno; and the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu are in the President’s delegation to the Summit.

*Special Adviser to the President (Media & Publicity)

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AfDB Launches Youth Advisory Group to Create 25 Million Jobs
November 28, 2017 | 0 Comments
The Jobs for Youth in Africa initiative aims at creating 25 million jobs and impacting 50 million youth over the next ten years by equipping them with the right skills to get decent and meaningful jobs
Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB)

Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB)

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, November 28, 2017/ — The President of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) (www.AfDB.org), Akinwumi Adesina, has launched the Presidential Youth Advisory Group (PYAG) to provide insights and innovative solutions for job creation for Africa’s youth, as outlined in the Bank’s Jobs for Youth in Africa Strategy (JfYA) (http://APO.af/nRtVAs).

The Jobs for Youth in Africa initiative aims at creating 25 million jobs and impacting 50 million youth over the next ten years by equipping them with the right skills to get decent and meaningful jobs. It is currently the largest effort going on for youth employment in Africa today.

The advisory group, inaugurated on the sidelines of the 6th EU-Africa Business Forum in Abidjan on Monday, November 27, will work with the Bank to create jobs for Africa’s youth.

“This is a huge opportunity for Africa. If we fix the youth unemployment challenge, Africa will gain 10-20% annual growth. That means Africa’s GDP will grow by $500 million per year for the next thirty years. Africa’s per capita income will rise by 55% every year to the year 2050,” Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) said at the inauguration of the Group.

Adesina, who identified Africa’s greatest asset as its youth, observed that out of the 13 million youths that enter the labour market each year, only 3 million (about 33% of African youth) are in wage employment, while the rest are underemployed or in vulnerable employment. The annual gap of more than 8 million jobs is going to worsen, with the number of youth expected to double to more than 800 million in the next decades.

“Africa has an unemployment crisis among its youth,” he stressed, noting that unless employment opportunities are created for them, Africa’s rapidly growing population of youths can give rise to serious social, economic, political and security challenges.

Africa’s youths, though strong and dynamic, cross the desert or the Mediterranean sea because they do not find decent jobs in Africa. Graduates are wandering in the streets, jobless. The low level of employment opportunities is also fueling violence and extremism in Africa. “40% of African youths engaged in armed violence join gangs or terrorist groups because of limited opportunities in their countries,” Adesina said.

“66 million African youths earn less than $2 a day, less than the price of a hamburger,” the AfDB President emphasized. “66 million is 8 times the size of Switzerland, 6 times the size of Belgium, the same size as UK, France or Italy, and 80% of Germany’s population,” he added.

The Presidential Youth Advisory Group (PYAG) comprises nine members under the age of 40 who have made significant contributions to the creation of employment opportunities for African youth.

The PYAG members are: Ashish Thakkar, CEO, Mara Group, Tanzania (Chair); Uzodinma Iweala, award-winning author, Nigeria; Mamadou Toure, Founder / CEO, Africa 2.0 / Ubuntu Capital, Cameroon; Vanessa Moungar, Human and Social Development Director, AfDB and member of President Macron’s Presidential Council for Africa, Chad; Francine Muyumba, President, Panafrican Youth Union, Democratic Republic of Congo; Jeremy Johnson, Co-founder, Andela, USA; Clarisse Iribagiza, CEO, Hehe, Rwanda; Ada Osakwe, CEO, Agrolay Ventures, Nigeria; and Monica Musonda, CEO of Java Foods, Zambia.

On the rationale behind the setting up of the advisory group, President Adesina explained: “We recognize the enormous amount of energy, creative and innovative thinking, and entrepreneurial excellence that many of our youth bring to the table. For this reason, the Bank must ensure that it is well advised by cutting-edge youth representatives on its policies, actions and programmes, for the benefit of Africa’s youth.”

“The members of the Presidential Youth Advisory Group are expected to actively engage private sector partners, government leaders, civil society, donor partners, and other stakeholders; and support the significant amount of work that the Bank is already doing and promoting across the continent through its Jobs for Youth in Africa strategy,” President Adesina added.

A youth-led economic transformation agenda

PYAG is an opportunity for leading young voices in Africa to develop new and fresh perspectives and recommend innovative solutions that will shape AfDB’s support to African countries, and reduce the scourge of Youth unemployment.

The AfDB is fully committed to working with the PYAG to scale up and expedite results that deliver decent and sustainable jobs for African youth, through formal employment and successful youth entrepreneurship that allows African youth to become their own drivers of economic prosperity, social stability and environmental sustainability.

Ashish Thakkar, CEO of the Mara Group and Chair of the PYAG, said: “It is a great honour to serve our continent in this function. We know that the stakes are high, but we are committed to the task of creating flourishing youth businesses that provide tremendous value. We are also focused on facilitating the achievement of AfDB’s High 5s and Sustainable Development Goals. We have just concluded our work program for the next year and have hit the ground running.”

He described how his family lost everything they had during the genocide in Rwanda in the 1990s.

“I have borrowed $5,000 to launch my business without any form of support. Today, Mara Group has 14,000 employees around the world. I was alone, but imagine what we can do together with the support of an institution like the AfDB.”

“I have never heard of an institution as important as the AfDB setting up and advisory group only made of youth. A Chinese proverb has it that if you want 1 year of prosperity, plant a grain. If you want 10 years of prosperity, plant a tree. If you want a century of prosperity, invest on people,” said Mamadou Touré, a member of the group.

Also speaking, Ada Osakwe said: “40% of entrepreneurs in Nigeria are women, but 73% operate in consumer retail systems. We need to address that and provide youth with more lucrative jobs.”

To make agriculture more attractive to young people, the AfDB last year invested $800 million in supporting young entrepreneurs in agriculture as a business in 8 countries. It will reach 15 countries this year. The Bank expects to invest 1.5 billion per year for the next 10 years to support young agripreneurs.

The AfDB is delivering on its youth strategy

The AfDB has made great progress toward implementing its strategy through three key pillars: innovation, integration and investment. In terms of integration, the Bank entered into partnership with the International Labour Organization to strengthen the capacity of African countries to harmonize Youth Employment into national policies.

The Youth Entrepreneurship and Innovation Multi-Donor Trust Fund which will serve as a financial and operational instrument, with initial support of USD 4.4 million by Denmark and Norway.

The African Development has also developed the Enabling Youth Employment (EYE) Index to measure youth employment outcomes and enabling policies at country levels.

“With this amazing group of very diverse young individuals, we even hope to exceed the Bank’s goal to create 25 million jobs and 50 million youth equipped with the right skills,” said Thakkar enthusiastically. “It is time to change the narrative about Africa’s youth!”

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An emotional tribute in memory of former AfDB President Babacar Ndiaye
September 24, 2017 | 0 Comments
Babacar Ndiaye, the Bank Group’s fifth elected President, who served two terms between 1985 and 1995, passed away on July 13, 2017 in Senegal
President Adesina and Babacar Ndiaye's family

President Adesina and Babacar Ndiaye’s family

ABIDJAN, Ivory Coast, September 23, 2017/ — “Goodbye, Papa, farewell to the ambassador for Africa’s development, rest in peace.” In an intensely emotional tribute, the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) (www.AfDB.org), Adesina Akinwumi, opened a ceremony honouring Babacar Ndiaye at the organisation’s headquarters in Abidjan.

