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Gearing up for the grand finale of AfDB’s 50th Anniversary
August 21, 2014 | 0 Comments

indexThe African Development Bank (AfDB) marks its Golden Jubilee this year. The grand finale of the year-long celebrations is scheduled to take place November 4, 2014 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

The Bank’s 50th Anniversary coincides with the development finance institution’s return to its headquarters in Abidjan, after over a decade of relocation to Tunis, and gives the celebrations a double significance. As it looks back on the past 50 years, the African Development Bank has much to celebrate. Since its inception it has marked four milestone celebrations. It was in November 1964, that the Bank held its first Board of Governors’ Meeting in Lagos, Nigeria. That was barely four years after most of the founding nations had attained their political independence. Today, worthy tributes are paid to the founding fathers for their vision for United Africa. Monrovia, Tunis, Khartoum all played important roles in the establishment of AfDB, but the Bank’s existence officially commenced with the inaugural Board of Governors meeting in Lagos in November 1964. The Agreement establishing the African Development Bank was actually signed on August 4, 1963 in Khartoum by the Finance Ministers of the then 23 independent African countries. Fifty years on, and from a very modest beginning, the Bank has grown in stature and maturity, in brand and credibility and its achievements as the continent’s largest financial institution have gone beyond African borders. The 50 years of the Bank’s continuity has become synonymous with 50 years of sustainability and Africa’s economic resilience.   When the Bank marked its 10th Anniversary celebrations in 1974 in Rabat, Morocco, the Bank’s cumulative commitment was barely US $125 million. But there was hope for renewal that year, with decisions relating to the second capital increase and the kick-off of African Development Fund (ADF) operations. The Bank’s 20th Anniversary in Abidjan in 1984 was closely followed by the 25th Anniversary, or the Silver Jubilee, in Abuja in 1989. While the 10th Anniversary celebration saw a Bank in its infancy, the 1984 and 1989 events represented, according to one Bank economist, the take-off stage of the institution. In May 1983, in Nairobi, Kenya, 17 non-regional countries attended their first AfDB Group Annual Meetings as full members. In fact, as a result of the admission of non-regional membership, the Bank’s authorized capital had increased from US $2.5 billion over the preceding 20 years, to US $6.3 billion by the 20th Anniversary. Barely four years later in Cairo, Egypt, in 1987, the Bank had successfully concluded a 200% increase and, by its 25th Anniversary in Abuja Nigeria, the Bank’s attention turned to the Committee of Ten, a group of eminent persons reflecting on the future of the Bank. The Golden Jubilee is therefore a one-of-a-kind celebration. It is not a Silver Jubilee nor is it an Annual Board of Governors Meeting. Rather, the Golden Jubilee is a rare celebration of the African Development Bank’s past, present and future. In 2014, the Bank’s Golden Jubilee provides all stakeholders and friends of the Bank an opportunity to look back with satisfaction through the landmark moments of its past 50 years and to look ahead to the future of the institution and its role in the development of the African continent. Related:AfDB at 50: Paving the way to Africa’s economic and social transformation *AFDB

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$210 million response: AfDB steps up efforts to curb Ebola outbreak in West Africa
August 21, 2014 | 1 Comments

AfDB President Donald Kaberuka AfDB President Donald Kaberuka[/caption] The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) on Monday, August 18 in Abidjan, approved a US $60 million grant investment as part of a $210 million package for immediate implementation to help strengthen West Africa’s public health systems in response to the Ebola crisis. The Bank’s Board, traditionally in recess during the month of August, convened an emergency meeting demonstrating the urgency of the situation and the Bank’s commitment to curb this global public health emergency. With over 2,000 cases and 1,145 people confirmed dead, this is a wakeup call for the international community that this tragedy could have been prevented if investments were directed towards building stronger health systems. The disease outbreak originated in Guinea in March 2014 and rapidly spread to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Nigeria. “This is one of the most complicated health crises we have ever known. We are not simply dealing with a health problem but with the breakdown of entire health systems in some of the countries in the (West Africa) region,” AfDB President Donald Kaberuka told Executive Directors in Abidjan who participated in the Board meeting through video and telephone link-ups. This grant is part of a $210 million package which includes $150 million in both loans and grants, along with the $60 million grant, which has been awarded to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) sub-regional Ebola Outbreak Coordinating Center located in Conakry, Guinea, given their extensive experience with global epidemics. The $60 million sum includes four emergency assistance grants of $1 million to each of the four countries affected by Ebola to help them contain the disease. The projects will support ongoing efforts to reduce morbidity, mortality from Ebola and help break the chain of transmission of the disease by strengthening sub-regional public health systems. It will support West Africa’s Ebola disease outbreak response plan from August to December 2014. In the long term (2015-2017) the Bank’s assistance will support overall strengthening of public health systems in West African countries to facilitate early detection and response to potential threats arising from epidemic and pandemic prone diseases. The proposed project critically seeks to respond to the specific needs identified by the expert community in response to this category 3 world emergency epidemic. Board members commended the speed with which the Bank designed the project. They emphasized the need for close monitoring and follow-up mechanisms for effective implementation. The Bank’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Nelly Iteba, said current figures on the impact of the disease may not adequately capture the scale of the epidemic in the West African region considering the difficulty encountered by health officials in collecting data in such a huge crisis situation. She said the Bank had taken adequate measures to protect its staff and commended the Ivorian Government for the effective measures put in place to protect people from infection. Against all odds (high fatality rate and no tested vaccine), the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) can be managed with strict adherence to standard infection control practices, basic medical equipment, and necessary medications. For instance, availability of sterilization equipment, intravenous fluids, blood transfusions, antibiotics, ventilators, powerful vasoactive medications can improve patient care and save lives. Also, skilled health professionals equipped with personal protective equipment can make all the difference in containing the spread of EVD and the availability of modern diagnostic equipment can help health workers with early detection and case management. “Failure to contain the spread of Ebola is an example of the failure of health systems in Africa, not just the lethal nature of the disease”,said Dr. Agnes Soucat, Director for Human Development at the African Development Bank.“This is why we are investing in mobile technology deployment (m-health) and building human resources for health.” As such, the AfDB will focus its efforts on strengthening public health systems which include building human resource capacity; epidemic preparedness and response; m-health and strengthening governance and regional institutions. The AfDB’s project will be coordinated by the WHO sub-regional Ebola Outbreak Coordinating Center, based in Conakry, along with the West African Health Organization (WAHO). A joint memorandum will be signed between the Bank, WHO and WAHO regional organization representing the Governments of Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Guinea Bissau, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria, Togo, Benin, Mali, Senegal and Gambia for intervention practices and management procedures. In May, the Bank provided more than US $3 million in response to a call by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to fight Ebola in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone and neighbouring countries. The AfDB Board also approved Guinea’s 2012-2016 Country Strategy Paper (CSP) as well as an addendum on the country’s eligibility to benefit from the Bank’s Transition Support Facility Resources provided under the 13th replenishment of the African Development Fund (ADF), the Bank Group’s concessional support window. *AFDB  ]]>