Adesina announced that the AfDB headquarters auditorium will from now on be named Babacar Ndiaye Auditorium.

Babacar Ndiaye, the Bank Group’s fifth elected President, who served two terms between 1985 and 1995, passed away on July 13, 2017 in Senegal.

With Ndiaye’s widow and several children in attendance, as well as former AfDB President Kantinka Dr Kwame D. Fordwor, members of the Senegalese and Ivorian Governments, representatives of the diplomatic corps, and active and retired AfDB staff members. Adesina fondly recalled Babacar Ndiaye’s complete and passionate commitment to the development of Africa.

“He was an AfDB icon, he was a father and mentor to every one of us, and emphatically launched the career of the Bank Group’s current President. He inspired us. In losing him, Africa has lost one of its best sons.”

President Adesina underlined the personal ties between him and his predecessor, recalling that he knew Ndiaye when he worked for the West Africa Rice Development Association (WADRA), which was then based in Bouaké, Côte d’Ivoire.

“Babacar Ndiaye was charismatic, and left an indelible mark on our continent. His legacy is vast, because he always saw the big picture. He was quite simply magnificent,” Adesina stated.

He added, “During the campaign for the AfDB presidency, I naturally went to see him in Dakar. He welcomed me warmly. I took the opportunity to tell him about my vision for the High 5s . He agreed right away, and told me, ‘That’s what Africa needs to transform itself.'”

Arriving at the institution in 1965 as part of the first group of African managers, Ndiaye climbed the organisational ladder to become Division Chief, Director, Vice-President for Finance, and then President in 1985. Babacar Ndiaye was the first AfDB President to be re-elected to a second term of office.

Under his leadership, the pan-African financial institution obtained its first Triple-A rating in 1984.

The former President was the force behind the increase in the Bank’s capital in 1987, which jumped from approximately US $6 billion to $23 billion, a 200% increase, after approving the process of opening the Bank’s capital to non-African countries. He was also responsible for bringing the Bank into the international financial market.

“Babacar Ndiaye accomplished tremendous things for the AfDB and for Africa. He always advocated for excellence. He made the AfDB a credible and respected institution internationally,” stated Donald Kaberuka, former AfDB President (2005-2015), in a message read on his behalf by Victor Oladokun, AfDB Director for Communication and External Relations.

Builder of institutions

Beyond his complete commitment to the Bank’s success and providing it with a solid foundation, Babacar Ndiaye helped establish major pan-African institutions, such as the African Import-Export Bank, Afreximbank; Shelter Afrique; and the African Business Roundtable. Representatives of these organizations were specially sent from Cairo, Lagos and Nairobi to attend the tribute ceremony on Thursday.

“Without Babacar Ndiaye, African industry leaders such as Aliko Dangote or Michael Ibru would undoubtedly not be where they are today. Babacar Ndiaye invested his faith and perseverance in Africa’s business community. We will be eternally grateful to him,” said Bamanga Tukur, President of the African Business Roundtable.

Christopher Edordu, founding President of Afreximbank, highlighted Ndiaye’s visionary approach, which allowed him to look beyond the era’s Afro-pessimism and embrace opportunities to finance African businesses.

“It took more than six years to establish Afreximbank. When others abandoned it, Babacar Ndiaye persevered and had patience. He firmly believed in the future of African trade at a time when that belief was not widely shared. Seeing what we have become today, we have to recognize the fact that he was a true visionary,” Edordu explained.

It was not the only time that the AfDB’s fifth elected President was proven right when confronted with naysayers. At a time when housing was not yet central to urban development in Africa, he encouraged the creation of Shelter Afrique, an organisation dedicated to financing affordable housing on the continent.

Tribute to Babacar N'DIAYE, 21 September 2017

Tribute to Babacar N’DIAYE, 21 September 2017

According to Edmond Adikpe, Shelter Afrique’s regional representative, “Babacar Ndiaye knew how to anticipate. He understood early on that Africa must address the problem of housing. At Shelter Afrique, we are eternally thankful to him for everything he did during our creation and evolution.”

The room was filled with emotion as one speaker followed another, with the audience warmly applauding their words of praise for Babacar Ndiaye, who remains the only President in AfDB history to have risen through the ranks of the organisation.

“He was installed as President in 1985 at the Abidjan Congress Centre in the presence of then Ivorian President Félix Houphouët-Boigny, who held the African Development Bank in high esteem,” recalled Paul Morisho Yuma, former AfDB Secretary General, drawing a standing ovation from the audience.

“Senegal is proud of you”

Although he devoted his life to Africa, Babacar Ndiaye never forgot Senegal, his country of origin. According to the Senegalese Budget Minister, Birima Mangara, AfDB Governor for Senegal, who flew in from Dakar to attend this ceremony, Ndiaye contributed significantly to the development of bilateral cooperation between his country and the Bank. “Between 1972 and now, the AfDB has invested close to 1,400 billion CFA francs in Senegal. We owe that to all of you here, but in particular to Babacar Ndiaye.

“Senegal is proud of you as a son. Babacar Ndiaye is not gone; he is still present in the depths of Africa. We hear his breath in an Africa on the move,” added the Senegalese Budget Minister, paraphrasing the poet Birago Diop.

 

In attendance, Ndiaye’s widow, Marlyne Ndiaye, nodded her head in agreement, with tears in her eyes. Arriving in Abidjan in 1965, Babacar Ndiaye developed a special relationship with Côte d’Ivoire, home of the Bank’s headquarters. No fewer than three Ivoirian Ministers were present in the AfDB auditorium this week.

“He was a friend of Côte d’Ivoire. We all miss Babacar Ndiaye. President Alassane Ouattara misses him, having known him well and greatly appreciated him. He was a roving ambassador for African development,” agreed François Albert Amichia, Minister of Sports and Leisure, who led the Ivorian Government delegation.

His memory lives on

Alassane Ndiaye, son of the deceased, spoke on behalf of his family. He first thanked the Bank for taking the initiative to hold the ceremony to honour and pay tribute to his father. “The entire family is proud of and thankful for this ceremony. What you have done today touches us deeply and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts,” said the Ndiaye family’s spokesman, in a voice filled with emotion.

He urged those present to pursue the trail blazed by his father.

“He wanted the best for Africa. He believed in and loved the idea of a better Africa. Let’s continue to work for a better future for our continent. That would be the best and most unique way to perpetuate his hopes and his memory,” continued Alassane Ndiaye.

“Replacing darkness with light, well-nourished and healthy children, free flow of goods, people and ideas throughout the continent, and restoring hope to the hopeless – these were the ideals to which President Babacar Ndiaye dedicated his life. The work to realize these dreams continues in the High 5s,” declared AfDB Senior Vice-President Charles Boamah at the ceremony’s conclusion.

Last July, a high-level delegation from the Bank, led by Charles Boamah, along with Vice-Presidents Alberic Kacou and Amadou Hott, Acting Vice-President, Finance, Hassatou N’Sele, and Director of Special Projects Sipho Moyo, attended Babacar Ndiaye’s funeral in Dakar.

During a recent visit to the Senegalese capital, President Adesina visited his predecessor’s home to express his sympathy and support his widow and children.

The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) (www.AfDB.org) is Africa’s premier development finance institution. It comprises three distinct entities: the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF). On the ground in 37 African countries with an external office in Japan, the AfDB contributes to the economic development and the social progress of its 54 regional member states.