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Climate change puts decades of development at risk in Africa: Continent needs market and financial mechanisms fit for purpose
July 8, 2014 | 0 Comments

index.jpg 1Climate change threatens to undo decades of earnest effort to develop Africa unless sufficient investment can be mobilized to spur sustainable development and make the continent more resilient.  This was the message delivered at the 6th Africa Carbon Forum held July 2-4 to about 400 participants who gathered to share and learn the latest about market and financial opportunities associated with the international response to climate change  The forum was opened by the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources of Namibia, Uaheka Herunga, who stressed that the question now is not whether carbon markets will continue, but how they can be improved, and whether new mechanisms should be developed. In the context of the 2015 Paris agreement, the Minister urged participants to “send a strong message to governments around the world that the carbon market can make an important contribution to the objective of managing the challenge posed by climate change.”  “Climate change will force a steep ramping up of investment in Africa from both public and private sources to move the continent along a clean, secure, low-carbon path to development,” said Hugh Sealy, Chair of the Executive Board of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). “It’s crucial that the market and funding mechanisms on offer are right for Africa, and likewise that African governments provide a welcoming, reliable environment for investment.”  Countries are committed to crafting a comprehensive climate change agreement by the end of 2015 in Paris, to take effect in 2020. A big part of any agreement will have to address ways to mobilize the estimated USD 100 billion annually needed to mitigate climate change and adapt to its inevitable effects.  “The private sector and governments in Africa need to speak up now, loud and clear, to make sure an effective, ambitious agreement is reached in Paris, and to make sure that the market and funding instruments now taking shape are fit for Africa’s purpose,” said Dr. Sealy.  “The ACF provided a platform to assess both the challenges and the opportunities for mobilizing climate finance on the continent. We know that private sector investment in climate action is vital for transformational impact; and this is why the AfDB with its development partners is strongly committed to promoting investment along with improving the enabling environment for enhanced private sector engagement on the continent,” said Kurt Lonsway, Manager of the AfDB Environment and Climate Change Division. The AfDB has been a co-organizer of the ACF since the creation of the forum.  In addition to the CDM, participants in this year’s event considered a range of ways that countries and multilateral development banks intend to target their climate change investments, such as through approved Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions and through funds like the World Bank’s Carbon Initiative for Development, which uses the CDM’s monitoring, reporting and verification features to ensure results from energy-access projects in least developed countries.  The Africa Carbon Forum, which was preceded by a two-day training session of African CDM designated national authorities, was organized under the umbrella of the Nairobi Framework. Launched in 2006 by then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the Nairobi Framework aims to assist developing countries, especially those in Sub-Saharan Africa, to improve their level of participation in the CDM.  The Framework partners are the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) along with the UNEP Risø Centre, the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank and the African Development Bank (AfDB).  Quotes from partners: What the co-hosts say about Climate Finance in Africa  “Africa deserves to go down a clean, low-emitting path to development, one that delivers a good and healthy quality of life for the continent’s people. I think the carbon market and market-based tools like the Clean Development Mechanism have begun to show the great potential that market approaches and the evolving financial instruments can unleash.” – John Kilani, Director, Sustainable Development Mechanisms Programme, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Secretariat  “Swift climate action is vital to avoid the worst effects of climate change. Countries in Africa see these destructive effects on their economies every day, threatening to roll back progress. As Africa grows, so it needs to grow clean and build lasting jobs. We won’t see the necessary investments in clean technologies without a robust price on carbon. This helps drive investments away from fossil fuels and towards lower carbon energy and transport solutions, and climate-smart agriculture. That’s why we are encouraging governments and companies to introduce a price on carbon.” – Rachel Kyte, World Bank Group Vice-President and Special Envoy for Climate Change  “Again this year the Africa Carbon Forum has shown itself to be the place to be to discuss climate finance and mitigation opportunities on the continent. The last days have clearly shown that there is a deep-felt wish to embark on a low-carbon development path. Further, the ACF also reveals that the international community must build on the success of current financial instruments, institutional experiences and national capacities to create new and successful financial instruments, ones that will benefit the continent further and promote sustainable, low-carbon development through nationally prioritized mitigation actions.” – John Christensen, Head of UNEP DTU, formerly UNEP Risø Centre   “As governments prepare for the Paris Climate Summit in 2015, the Africa Carbon Forum in Windhoek took stock of the important new developments in carbon markets and climate finance – and what they mean for Africa. Businesses, government and financial institutions explored how to leverage private investment with innovative models that blend voluntary markets, climate financing structures and CDM. It was encouraging to see a strong interest in continuing the progress of carbon market solutions for Africa.” – Dirk Forrister, President and CEO of IETA    ]]>

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One billion people, one billion opportunities: AfDB approves its first Human Capital Strategy
May 30, 2014 | 0 Comments

Education-gallery-29-5-2014The Board of Executive Directors of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) approved on May 28, 2014 in Tunis the AfDB’s first Human Capital Strategy (HCS). The strategy paves the way for Bank investments in areas such as education, skills development,health, science, technology, innovation, social protection, safety nets and youthemployment. Investing in one billion people in Africa is at the heart of this four-year strategy. This vision is to build skills and make the most efficient use of new technologies to improve competitiveness and create jobs. As the operational framework for the Bank’s newly approved ten-year strategy, the HCS will serve as backbone to support the Bank’s investments in all sectors of development. “One billion people, one billion opportunities: Building Human Capital in Africa” is the result of a broad based consultation within and outside the Bank involving governments,private sector, NGOs, academia, and civil society. While Africa is on the rise, the continent is faced with challenges of rapid economic growth, poverty, inequality and striking disadvantages for youth and women. Overcoming major problems such as low quality education, skills mismatch, poor service delivery, low productivity in the informal sector, unemployment and underemployment is critical to growth. “This strategy signals the African Development Bank’s commitment to invest in Africa’s greatest asset – its people. Without quick and decisive action to invest in human capital, African countries risk depriving a generation from opportunities to develop their potential, escape poverty and support the continent on a path of inclusive growth and economic transformation”, said Dr. Agnes Soucat, AfDB’s Director for Human Development. As part of the HCS, the Bank proposes a New Education Model in Africa (NEMA) which presents a radical shift from the brick and mortar approach to education to a model that supports critical thinking, the application of cutting-edge education technologies, and public-private partnerships (PPPs). “The HCS operationally consolidates and scales up the Bank’s interventions in building human capital in Africa. The success of the strategy rests in its implementation”, said Mr. Emmanuel-Ebot Mbi, AfDB’s first Vice President & Chief Operating Officer who chaired the Board of Executive Directors. *AFDB]]>

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Tracking AfDB’s footprint in Africa’s development:over 4,501 projects amounting to US $118.7 billion from 1967 to 2013
May 27, 2014 | 0 Comments

 download (2)The African Development Bank Group’s 2014 Annual Meetings provides an opportunity to trace the institution’s development journey in line with the meetings theme: “The Next 50 Years: The Africa We Want.” The financial presentation of the Bank’s operations provided a fertile ground to assess its accomplishment and envision the way forward. In the joint presentation to hundreds of participants, the Bank’s Finance Vice-President, Charles Boamah, and Treasury Director, Pierre Van Peteghem, described a Bank that has grown from a few thousand dollars and less than a dozen staff to a multilateral development institution whose footprints are unmistakable in the nooks and crannies of its 54 member states. According to the report, the Bank has approved over 4,501 projects amounting to US $118.7 billion from 1967 when it commenced operations to the end of 2013. Infrastructure development, Africa’s Achilles’ heel, accounted for the largest share of the commitments with 1,404 projects worth US $45,455 million followed by 550 Multisector projects estimated at US $17,212 million. Some 498 “Other approvals” (Include HIPC Debt Relief, Equity Participation, Guarantee, Loan Reallocations, Post Conflict Country Facility and Special Fund for Water) account for US $14,512 million. The environment had 22 projects worth US $365 million compared to 681 social projects worth US $10,251 million; 285 Finance projects estimated at US $13,013 million; 910 Agriculture & rural development projects worth US $13,001 million; 148 Industry, mining, and quarrying projects worth US $4,875 million, and three urban development projects estimated at $4.4 million. Experts say more than the amount of resources committed, the multiple sectors covered is a clear demonstration of the Bank’s ambition to accompany its regional member countries. However, the year 2009 stands out as one of the Bank’s finest moment when it implemented the innovative counter cyclical resource mobilization mechanism to rescue countries that were negatively affected by the crisis. In line with the Ten-Year Strategy, the Bank has launched a massive infrastructure development programme to the tune of US $1.8 billion in transport, US $3.2 billion approved for infrastructure in 2013 alone;  US $882 million in energy; US $462 million in water and US $54 million in communications. Thus, AfDB which has emerged as the largest external financier for infrastructure in Africa took the business to the next level with the establishment of the Africa50 Fund to deliver infrastructure through a new global partnership platform championing projects that tackle Africa’s infrastructure deficit. The Fund which aims to mobilise up to US $100 billion in the first instance, can be a game changer in Africa’s quest for development. These accomplishments have helped to advertise the Bank, to consolidate its triple “A” ratings as well as bolster its attractiveness to potential new members. South Sudan and Turkey joined recently, while Luxemburg is on course to come on board. In addition to the many trust funds set up by member countries within the Bank, South Africa, Angola, Libya and Lesotho have joined the African Development Fund, the concessional window of the group, thereby boosting its development resources.]]>