*courtesy of AFDB

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Official launch of NEPAD’s 5% Agenda initiative for infrastructure financing in Africa
September 19, 2017 | 0 Comments
Bridging Africa’s $68bn infrastructure finance gap
 Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, NEPAD Chief Executive Officer

Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, NEPAD Chief Executive Officer

NEW YORK, United States of America, September 18, 2017/ — The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) (www.NEPAD.org) – African Union’s economic development programme gathered international investors and CEO-level business leaders at the NASDAQ Stock Market today, 18th September, for the launch of its 5% Agenda campaign.

The launch took place five years after a January 2012 African Union Summit adopted the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) which sets out 51 cross-border infrastructure programmes and more than 400 actionable projects in four sectors.

According to the World Bank, the continent needs to spend $93 billion annually (44% for energy; 23% for water and sanitation; 20% for transport; 10% for ICTs; and 3% for irrigation) until 2020 to bridge its infrastructure gap, which is currently removing an estimated 2% of GDP growth every year. On the other hand, Africa only managed to close 158 project finance deals with debt totalling $59 billion over the decade 2004-2013, which represents only 5 percent of infrastructure investment needs and 12 percent of the actual financial flows.[1]

The 5% Agenda campaign highlights that only a collaborative public-private approach can efficiently tackle these issues and calls for allocations of institutional investors to African infrastructure to be increased to the declared 5% mark.

Speaking at the launch event in New York, Ibrahim Assane Mayaki, NEPAD Chief Executive Officer, commented: “Infrastructure plays a leading role in supporting growth on the continent. At the same time, it can represent an innovative and attractive asset class for institutional investors with long-term liabilities. By launching the 5% campaign in New York today, we invite investors to take advantage of the wide-ranging opportunities Africa has to offer and to move forward with what can only be a win-win partnership”.

The launch of the campaign gathered high-level international investors and business leaders, including members of the PIDA Continental Business Network (CBN) which is spearheaded by NEPAD and constitutes a CEO-level private sector infrastructure leaders dialogue platform on PIDA.

Tony O. Elumelu, one of Africa’s most prominent entrepreneurs and active participant in the CBN said: “Africa is getting stronger every day with new business opportunities and innovative ideas but what is still crucially missing is project implementation. A coherent and coordinated approach is needed to mobilize institutional investors while limiting their risk exposure. African governments need to work on creating conducive environments to attract these investments which are so vital for the continent’s growth and development.”

According to a 2016 McKinsey report, institutional investors and banks have $120 trillion in assets that could partially support infrastructure projects.[2]

Now more than ever, Africa needs to tap into this available. As banks face additional regulatory challenges and as governments have limited fiscal space, it is becoming increasingly urgent to unlock additional flows from long-term institutional investors such as insurers, pension funds, and sovereign wealth funds.

For pension and sovereign wealth funds to be able to invest in large-scale infrastructure projects in Africa, a variety of issues need to be addressed to strategically and intentionally facilitate long-term allocations. Chief amongst these matters is the need to reform national and regional regulatory frameworks that guide institutional investment in Africa. Likewise, new capital market products need to be developed that can effectively de-risk credit and hence, allow these African asset owners to allocate finance to African infrastructure as an investable asset class to their portfolio.

All these issues are at the heart of the 5% Agenda roadmap, which is the backbone of NEPAD’s campaign and is foreseen to have the following impact:

  1. Unlocking notable and measurable pools of needed capital to implement regional and domestic infrastructure projects on the continent.
  2. Broadening and deepening the currently very shallow African capital markets, whilst at the same time contributing significantly to regional integration and job creation.
  3. Promoting the development of innovative capital market products that are specific to the continent’s challenges and potential in regards to infrastructure development.
  4. Raising the investment interest of other institutional and non-institutional financiers that so far have been hesitant to include African infrastructure projects as an asset to their investment portfolio based on specific, concrete next steps and project suggestions.
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Africa50 Gains Guinea and Democratic Republic of Congo as Shareholders; Highlights Strategy and Investment Pipeline
September 13, 2017 | 0 Comments
DAKAR, Senegal,12 September 2017, -/African Media Agency (AMA)/- Africa50, the pan-African infrastructure investment platform, held its third Shareholder Meeting in Dakar on Tuesday, September 12. President Macky Sall of Senegal welcomed the delegates. African Development Bank Group President and Chairman of the Board of Africa50, Akinwumi Adesina, gave a feature address, and Africa50 CEO Alan Ebobisse provided updates on the Fund’s investment pipeline and strategy. They were joined by finance ministers, senior officials, and ambassadors from the 23 shareholder countries and members of the business community.

In his remarks, President Sall expressed his strong support for Africa50’s mission to catalyse private sector investment, from within and outside Africa, in infrastructure in Africa, since public resources are not sufficient. Outlining Senegal’s success, he stressed that governments must improve the business climate and create an environment conducive to private investment in infrastructure, including the regulatory environment for public private partnerships. Stating that “Africa is open for business”, he stressed that the continent has defined its priorities through initiatives such as PISA, and can use Africa50 as an important new instrument. He said, “I encourage all African countries to join this fund, which is ours, to fill our infrastructure funding gap.”

Africa50 Chairman Adesina, reiterated the need for private investment to close the large infrastructure funding gap in Africa, citing growing investor interest. Looking ahead to 2025 and a projected annual funding gap of $30-40 billion, financing African infrastructure will require a balance between development finance, which can fund and de-risk early stage financing, and long-term institutional investment which can quickly narrow the funding gap. Africa50, he said, was designed by the AfDB to help blend public and private finance, and through its project development division, build up the pipeline of “bankable” projects and facilitate public private partnerships. He commended the Africa50 leadership for ramping up operations, hiring top-notch staff and consultants, and naming a respected Investment Committee. The AfDB, he assured the audience, will continue to work closely with Africa50, especially to increase access to power. Chairman Adesina also officially welcomed two new Africa50 shareholders, Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo. (Note: Since the last Shareholders Meeting in July 2016 Tunisia has also joined.)

Thanking Chairman Adesina and President Sall for their presence and support, Africa50 CEO Alain Ebobisse, stressed the importance of the private sector to fill the infrastructure financing gap. He cited three success factors for Africa50’s mission: the strong support of the AfDB and the shareholders, the competence and experience of Africa50’s staff, and the quality of projects, which focus on being commercially viable while having a strong development impact.

In a video presentation that opened the event, Mr. Ebobisse and senior Africa50 staff further outlined Africa50’s comparative advantage for financing infrastructure in Africa. Specifically:
*    Through its close relationship with shareholders and African governments Africa50 can mitigate country risk through high-level public-sector engagement and by leveraging AfDB’s support.
*    Through its project development activities and ongoing dialogues with shareholder governments Africa50 can generate a strong deal flow to attract infrastructure investors.
*    By upholding international best-practice Environmental, Social, and Governance standards, Africa50 can help assure the long-term viability of projects.
*    And, finally, by building an experienced leadership and investment team with a demonstrated track record of successful deal-making on the continent, Africa50 will inspire confidence and catalyse more private investments in infrastructure.