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Africa should focus on getting things done to mitigate investment risks: Kaberuka
May 25, 2014 | 0 Comments

imagesThe President of the African Development Bank, Donald Kaberuka, has said that for Africa to reduce the perception of risk in infrastructure investment, much focus is needed to get things done and move to another level of development. He was speaking on Tuesday, May 20 during a high level panel titled ”Reducing Perceived Riskiness of Investing in Africa’s Infrastructure” at the Bank’s 49th Annual Meetings in the Rwandan capital, Kigali. “African assets have been undervalued because Africa’s risk has been exaggerated, thus that seems to be changing and I think the financial crisis has accelerated the change. All we have to do is to fight and mitigate the risk,” Kaberuka noted. The AfDB President highlighted some of the infrastructure projects the Bank is financing, saying that it is time to focus on commercially viable projects that are already in place. “Instead of focusing on what is not working, why we don’t focus on how to make things work? We should spend more time showing things that are happening in Africa,” Kaberuka emphasised. He explained that AfDB created a vehicle for funding African infrastructure called ‘Africa50’ which sets a platform for the next 50 years in African development to increase the rate of infrastructure delivery in Africa. In 2012, African Heads of States in their Declaration on the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) called for innovative solutions to facilitate and accelerate infrastructure delivery in Africa. In response, and after broad consultations with African stakeholders, AfDB proposed the establishment of a new delivery vehicle called Africa50. Africa50 is the result of experience and innovation. The vehicle aims at mobilizing private financing to accelerate the speed of infrastructure delivery in Africa, thereby creating a new platform for Africa’s growth. Africa50 will focus on high-impact national and regional projects in the energy, transport, ICT and water sectors. “This Africa50 is open to African investors and it will be an African-driven and -owned vehicle, but open to foreign investors. We are looking for transformative projects which are priority to Africa. They should be commercially viable, make sense and give a good return,” he noted. Africa50 is to be structured as a development-oriented yet commercially operated entity. It will be complementary to and legally independent of existing development finance bodies in Africa. At the event, panelists discussed ways to reduce the perception of risk in Africa and responded to a wide range of questions from the audience regarding the matter. According to Makhtar Diop, Vice-President, World Bank Africa Region, there are many things happening in Africa that are changing the perception of risk. The main important thing is to accelerate investment in Africa and this will be done by telling real and specific stories that are changing the continent for the better,” he said. Diop noted that there is a perception of investment risk in Africa by foreign direct investors and it’s time for the continent to assess the risk in a specified and transparent way. “We should assess various types of risks, ranging from political, operationalisation, consumption, competition, financial, demand-and-supply type of risk in transparent way,” he added. According to the World Bank, infrastructure needs in Sub-Saharan Africa are estimated at US $100 billion annually. While private investment has been robust, with the heaviest concentration of funds going to South Africa and focused largely on telecommunications, the funding gap remains at US $31 billion. Analysis points to a high perception of risk as one of the major challenges for investment. *Source AFDB]]>

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AfDB Levies US $17 Million in Financial Penalties in Corruption Case
March 22, 2014 | 0 Comments

Kellogg Brown & Root LLC, Technip S.A. and JGC Corp. agree to pay the equivalent of US $17 million in financial penalties as part of Negotiated Resolution Agreements with the African Development Bank following admission of corrupt practices by affiliated companies in relation to the award of services contracts for liquefied natural gas production plants on Bonny Island, Nigeria, from 1995 until 2004. download (6)The African Development Bank Group on Friday, March 21st, 2014, announced the conclusion of Negotiated Resolution Agreements with Kellogg Brown & Root LLC, Technip S.A. and JGC Corp. following the companies’ admission of corrupt practices by affiliated companies in a Bank-financed project. As part of the Negotiated Resolution Agreement, the Bank’s Integrity and Anti-Corruption Department (IACD) levies financial penalties against the companies of US $6.5 million, US $ 5.3 million and US $5.2 million, respectively. The funds will flow to projects preventing and combating corruption in the Bank’s Member Countries on the African continent. In addition to the payment of financial penalties, the Negotiated Resolution Agreements foresee the debarment for a period of three years of TSKJ – Serviços de Engenharia Lda; TSKJ II – Construções Internacionais Sociedade Unipessola Lda; and LNG – Serviços and Gestão de Projetos Lda., based in Madeira, Portugal. These companies are eligible for cross debarment under the April 2010 Agreement for Mutual Enforcement of Debarment Decisions entered into by the African Development Bank Group, the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the World Bank Group and the Inter-American Development Bank Group. The Portuguese entities affiliated to Kellogg Brown & Root LLC, Technip S.A. and JGC Corp. played an active role in funneling bribes to public officials. “This settlement demonstrates a strong commitment from the African Development Bank to ensure that development funds are used for their intended purpose,” said Anna Bossman, Director of IACD. “At the same time, it is a clear signal to multinational companies that corrupt practices in Bank-financed projects will be aggressively investigated and severely sanctioned. These ground-breaking Negotiated Resolution Agreements substantially advance the Bank’s anti-corruption and governance agenda, a strategic priority of our institution.” In 1990, Kellogg Brown & Root LLC, Technip S.A. and JGC Corp. formed the above companies as joint-ventures together with a fourth multinational engineering services provider for the purposes of bidding for engineering,  procurement and construction services contracts for liquefied natural gas production plants on Bonny Island in Nigeria. From 1995 to 2004, the joint-venture companies made improper payments totaling US $180 million in return for the award of these services contracts. The African Development Bank Group had contributed US $100 million in financing to the overall contract volume of US $6 billion. The Integrity and Anti-Corruption Department of the African Development Bank Group is responsible for preventing, deterring and investigating allegations of corruption, fraud and other sanctionable practices in Bank Group-financed operations. The investigation by the Integrity and Anti-Corruption Department was conducted by Johann Benohr with the support of Ibrahim Pam and Funmi Akinosi. For more information visit African Development Bank staff and the general public can use IACD’s secured hotlines to report sanctionable practices within the Bank or operations financed by the Bank Group. Secured telephone: +1 (770) 776-5658 Secured email server: Mail correspondence should be marked “CONFIDENTIAL” and sent to: African Development Bank Temporary Relocation Agency Integrity and Anti-Corruption Department BP 323 – 1002 Tunis-Belvedere, Tunisia.]]>

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AfDB to focus on Africa’s next 50 years at 2014 Annual Meetings in Kigali
March 16, 2014 | 1 Comments

ADB's Donald Kaberuka ADB’s Donald Kaberuka[/caption] The 49th Annual Meetings for the African Development Bank and the 40th meetings of its soft loan affiliate, the African Development Fund (ADF), will focus on the theme“The next 50 Years: The Africa we want”. The event, where key decisions about the Bank Group are made each year, is attended by Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors from the Bank’s 54 regional member countries (RMCs), and attracts more than 2,500 delegates representing multilateral finance institutions, development agencies, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, civil society and the media. This year’s meetings will take place from Monday, May 19 to Friday, May, 23, 2014 at the Kigali-Serena Annual Meetings Village. The African Development Bank Group will look towards the next half century and what it hopes to achieve on the continent during its 2014 Annual Meetings in Kigali, Rwanda. From May 19, a series of high-level seminars and side events will address the continent’s economic, social and political issues, and seek solutions to ensure a better future for Africans. The gathering will review the Bank’s 2013 operations and its 2014 development funding portfolio, as well as the objectives for the African region in key areas such as regional integration and trade, infrastructure, private sector development, job creation, governance and green growth. The African Development Bank celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2014, with events throughout the year, culminating in a week-long celebration in November in Abidjan, to coincide with the Bank’s return to its official headquarters in Côte d’Ivoire. The AfDB, Africa’s premier development finance institution, was established in 1964 to mobilize resources for the economic and social development of its regional member countries (RMCs) by focusing on poverty reduction and promoting sustainable growth. The Bank has approved 4,001 loans and grants totalling UA 67.22 billion (about US $104 billion) to its RMCs from 1967 to December 31, 2013. For more information, visit the Annual Meetings website: Information on registrations for delegates and the media will be available soon.]]>

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Africa: Leveraging the Continent's Resources to Finance Vital Infrastructure – Kaberuka
January 17, 2014 | 0 Comments