 
Africa50 is an infrastructure investment platform that contributes to the continent’s growth by developing and investing in bankable projects, catalyzing public sector capital, and mobilizing private sector funding, with differentiated financial returns and impact.
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High hopes for cocoa farmers in Africa, as AfDB plans big for producing countries
August 13, 2017 | 0 Comments

Cocoa production in Africa is set to take a turn for the better, as the African Development Bank (AfDB) begin plans to support producers of the crop on the continent.

Among other planned interventions, the Bank is considering support to Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire to reduce the volatility of the international prices of cocoa. Côte d’Ivoire leads the world in the production and export of cocoa.

Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire are now at the final stages of discussions for AfDB support. A final deal is expected to be announced in the days to come.

But following high-level meetings between the governments of both countries and the AfDB President, some key agreements have already been made.

The Bank has agreed to assist the countries to establish a Cocoa Market Stabilization Fund and a Cocoa Exchange Commission for the management of production.

The AfDB has also agreed to work with them to establish a Cocoa Industrialization Fund to further grow the cocoa industry. The Fund will help in developing the regional markets for by-products and domestic processing for targeted African regional markets. The overall objective is to stimulate and expand consumption.

In line with this, the two countries have jointly requested for US $1.2 billion for mutually identified projects: to tackle the cocoa swollen shoot virus disease; build storage and warehousing facilities; promote processing and consumptions; establish the Africa cocoa exchange; and to establish the stabilization fund.

The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, stressed the commitment of the Bank during a three-day visit to Ghana, August 1-3, 2017.

Adesina stressed that although Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire produce 64% of the world’s cocoa, they play no role in controlling the market.

He spoke about the Bank’s plans to support Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire to transform the cocoa industry and create more jobs and wealth from the produce.

“AfDB has received a request for $1.2 billion from Ghana’s Minister of Agriculture and from the Cocoa and Coffee Board of Côte d’Ivoire. We are looking at building warehouses so you can store the cocoa and not have to sell immediately after harvest,” he said.

He said the planned establishment of a stabilization fund is to deal with the volatility of prices and also to recapitalize old cocoa plantations.

Part of the loan will also finance the construction of modern storage facilities, farm rehabilitation and disease control, including compensation to owners of cocoa trees ravaged by swollen-shoot viral disease, Adesina explained.

Ghana has to move to the top of the cocoa value chain by processing and adding value to what it produces, Adesina said. He also noted that Ghana has to work closely with other countries, particularly Côte d’Ivoire, to ensure that Africa plays a greater role in the cocoa production process.

“We must use agriculture to create wealth for our farmers. To do this, we must make sure that we add value and process everything that we produce. Agriculture is not a way of life. Agriculture is a business.”

Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana Cocoa Board (COCOBOD) Joseph Boahen Aidoostressed the need to stimulate local consumption as part of efforts to enhance production. He spoke when the AfDB President visited the Cocoa Processing Company (CPC) in Tema, a city near Accra, Ghana.

Africa consumes very little of cocoa. Ghana is an example of a cocoa-producing country where local consumption is very limited.

“Value addition is the only way we can have a say in the market. As it is now, international prices are determined either at the New York Stock Exchange or the London Stock Exchange. We do not have any say.”

He stressed how the price of cocoa had fallen by 40% in the past six months, dropping from about US $3,000 per ton to an average of about $1,900 per ton.

The only way out of the price volatility, he explained, is to improve upon processing and local production.

Ghana’s Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta, called for support to increase the country’s earnings from the commodity.

“Between us and Côte d’Ivoire, we control 60-70 per cent of cocoa in the world. But we have remained price takers. That should not happen. That is because our leaders have not been working together. We are excited that the President of the AfDB is stepping in to help us. We are now working together to see how we can transform this industry.”

He stressed that both countries should work together to change the cocoa narrative.

Ofori-Atta pointed out that though the cocoa seeds alone generate US $140 billion worth of business, Africa earns very little from it.

“Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire are putting together a package to see how we stabilize and ensure that we get better deals in the future and change the fortunes of our farmers. We should be able to pay our farmers competitive prices,” he noted.

Ghana’s Minister of Agriculture, Owusu Afriyie Akoto, said the government was working on the restoration of existing warehouses to provide storage space to private traders to promote the purchase of produce at the farm gate and he welcomed the AfDB’s help.

Adesina assured of the Bank’s support and promised that support would eventually extend to other cocoa producers such as Nigeria, Cameroon and Togo.

Cocoa is a strategic crop because of its high contribution to Ghana’s export earnings. It is cultivated predominantly by smallholder farmers with an average of 2 hectares per farm. Only 10% of the estimated 800,000 hectares under cultivation are large-scale commercial farmers.

The grinding of cocoa to produce the primary cocoa product used for confectionaries and manufacturing is done outside the country, aside from small-scale domestic grinding including the Cocoa Processing Company, a subsidiary of the COCOABOD.

The cocoa sub-sector is currently adversely affected by policy failure, market failure and under-provision of critical domestic and regional public goods, leading to low and volatile global and farm gate prices. Production is worsened by cocoa swollen shoot virus disease.

Indeed, all the benefits from reforms such as yield increases, are diminished in light of low prices and result in reform measures benefiting consuming countries at the expense of local farmers. Trading and processing activities are dominated by few firms, while the production of the cocoa beans is dominated by many small-scale producers.

Cocoa bean prices are determined in the trade houses (since there are only a few buyers), this creates a favourable condition for traders and processors to influence prices. The attendant effect is low revenue from cocoa farmers.

Governments of both countries have been meeting at the ministerial levels to swiftly act on addressing the volatility in the international price. Issues being discussed include enforcing minimum value addition rather than outright sales of cocoa beans; stimulating/encouraging local and regional consumption of cocoa; and exploring the regional market dimension by promoting cocoa products other than chocolate.

The AfDB is mobilizing experts to undertake an assessment mission in the two countries.

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How AfDB’s investments in youth raise hope for a new Africa
August 13, 2017 | 0 Comments

“The future of Africa’s youth does not lie in migration to Europe; it should not be at the bottom of the Mediterranean; it lies in a prosperous Africa. We must create greater economic opportunities for our youth right at home in Africa.” – Akinwumi Adesina to G7 leaders

Current statistics put Africa’s overall unemployment rate at 8%, while the youth unemployment rate hovers around 13%.

Sixty per cent of unemployed people are young women and men. Of the young people who are employed, many are trapped in low-productivity work in the informal sector. Providing young African people with the education, skills and capacities for gainful employment is considered an urgent priority.

Thanks to the African Development Bank (AfDB), a new crop of highly inspired young Africans are gradually emerging. AfDB’s initiatives in this area are seen as model of how the continent’s young population could become a development asset for a new Africa.

To enable them contribute to the economy and to achieve an improved quality of life, a growing number of youths are embracing small, medium and large agriculture-based industries nudged on by the AfDB.

They are taking hold of their destiny. They can be also found in education, health, ICT and other facets of entrepreneurship.

Indeed, latest statistics reveal that many young Africans are not only exploring their inner potential, they are taking advantage of innovation platforms, inspired by the African Development Bank.

Through initiatives like the Jobs for Youth in Africa (JfYA)Empowering Novel Agri-Business-Led Employment (ENABLE) Youth, and the African Youth Agripreneurs Forum (AYAF), the AfDB is equipping young people with the right skills for business and employment. AfDB has also strengthened its support for science, technology and innovation training by investing in centres of excellence, working in collaboration with the private sector.