Donald Kaberuka has ambitious targets for his second and final five-year term as President of theAfrican Development Bank. At the Bank’s annual luncheon earlier this month, he pinpointed security, peace, stability and job creation as 2014 goalsfor Africa and the multilateral institution he has led since 2005. His legacy would appear secure: the Bank has a triple-A designation from international credit rating firms and has tripled its capital base since 2010. Now Kaberuka – who served as Rwanda’s minister of finance from 1997 to 2005 – is spearheading an ambitious initiative, the Africa50Fund, designed to leverage capital from Africa’s own institutions to attract substantially greater global private equity to finance the continent’s vast infrastructural needs. This week in Abuja, Kaberuka is receiving the “African of the Year” award from the Nigerian newspaper, Daily Trust, which cited “his innovative idea … to speed up the financing of infrastructure in the continent.” Announcing the choice in November, Dr. Salim Ahmed Salim, a former Tanzanian prime minister and Organisation of African Unity secretary-general, who chairs the selection panel, praised Kaberuka for “bringing to fruition the idea of domestically financed development.” When the award was announced at the African Media Leaders Forum in Addis Ababa, AllAfrica’s Tami Hultman and Reed Kramer interviewed Kaberuka about the Bank’s plans and priorities. Excerpts: Why have you focused on infrastructure as a top priority for the Bank? To put it simply, the current needs of infrastructure in Africa are about U.S. $92 billion a year. At the moment we can monetize from all sources only half that amount – about $50 billion. To mobilize the balance, we decided that we should use the limited amount of public resources available to leverage additional resources in the capital markets. But to do that, we will have to build a vehicle with an equity base based on Africa’s own pools of savings. And on those bases we go into the market to raise money. So how is that vehicle, the Africa50Fund, designed to work? Africa50 is about transformational, commercially viable projects of regional significance. It’s about using Africa’s own savings to leverage the private sector, and it is a tool to make a whole range of projects in the PIDA program – the Priority Infrastructure Development for Africa – bankable and commercially viable. These pools of savings are currently invested in the U.S. and Europe. They are looking for a good return, they are looking for liquidity, and they are looking for security. Africa50 seeks to provide those three. Maybe do even better on the returns. At the moment, because of the QE [quantitative easing, the monetary policy pursued by the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank, which lowers interest rates] and the financial markets, the return is not particularly attractive. I think we can provide a better return. I think we can provide the liquidity. I think we can provide security, at the same time building Africa’s transformational infrastructure. How can Africa50 deliver a higher return and also finance infrastructural development? I don’t want to walk you through all the sophisticated financial engineering which you have to do, but I’ll just give you an example. Many of these economies are growing at 6 percent. And everywhere on the continent, the maritime ports have become a huge constraint. There’s almost almost no port on the Atlantic or the Indian [Ocean] belt, apart from Durban, which have enough capacity to cope with the growth in the economies. So the demand is there. We are going to go there and expand the port capacities. It’s a commercially viable business. We charge a price. and we shall be able to provide a return to the investors. Let me tell you, in the 1990s, if you told someone that IT-related infrastructure, communications, the mobile phone – that was a good return, they would’ve thought you were crazy! That is where the returns have been very, very interesting. Our analysis at Africa50 is that energy is the next revolution, and next are maritime ports, railways, highways and airports. And how do you mobilize sufficient capital to finance all the needed infrastructural development? We have started with African-owned institutions, including equity provided by the African Development Bank. We’ll go to African central banks who are now holding half a trillion dollars of reserves. We are not naïve enough to think that central banks will invest all of their reserves in an instrument like this, because the reserves have an economic purpose. So we will be targeting them, and we’re looking at sovereign wealth funds for equity. As the project pipeline increases, we are going to market and scale up progressively. We keep hearing about the high growth rate of African economies – but that it too often is “jobless growth”. How do you address that? I think “jobless growth” is not a good definition, although it describes the phenomenon. You have to look at three things. One is the sources of growth, the drivers of growth. In most cases, the drivers of growth are in services and extractives. The biggest employer on the African continent is agriculture. That is not where the source of growth is. So the plain-vanilla solution is basically to do everything we can to invest as much as we can in agriculture and small businesses. That’s where the jobs are created, not in the extractives. The second thing, which is simple math, is that you have an economy growing at nominal rates of six-and-a-half percent and a population increasing at three and a half percent, as we saw when we were recently in the Sahel. In Niger it is four percent. It means you are growing at basically three percent. And if inflation is running at two percent, it means your real growth is one percent. So there is the issue of population increase and drivers of growth, and those two combined have created a huge bout of inequalities, which itself is becoming a break on growth. So we need to tackle inequalities directly. We need to try to return some of the revenues from natural resources into agriculture, into small businesses, which is where jobs are created. But I must say to you, whether you are a small garage owner in northern Nigeria or a woman owning a boutique in the city or you own a cement factory, it is power cuts for half a day for three days a week which eat into your margins, which eat into your possibilities of creating jobs. So this focus on infrastructure is precisely the starting point for creating jobs. You cannot create jobs unless the country has energy which is available, affordable and sustainable. Kaberuka4(1)Finally, we need to rethink safety nets. We need to figure out how to provide a safety net to poor people, whether it is by transferring some money from oil and gas revenues, by removing wasteful subsidies and better targeting them to the poor. All these things can be done. So – tackle inequality, tackle sources of growth, and figure out how to remove some of these barriers to growth like energy.That’s how jobs are created. What do you hope will result from the recent high-level focus on the Sahel after your November visit to Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad, along with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and World Bank and African Union and European Union leaders? The Sahel region is a crucible of the challenges Africa faces. In 1973, the Sahel region faced a huge drought problem. There was a lot of suffering there. Nowadays suffering is the result of security-related problems. When you take the security challenges of the Central African Republic and the Sahel and you add climactic problems, you see clearly the link between development, security, and the climate. Our visit was the first time that leaders of the United Nations, the African Union, World Bank, the European Union and the African Development Bank go together through four nations to learn, to listen, to see how we can help. All of us came back energized by what we saw and determined to rally behind the countries in the Sahel region. The challenge is enormous. We think the response should be appropriate. We have committed to action, and we each play complementary roles. Ban Ki-moon is very much leading on the security side. The AU is leading on the political side, and we the financial organizations rally behind them with the financial packages for reconstruction of the Sahel, for job creation, for integration – to give hope to the region. What is the AfDB role? The Sahel goes from Somalia to Mauritania, so in this case the concentration is on five core countries. We’ve already committed up to $2 billion in those five countries. What I have announced is new money equivalent to $1.9 billion for the next three years. And on top of that, we shall commit an additional $500 million for the ‘greater Sahel’, which means the five core countries plus two additional countries, to execute programs of regional integration and cooperation. The essence of the AfDB’s program is “resilience” – building the capacity of the region to resist climatic shocks or man-made crises like this one. We shall do infrastructure, and we shall do water management and programs of economic integration across the region. *Source All]]>

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DRC Inga mega hydropower plant implementation advances with AfDB support
November 24, 2013 | 1 Comments

Tunis, November 20, 2013 – The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) approved US $68 million in financing for the multinational Inga Site Development and Electricity Access Support Project (PASEL). The project will further the development of the Inga hydropower plant located on the banks of the Congo River with a vast hydro-electric potential estimated at 44,000 MW – half of the continent’s installed electricity capacity.