With 200 million Africans recorded to be between the ages of 15 and 29, youth unemployment and underemployment are high. Investing in skills through technical and vocational education will be essential to enabling young people to find jobs and business opportunities.

“We will keep Africa’s youth in Africa by expanding economic opportunities. This will help Africa to turn its demographic asset into an economic dividend,” Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group, said.

At the African Union Summit in January, the African Union (AU) adopted the theme for 2017 as “Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in Youth.”

AU Heads of States and Governments recognized a country-level demographic dividend as central to the continent’s economic transformation in the context of AU Agenda 2063 – its global strategy for socioeconomic transformation within the next 50 years.

Given Africa’s current demographic structure with a high youthful population, the regional body sees a substantial potential for economic transformation.

According to the AU Roadmap on Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in Youth, “Africa is on the march towards a more prosperous future in which all its citizens, young, old, male, female, rural, urban, of all creeds and backgrounds are empowered to realize their full potential, live with satisfaction and pride about their continent.”

AfDB is showing that this is doable and is already leading the way.

For instance, through its Jobs for Youth in Africa initiative, AfDB has taken a comprehensive and integrated approach to equipping young people for work and enterprise.

Over the next decade, Jobs for Youth in Africa projects to generate 25 million jobs and impact 50 million youths.

In the agriculture sector, the AfDB is focusing on Empowering Novel Agri-Business-Led Employment (ENABLE) Youth programs, developing small and medium enterprises and creating jobs in agriculture. ENABLE Youth is a programme for young African people (18-35 years old) wanting to start a business in the agricultural sector. It works to promote, enhance, and modernize agricultural entrepreneurship in Africa.

The stories from the ENABLE Youth participants are resounding.

In Uganda (the second largest producer of bananas in the world), Sam Turyatunga saw an opportunity in producing his own brand of banana juice. As a college student, Sam produced the juice in his own dormitory. Supported by AfDB, Turyatunga now produces 1,500 litres of banana juice daily and sells its product in three other countries in East Africa. His firm also supports 500 banana farmers.

At the African University of Science and Technology in Abuja, Nigeria, young scientists and researchers are being trained to enhance industrial innovation, competitiveness and sustainable development across the continent.

“We are integrating a youth employment component into new Bank projects, and are working closely with regional member countries to develop policies that promote youth employment,” said Adesina.

The Bank believes that harnessing the labour, energy and enterprise of young women and men is critical to driving economic growth and reducing poverty.

In line with its Jobs for Youth in Africa Strategy, the Bank is integrating a youth employment component into the design of every operation it undertakes.

The Bank is assisting its regional member countries to develop national youth employment policies, supporting innovative work on best practices to help young people become entrepreneurs, and making investments that catalyze the private sector to increase employment opportunities.

There is a consensus that the 2017 theme on Harnessing the Demographic Dividend through Investments in Youth, has the potential to have far-reaching implications that would address all the key issues that Governments have had to contend with, and change the development trajectory of Africa.

“We must create wealth and restore happiness to our nation. We can only do this when we have an educated and skilled population that is capable of competing in the global economy. We must expand our horizons and embrace science and technology as critical tools for our development,” said Nana Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana.

“The good economic prospects of our country must first profit our youth, because they are our greatest strength and our greatest wealth,” said Alassane Ouattara, President of Côte d’Ivoire.

AfDB’s leadership in this area is considered a viable example, which countries can tap into.

*Source AFDB

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Fitch affirms African Development Bank’s Triple ‘A’ rating with Stable Outlook
August 12, 2017 | 0 Comments

Leading global rating agency Fitch Ratings has affirmed the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at ‘AAA’ with a Stable Outlook and its Short-Term IDR at ‘F1+’ (best quality grade, indicating exceptionally strong capacity to meet its financial commitments).

In a statement released on 4 August, the agency said the ‘AAA’ rating primarily reflects extraordinary support from AfDB’s shareholders which provides a three-notch uplift over the Bank’s intrinsic rating.

“AfDB enjoys strong support from its 80 member states, which include 26 non-African countries with high average ratings. Callable capital subscribed by member states rated ‘AAA’, the largest of which are the US, Germany and Canada, accounts for 21% of the total. This fully covered the Bank’s net debt at end-2016, underpinning the ‘aaa’ assessment of shareholders’ capacity to support,” the statement said.

The report underscores the strong propensity of member states to support the Bank in case of need as illustrated by previous capital increases and the Bank’s important role in the region’s financing.

In the assessment, Fitch maintains that fast growth in AfDB’s lending in the last two years has translated into a rapid increase in its indebtedness, noting that the Bank’s Management has indicated that if there is no clear evidence of a capital increase within the next two years, it will have no choice but to curb lending growth to preserve the Bank’s solvency metrics. The report added that if no capital increase is approved by 2019, debt will not be fully covered by callable capital from ‘AAA’ rated countries, adding that this would place substantial pressure on Fitch’s assessment of extraordinary support and, hence on AfDB’s IDR.

Fitch asserts that the relatively high risk profile of borrowers is mitigated by the preferred creditor status (PCS) that the Bank enjoys on its sovereign exposures.

Fitch assesses AfDB’s liquidity at ‘aaa’, which reflects excellent coverage of short-term debt by liquid assets (2.9x). However, Fitch notes that the share of the portfolio invested in securities or bank placements rated ‘AA-‘ or above (83% in 2016) is declining, although their quality is still assessed at excellent. Fitch understands that management intends to rebalance the treasury assets portfolio in order to increase the proportion of assets rated ‘AA-‘ or above. This would help underpin Fitch’s assessment of the strength of extraordinary support, given the relevance of liquid assets’ quality to the net debt calculation.

“The -1 notch adjustment to AfDB’s solvency stemming from our assessment of its business environment reflects the high risk operating environment in which the bank operates,” the report says, noting that the majority of African countries are classified as low income by the World Bank. The average income per capita and average rating of member states are the lowest of all regional MDBs, and they are subject to an overall high level of political risk.

Commenting on the rating, AfDB Acting Vice-President for Finance, Hassatou Diop N’Sele, said, “We welcome the confirmation of the AfDB’s AAA rating by Fitch, with a stable outlook. The Bank is dedicated to doing the most to make a marked positive difference in the lives of hundreds of millions of Africans, while at the same time preserving its financial integrity. Our High 5agenda is our response to the need to accelerate and scale up Africa’s development to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals of the continent. The High 5 agenda, reflecting five identified priority areas (namely energy, agriculture, industrialization, integration and human capital development), enjoys strong support from our shareholders. The AfDB will continue to maintain a careful balance between maximizing its development effectiveness and assuring complete preservation of the interests of its stakeholders.”

*AFDB

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Mugabe donates $1 million to African Union
July 4, 2017 | 0 Comments
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe arrives at the African Union headquarters during the opening ceremony of the 29th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and the Governments, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia July 3, 2017. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe arrives at the African Union headquarters during the opening ceremony of the 29th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the Heads of State and the Governments, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia July 3, 2017. REUTERS/Tiksa Negeri

HARARE (Reuters) – Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe said on Monday he was donating $1 million to the African Union (AU), hoping to set an example for African countries to finance AU programmes and wean it off funding from outside donors.

For years, about 60 percent of AU spending has been financed by donors including the European Union, World Bank and governments of wealthy non-African countries.

Mugabe, who has held power in Zimbabwe since independence from Britain in 1980, has said reliance on foreign funds allows big powers to interfere in the work of the AU.

The 93-year-old Mugabe told an African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, he had auctioned 300 cattle from his personal herd in May to fulfil a promise made to the continental body two years ago.

“Africa needs to finance its own programmes. Institutions like the AU cannot rely on donor funding as the model is not sustainable,” Mugabe said in comments broadcast on Zimbabwe’s state television.

“This humble gesture on Zimbabwe’s part has no universal application but it demonstrates what is possible when people apply their minds to tasks before them.”

The African Union’s 2017 budget is $782 million, increasing from $416.8 million last year. African leaders in July 2016 agreed in principle to charge a 0.2 percent levy on some exports to help finance AU operations.

Zimbabwe, whose economy was devastated by a drought last year, does not disclose its contributions to the AU. The top five African contributors are Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Nigeria and South Africa.

*Reuters.(Reporting by MacDonald Dzirutwe; Editing by James Macharia and Andrew Roche)

 

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World Food Prize goes to African Development Bank president •June 26, 2017
June 27, 2017 | 0 Comments

By DAVID PITT*

Dr Akinwunmi Adesina

Dr Akinwunmi Adesina

The son of a Nigerian farm laborer who rose out of poverty to earn graduate degrees in agricultural economics and spent his career improving the availability of seed, fertilizer and financing for African farmers is the winner of this year’s World Food Prize announced Monday.

Akinwumi Adesina, president of African Development Bank, says the future of global food security relies on making farming in Africa a profitable business and developing local food processing that adds value to agricultural products to help move farmers out of poverty.

“I believe that what Africa does with agriculture and how it does it is not only important for Africa but it’s important for how we’re going to feed the world by 2050 because 65 percent of all the uncultivated arable land left in the world is in Africa,” he said. “To help Africa get it right in agriculture is also going to be a key part of securing food for the world.”

World Food Prize President Kenneth Quinn, a former U.S. ambassador to Cambodia, said those goals are one reason the organization’s board chose Adesina this year for the $250,000 prize.

An official announcement for the World Food Prize came in a ceremony Monday at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington, with USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue hosting the event. Adesina, 57, works in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, where the African Development Bank is based. He will receive the prize in a ceremony Oct. 19 at the Iowa Capitol.

“Dr. Adesina knows that our work is not done. The challenge of feeding 9 billion people in just a short time will continue as we address the hunger issue,” Perdue said. “At USDA we keep that in mind as the world population grows and we want to be a huge contributor in providing the food needed to resolve and to supply the global demand for that vital noble resource.”

The World Food Prize was created by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Norman Borlaug in 1986 to recognize scientists and others who have improved the quality and availability of food. The foundation that awards the prize is based in Des Moines, Iowa.

The award recognizes several of Adesina’s accomplishments including:

—Negotiating a partnership between commercial banks and development organizations to provide loans to tens of thousands of farmers and agribusinesses in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Ghana and Mozambique.

— Creating programs to make Nigeria self-sufficient in rice production and to help cassava become a major cash crop while serving as Nigeria’s minister of agriculture from 2011 to 2015.

—Helping to end more than 40 years of corruption in the fertilizer and seed sectors in Nigeria by launching an electronic wallet system that directly provides farmers with vouchers redeemable for inputs using mobile phones. The resulting increased farm yields have led to the improvement of food security for 40 million people in rural farm households.

Adesina said it’s vitally important to show young people in rural regions of Africa that farming can be profitable and can improve their lives as a way to stem terrorist recruitment efforts. He said high unemployment among young people, high or extreme poverty, and climate and environmental degradation all contribute to conditions in which terrorists thrive. He said these factors make up “the disaster triangle.”

“Anywhere you find those you find terrorists operating. It never fails,” he said.

Adesina grew up in poverty in a rural area of Nigeria and said his father and grandfather walked fields as laborers. After his father was chosen for a government job, Adesina was able to go to college. He earned agriculture economics degrees — both a master’s and a doctorate — from Purdue University in Indiana.

As a student, he said he saw that classmates were able to attend school when agriculture afforded them the opportunity, but they dropped out when it didn’t. He said from that experience he learned making agriculture profitable so families can provide their children with an education was a key to breaking the cycle of poverty.

He said he often thinks of the hundreds of millions of young, rural African people whose opportunities are limited because of what is happening with agriculture.

“So in a way for me this is not a job,” Adesina said. “This is a mission. And I believe that in getting agriculture to be a business — turning our rural areas from zones of economic misery to zones of economic opportunity — therein lies the future of Africa’s youth, especially those rural youths.”

*AP/ABC News

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Closing Remarks By Akinwumi A. Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group, At the Official Closing Ceremony of the 52nd Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank, May 25, 2017
May 27, 2017 | 0 Comments

The Chief Minister of Gujarat,

Honorable Ministers, Governors of the Bank, Distinguished Guests, Partners, Ladies and Gentlemen.

African Development Bank (ADB) president Akinwumi Adesina addresses a press conference in Ahmedabad, May 20, 2017.(AFP)

African Development Bank (ADB) president Akinwumi Adesina addresses a press conference in Ahmedabad, May 20, 2017.(AFP)

Mr. Chairman, Minister Arun Jaitley, congratulations on successfully shepherding this 52nd Annual Meetings. The way you efficiently chaired all our statutory meetings has been impressive. We are grateful to you and your staff in the Ministry of Finance of India for a job well done!

From the Communiqué it is clear that you have all worked so hard. It is amazing how fast time has gone by. Four days ago we arrived here in Ahmedabad for our 52nd Annual Meetings. It has been a marathon of meetings and deliberations: we have run well, discussed well, and interacted well. From the opening ceremony, the tone was set: we should think big, act bold, and deliver faster development for Africa. Prime Minister Modi showed us in his speech that there’s nothing that can be called impossible.

From this same ground that honors the memory of Mahatma Gandhi, we must take with us his words “be the change you want to see”. For the change we want to see in Africa lies with us. Upon us lies the responsibility to rise to the occasion of giving Africa a new history: by lighting up Africa, feeding Africa, industrializing Africa, integrating Africa, and improving the quality of life of the people of Africa.

The Annual Meetings’ focus on transforming agriculture to create wealth has sparked political leaders, young people, researchers, private sector, bankers, and of course you, the Ministers of Finance, and Governors of the Bank, as well as the Central Bank Governors who came, to take agriculture as a business.

This Annual Meeting has also been a huge success in several other ways. We were not bothered by the heat, we simply generated cool ideas. We have not just focused on economics and finance, we brought in other voices.

I was excited at the cultural night yesterday to meet Nollywood and Bollywood actors and actresses who told me they will now focus on movies that will help change the perception of agriculture, for young people. That is one of the successes I am taking home.

And the coolest person around was Prime Minister Modi. His presence, participation and support for these Annual Meetings in Ahmedabad made it such a great success. We had two African Heads of State, from the Republics of Benin, and Senegal, a Former Head of State of Ghana, and the Vice-President of Côte d’Ivoire. Their presence sent a very strong signal that African leaders back the African Development Bank. And that is because the African Development Bank is Africa’s trusted Bank of choice.

You, the Governors of the Bank made all the difference. The Meetings are your Meetings: for you to see the African Development Bank at work, working for the greater good and benefits of the people of Africa. You saw the impacts of our High 5s in Africa. Not just in terms of money we lent to countries or the private sector, but in terms of real people-level impacts.