The AfDB’s support, which comes in the form of a Fragile States Facility grant of US $7.7 million and an African Development Fund grant of US $60.6 million, accounts for 43% of the total project cost of US $169 million. With this approval, the support of the AfDB to the Inga project, since the inception of the mandate to lead the implementation of the NEPAD Infrastructure Action Plan, will amount to-US $90 million.

PASEL will finalize the preparation of the first phase of the Grand Inga Hydropower Project, called the Inga 3 Project, which will consist of developing a power-generating capacity of 4,800 MW on the Inga site and building power transmission lines that will supply electricity to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and to the Republic of South Africa.

Specifically, this project will facilitate the development of the local institutions and skills necessary (technical, legal and financial advisors will be provided) to attract private capital for the completion of Inga 3 which is a complex project. In addition, capacity-building efforts will enable local actors to make a wise choice for the project’s principal investor-developer under the public-private partnership. Improved access to electricity is also expected in the semi-urban areas of Kinshasa for more than 25,000 households.

“This is the right project for the DRC and the Bank – at the right time,” said Alex Rugamba, Director of the AfDB’s Energy, Environment and Climate Change Department. “It is timely because it facilitates the implementation of Inga 3 whose investment costs would otherwise be difficult to mobilize in the current context of the DRC.”

The AfDB’s financing will be used to cover the cost of technical assistance to ensure the completion of preparatory activities for the Inga 3 Project. It will also help address electricity scarcity in remote areas that are not directly covered by Inga but where the DRC intends to develop electrical systems around micro- or mini-hydropower plants. The Bank will put several advisers at the disposal of the Inga Site Development and Promotion Authority and conduct several studies on the Inga project that will generate real-time gains in the overall project schedule.

PASEL builds on previous AfDB support to the Inga Hydropower Project, which led to: the development of institutional and technical plans; a feasibility study, which defined the development pattern of the Grand Inga by successive phases; and the identification of an innovative approach to the project that will guarantee the full realization of Inga’s hydro-electricity potential and promote continental integration.

The Inga 3 Project will increase access to more reliable and cheaper energy in the DRC, contributing to an increase from the current 9% to over 40% by 2020. It is also expected to improve the business climate and productivity of the economies of beneficiary countries.

Current demand for electricity in the region is huge and steady, guaranteeing a market for the energy to be produced from the hydropower plant. Indeed, South Africa has already signed an agreement with the DRC to import about half of the electricity that will be produced, guaranteeing the bankability of project. Signed by the presidents of South Africa and DRC in October 2013, the treaty, which is the framework for the energy-purchase agreement, is awaiting ratification by their respective national parliaments.



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AfDB Board approves US120 million financing for Nairobi’s outer ring road
November 20, 2013 | 0 Comments

AfDB Board approves US120 million financing for Nairobi’s outer ring road

 Project to take 4 years; starting 2014; Complete road will reduce travel time from 45 to 15 minutes

 african-development-bank-2NAIROBI, Kenya, November 19, 2013/ — The Board of the African Development Bank ( on Wednesday November 13th approved US$120 million financing for the Nairobi Outer Ring road project which involves the improvement of the existing single carriageway road to a 2-lane dual carriageway complete with service roads, grade separated intersections, pedestrians–foot-over bridges, walkways and cycle tracks over the entire length of the road.

The 13-kilometer project, on completion is expected to directly enhance the traffic circulation and eliminate traffic bottlenecks to various economic activity centers such as the industrial zone, and the vast populous residential areas of Eastlands.

AfDB Regional Director for Eastern Africa, Mr. Gabriel Negatu confirmed the financing as a mix of grant and loan from the Africa Development Fund (ADF), with the Government of Kenya as the counterpart financier of the project whose total cost in US$130million.

“The Africa Development Bank Group will provide 89.8% financing for the total project through Africa Development Fund (ADF) loan of US$115.9million and a grant of US$5million. We believe that this road will not only reduce the travel time from the current 45 minutes to 15 minutes, but will also transform the socio-economic welfare of the people living along the transport corridor,” the Director said.

The road traverses Nairobi’s East and North districts serving an estimated population of at least 2.2 million representing some 70% of the Nairobi County population. Other beneficiaries include users of major city connecting arterial roads of: Nairobi-Thika highway, Eastern Bypass, Northern Bypass, Mombasa Road, and onto the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA).

Negatu pointed out that the key outcomes of the project will include improved property values arising from reduced congestion, and improved business environment for informal traders owing to access to new market facilities and improved sanitation.