We measured those impacts, not as numbers, but as lives transformed. You saw some of those stories yesterday as we celebrated countries and governors from Morocco, Mauritania, Ghana, Somalia and Tanzania at the “Africa Development Impact Awards” – our own Oscars for development.

But the best awards go to you all for coming to our Annual Meetings. Your contributions, engagements, ideas, and suggestions will help us to become even better in what we do.

The Government of India deserves a big High 5: the organizations of the events were excellent. We are grateful for the great work of the Chief Minister of Gujarat and members of the Government of the State of Gujarat. The people who did the setting up; the electrical folks who worked late nights; the protocols and security who ensured our safety at all times, even late at nights; the media who told our stories; the wonderful cooks who fed us so well.

To Prime Minister Modi, a very big thank you for hosting us and honoring us with your presence and for your very warm words: let us make history together for Africa.

To all my staff at the African Development Bank, who worked tirelessly, thank you so much. To Nnenna Nwabufo, Célestin Monga and Vincent Nmehielle, you made it all happen and thank you so much. To the translators, who worked tirelessly, sitting unseen in their cubicles, you made it so seamless for us to conduct our business, and understand each other – thank you.

Above all, I am thankful to you, our Governors and Executive Directors who continue to give us support in our work and for our mission. In my town hall discussion with you, our Governors, yesterday, you voted an overwhelming 97% that there is need for urgent actions to finance the High 5s. No doubt, boosting the Bank’s general capital along with all other measures to optimize our balance sheet, will help us with more equity to leverage more to get the job done. We work so hard to earn your trust and you can trust us that we will continue to deliver more, better, and faster for Africa, with additional capital resources.

As a Bank let me assure you we will continue to be fit for purpose. The achievements we have had so far, in just under two years, on the High 5s and our reforms, show that we are moving in the right direction and solidifying the income, efficiency, effectiveness and development impacts of the Bank. Yet the road is still long to achieve our goals, but we are determined, with your support, to stay for the long haul. We hope you are leaving more inspired about the Bank; and ask that you, as Governors, be our strong advocates and champions for accelerating financing for the High 5s.

Let us continue to be optimistic for Africa and let us continue to be optimistic about the capacity of this Bank to deliver. At the Bank, we believe Africa can and will achieve the High 5s. But we must always be forward looking and raise the bar on our ambitions for financing Africa to address its challenges and unlock its opportunities.

What we need is “bold optimism”: optimism backed by greater financial resources. That is the kind of optimism that made Warren Buffet give $30 billion to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2006, to do more for the world. Melinda Gates, writing ten years later to Warren Buffet, said: “optimism isn’t a belief that things will automatically get better, it is a conviction that we can make things better….Your success didn’t create your optimism. Your optimism led to your success”.

So, let “bold optimism” from this Annual Meeting in India bubble and inspire us to accelerate financing, urgently, for the High 5s for Africa.

And let that “bold optimism” be fully concretized and solidified by the time we meet in Korea next year for the 2018 Annual Meetings.

I congratulate Korea for being the host country for next year’s Annual Meetings. I look forward to seeing you all next year in the beautiful city of Busan for our 53rd Annual Meetings.

Until then, safe travels back home – and, as you go, here is a High 5 for you all!

Thank you very much.

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Africa and India – Sharing the Development Journey
May 20, 2017 | 0 Comments

Photo: Mohamed Mambo/Daily News Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his host, President John Magufuli, acknowledge cheers from a section of Dar es Salaam residents who turned up at the State House grounds in the city.

Photo: Mohamed Mambo/Daily News
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his host, President John Magufuli, acknowledge cheers from a section of Dar es Salaam residents who turned up at the State House grounds in the city.

Abidjan — Africa, like India, is a continent of rich and compelling diversity. Both continents share a similar landscape, a shared colonial history, and similar economic and demographic challenges. This helps both India and Africa work especially well with each other.

This cooperation is both a mutual privilege and priority. At the end of the 2015 India-Africa Forum Summit, Indian Prime Minister Modi announced very substantial credits and grant assistance which benefitted our relationship. In addition to an India-Africa Development Fund, an India-Africa Health Fund and 50,000 scholarships for African students in India were established.

India’s bilateral trade with Africa has risen five-fold in the last decade, from $11.9 billion in 2005-6 to $56.7 billion in 2015-16. It is expected to reach $100 billion by 2018. This is attributed largely to initiatives by India’s private sector, and here again we are on the same wave length. We understand and appreciate that the private sector will be the critical element in Africa’s transformation.

African countries are targeted by Indian investors due to their high-growth markets and mineral rich reserves. India is the fifth largest country investing in Africa, with investments over the past 20 years amounting to $54 billion, 19.2% of all its total Foreign Direct Investment.

 At the same time a transformed Africa is taking shape. Despite a tough global economic environment, African countries continue to be resilient. Their economies, on average, grew by 2.2% in 2016, and are expected to rise to 3.4% this year. But the average does not tell the true picture. Indeed, 14 African countries grew by over 5% in 2016 and 18 countries grew between 3-5%. That’s a remarkable performance in a period when the global environment has been impeded by recession.

By 2050, Africa will have roughly the same population as China and India combined today, with high consumer demand from a growing middle class and nearly a billion ambitious and hard-working young people. The cities will be booming, as the populations (and economic expectations) rise exponentially around the continent.

This is the busy and bustling future that Africa and India must shape together in a strategic partnership. And nowhere is this partnership more needed than on the issue of infrastructure.

At the top of the list is power and electricity. Some 645 million Africans do not have access to electricity. It’s why the African Development Bank launched the New Deal on Energy for Africa in 2016. Our goal is to help achieve universal access to electricity within ten years. We will invest $12 billion in the energy sector over the next five years and leverage $45-50 billion from the private sector. We plan to connect 130 million people to the grid system, 75 million people through off grid systems and provide 150 million people with access to clean cooking energy.

The African Development Bank is also in the vanguard of renewable energy development and the remarkable “off-grid revolution” in Africa. We host the Africa Renewable Energy Initiative, jointly developed with the African Union, which has already attracted $10 billion in investment commitments from G7 countries.

Universal access requires large financial investments. By some estimates, Africa needs $43-$55 billion per year until the 2030s, compared to current energy investments of about $8-$9.2 billion.

 We must close this gap. And to do so, the mobilization of domestic resources will play a major role. Pension funds in Africa will reach $1.3 trillion by 2025. Already tax revenues have exceeded $500 billion per year. Sovereign wealth funds in Africa stand at $164 billion.

To attract significant investment by institutional investors, infrastructure should become an asset class. The African Development Bank has launched Africa50, a new infrastructure entity, now capitalized by African countries at over $865 million, to help accelerate infrastructure project development and project finance. Also, later this year, the African Development Bank will be launching the ‘Africa Investment Forum’ to leverage African and global pension and sovereign wealth funds into investments in Africa.

Moreover, the African business environment keeps improving, with easier regulations and more conducive government policies to attract the global investors. In 2015, Africa alone accounted for more than 30% of the business regulatory reforms in the world.

The fact is, we have already started to transform Africa. This is the territory of the High 5s: Light up and Power Africa; Feed Africa; Industrialize Africa; Integrate Africa; and Improve the Quality of life of Africans.

We can forge winning partnerships investing in power generation, energy, agro-aligned industrialisation and food processing. In doing so we can work on the synergies that exist between infrastructure, regional integration, the regulation of enterprises, employment, health and innovation.

In each of these areas I see the prospect for cooperation and collaboration with Indian partners. For example, we are partnering with the EXIM Bank of India and others to establish the Kukuza, a company based in Mauritius, to help develop and support public-private partnership (PPP) infrastructure project development and finance.

India is already one of the top bidders for Bank projects. This is a reflection of its immense expertise in a diverse range of areas from engineering to education; from ICT to railway development; skills development to regional integration; and from manufacturing to industrialisation.

It is our pleasure to partner with such an inveterate and committed investor in Africa. And may this investment be lucrative and justified, and may our mutual interest and cooperation continue for many years to come.

*Allafrica.Dr Akinwumi Adesina is President of the African Development Bank. The 2017 AfDB Annual Meetings will be held in Ahmedabad, India, 22-26 May.

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Koffi Klousseh appointed Director of Project Development for Africa50
May 4, 2017 | 0 Comments
Koffi Klousseh

Koffi Klousseh

Casablanca, 2 May 2017 – Africa50, the pan-African infrastructure investment platform has announced the appointment of Koffi Klousseh as Director of Project Development.

“The appointment of Koffi Klousseh marks another important step in Africa50’s mission to facilitate infrastructure development in Africa,” said Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Africa50. “His experience and expertise in infrastructure project development, combined with his strong leadership skills, will help Africa50 increase the pipeline of bankable projects ready to be financed.”

A citizen of Togo, Klousseh is a recognized expert in infrastructure development, with a solid track record in structuring and financing private, and public-private projects in Africa and other emerging markets.

Prior to joining Africa50, Klousseh served as Regional Lead for the World Bank Group’s Global Infrastructure Project Development Fund (“IFC InfraVentures”), where he contributed to creating and executing a pipeline of early stage transactions in the conventional and renewable power sectors. He was also a Principal Investment Officer in the Africa Infrastructure Department of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), leading a team of professionals in executing transactions in the power, water and transport sectors across East Africa.

Prior to joining IFC in 2010, Klousseh held several positions in the financial services industry, including Vice President at Helios Investment Partners, a London-based private equity firm.

Klousseh holds a Master of Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School and a Master of Finance from the George Washington University.

“I am pleased to join Africa50, which has the challenging but exciting mission of supporting the development and financing of infrastructure in Africa,” said Klousseh. “I am convinced that this unique institution, with the sponsorship of governments and other public sector stakeholders such as the African Development Bank, will leverage private sector participation to deliver infrastructure projects more efficiently.”

“I am delighted to welcome Koffi,” added Africa50 CEO Alain Ebobissé, “his in-depth knowledge of developing infrastructure projects from their earliest stages will be a great asset as we speed up infrastructure delivery in Africa.”

 

About Africa50

Africa50 is an infrastructure fund owned by African governments, the African Development Bank, and institutional investors.  Its mission is to mobilize long term savings from within and outside Africa and private sector funding to promote infrastructure development in Africa.

*AFDB

 

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African Development Bank is delivering for Africa: Adesina
April 22, 2017 | 0 Comments
Adesina

Adesina

Washington, DC,– In an impassioned speech delivered at the Center for Global Development in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, April 19, African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina spoke about Africa’s enormous potential, and the Bank’s ambitious development agenda, which he said was well underway.

The Washington think tank was an apt venue for Adesina to take stock of his first 19 months in office. Two years earlier, on April 16, 2015, the then Nigerian Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development participated in a debate in that same room with other candidates vying for the AfDB Presidency ahead of the Bank’s Presidential elections in May 2015.

“Africa was in the limelight for a very good reason,” Adesina said ahead of a panel discussion on “The Challenge and Logic of Greater Financing for Africa” on the sidelines of the World Bank-IMF Spring Meetings. “The African Development Bank set the leadership tone for all MDBs for the transparency in electing its President through an open and competitive process,” he added, referring to the Bank’s live-tweeting of the election results.

Two years on, Adesina told the packed room that the vision he outlined in his inaugural speech, the five development priorities known as the High 5s, are being rolled out across the continent.

“Our vision for Africa at the Bank is encapsulated in the High 5s: Light up and power Africa; Feed Africa; Industrialize Africa; Integrate Africa; and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa,” Adesina said, enumerating an impressive list of initiatives the Bank is undertaking.

“We launched the New Deal on Energy for Africa, with a commitment of $12 billion from the Bank over the next five years, with the goal of leveraging $45-50 billion. Our goal is connect 130 million people to the grid, 75 million via off grids and provide some 150 million with clean cooking energy.

“We’ve set up a whole new Vice Presidency just for Power and Energy: the first and only Multilateral Development Bank to do so. Last year, we financed $1.7 billion in the power sector across 19 countries, and will increase this to $2 billion this year, leveraging $5-7 billion. We’ve launched a $500 million Fund for Energy Inclusion with $100 million seed capital, to provide affordable finance for companies investing in renewable energy.

“Just as electricity powers an economy, so does food provide energy for people. Africa’s annual food import bill of $35 billion, estimated to rise to $110 billion by 2025, weakens African economies, decimates its agriculture and exports jobs from the continent,” Adesina said, noting that $35 billion is just about what the continent needs to close its power deficit.

“To rapidly support Africa to diversify its economies, and revive its rural areas, we have prioritized agriculture,” he continued. “The Bank has committed $24 billion towards agriculture in the next 10 years, with a sharp focus on food self-sufficiency and agricultural industrialization. The recent drought and famine facing some countries (South Sudan, Somalia, Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia and Uganda) deserve swift action, as 20 million face food insecurity and severe malnutrition. The Bank is taking action and is planning to deploy $1.1 billion, following Board approval, to address the crisis and ensure that drought does not lead to famine.

“We’re taking action to level the playing field for women in Africa. That’s why we launched the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) with the goal of mobilizing $3 billion for women entrepreneurs.

“We’ve taken on the biggest social issue facing Africa today: the high youth unemployment rates. Today, a third of Africa’s 230 million youths (about 20% of the global youth population) are unemployed or discouraged, another 1/3 are in vulnerable employment largely in the informal sector while only 1/6 are in wage employment.”

To tackle that problem, the AfDB has launched the Empowering Novel Agri-Business-Led Employment (ENABLE) Youth initiative for young ‘Agripreneurs’ in several countries, including Nigeria and Sudan. It has also partnered with the European Investment Bank to launch the Boost Africa initiative for young innovative entrepreneurs, and is investing in training for young people in science, technology and math to prepare them for the jobs of the future.

“Our vision for Africa is clear,” said Adesina as he outlining some of the institution’s successes in 2016:

  • 3.3 million Africans benefitted from new electricity connections;
  • 3.7 million Africans benefited from improved access to water and sanitation;
  • 5.7 million Africans benefitted from improvements to agriculture;
  • 9.3 million Africans benefitted from access to better health care services;
  • 7 million Africans benefitted from improved access to transport.

 

“The African Development Bank is delivering for Africa and it has the capacity to deliver more for Africa,” Adesina said. “It now needs substantial financing wind behind its sails. It’s time for speedy financing actions to accelerate Africa’s development.”

Read full Speech here

*AFDB

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