Other complementary civil works elements include: 250 market stalls and associated sanitary facilities, planting of 4,500 trees along the corridor, children’s traffic safety park, and 3 Wellness centers for HIV/AIDs and related illnesses.

It is further estimated that by improving the existing road, the annual vehicular GHG emission rates in tones in the corridor would drop by at least 70% due to improved average traffic operating speeds along the project corridor particularly, with the integration of the Bus Rapid Transit System as envisaged by the year 2022.

“Our approach to this and every project that we have undertaken is guided by our commitment as a Bank to realize inclusive and green growth in Africa. Under this project, at least 500 disadvantaged youth from the informal settlements will gain from artisan training program aimed at enhancing their skills to assure long-term gainful employment thereafter.” Negatu added.

The Africa Development Bank previously financed the successful completion of the 50km Thika Superhighway, which was jointly financed by the Republic of China and Government of Kenya. Outer Ring Road project brings to 63 the kilometers of roads financed by the Bank within the Nairobi metropolitan.

Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of the African Development Bank (AfDB).

About African Development Bank

The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group ( is a multi- lateral development finance institution established to contribute to the economic development and the social progress of African countries. The Bank Group comprises three entities: the African Development Bank (AfDB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF).

As the premier development finance institution on the continent the AfDB’s primary objective is to assist African countries – individually and collectively in their efforts to achieve economic development and social progress. The Bank Group finances projects, programs and studies in multiple sectors such as infra- structure, agriculture, health, education, higher education and training, public utilities, environment, climate change, gender, telecommunications, industry and the private sector.

contact: Mercy Randa Tel: +254 771 048 558 /


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Innovative Project Improving Food Value Chain to be Launched in Monrovia
November 19, 2013 | 0 Comments

An innovative project aimed at reducing rural poverty and household food insecurity will be launched on November 19 in Liberia

 MONROVIA, Liberia, November 18, 2013/ — An innovative project aimed at reducing rural poverty and household food insecurity will be launched on November 19 in Monrovia. The Smallholder Agricultural Productivity Enhancement and Commercialization (SAPEC) project is jointly financed by the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) ( and the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) ( SAPEC project is managed and administered by the AfDB.

The four-day event, to be launched by the Vice-President of the Republic of Liberia, Joseph N. Boakai, will bring together around 200 participants, including Government officials, Members of Parliament and the Senate, representatives from the donor community, agriculture organizations as well as farmers’ associations and beneficiaries from similar projects.

The SAPEC project will increase income for smallholder farmers and rural entrepreneurs particularly women, youths and the physically-challenged, thus empowering the rural communities and setting the scene for a transformation of agriculture from subsistence activities into revenue-generating business.

“We are excited that GAFSP’s contribution will enable Liberia to rebuild and implement their own food and agricultural strategy, which we believe will have a huge, sustainable impact on the livelihoods of smallholders around the country,” said Geeta Sethi, Program Manager, the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program. “This project will help Liberia set an example for other post-conflict countries on how to build a food secure, stable state with a vibrant agricultural sector that contributes to economic growth, increased incomes, and food and nutrition security, and poverty reduction. Congratulations to Liberia,” she said.

“Indeed, the SAPEC addresses Liberia’s fragility following 14 years of civil conflict that devastated the economy, decimated institutions, destroyed infrastructure and triggered massive rural-urban migration,” said Chiji Ojukwu, Director, Agriculture and Agro-Industry, AfDB. He further highlighted that “the project promotes pro-poor growth by investing in smallholder agriculture to reduce food insecurity, and fosters equity and inclusiveness by ensuring the participation of women, youth and the physically-challenged in agricultural activities. The SAPEC project thus contributes to the peace- and state-building goals of the country as it transitions from conflict and fragility to recovery and resilience.”

The project is expected to improve the food value chain through market development and access through the rehabilitation of 270 km of all-weather feeder roads. Twelve market centres are also expected to be rehabilitated, nine agribusiness centres constructed and three technology transfer centres refurbished.

The project will also increase the productivity of 4,000 ha and 1,000 ha of uplands that will be dedicated respectively to cassava and rice cultivation. The project will also make more land and water available for cropping with the rehabilitation of 1,000 ha of community-owned lowland.

GAFSP is a global effort to aid vulnerable populations afflicted by hunger and poverty. It takes up where emergency and recovery assistance leaves off, targeting transformative and lasting change in agriculture and food security within poor countries. Following commitments by G8 leaders at the L’Aquila Summit in July 2009 and reaffirmed by the G20 Summit in Pittsburgh in September 2009, GAFSP was established in April 2010.

To date, GAFSP expects to improve the incomes and food security of over 10 million beneficiaries, mainly smallholder farmers and their families and has allocated $912 million in grant funds to 25 countries and $50 million in financing packages to agribusinesses.

The World Bank manages the public sector part of the program and IFC manages the GAFSP private sector window. For more information, visit

For the AfDB, strengthening agriculture and food security through an integrated value chain approach can improve the livelihoods of Africans who live in rural areas. By continuing to invest in rural infrastructure (such as rural roads, irrigation, electricity, storage facilities, access to markets, conservation systems and supply networks), the AfDB will help countries increase agricultural productivity and competitiveness.

By investing in regional infrastructure and engaging in policy dialogue to remove trade barriers to importing food and inputs such as fertilizers, it will help restrict food price volatility and reduce food insecurity.

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