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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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AfDB Calls for a “Revolution” in Providing Energy Access Solutions
March 31, 2017 | 0 Comments
Adesina

Adesina

The African Development Bank (AfDB) brought together more than 180 stakeholders across the off-grid energy sector on Tuesday, March 28, in the context of “Energy Week” at the Bank’s headquarters in Abidjan to discuss interventions to support the scale-up of energy access investments. The overarching objective was to unleash an “Off-Grid Energy Revolution”, to provide up to 75 million households and businesses not covered by the power grid with modern, clean and affordable electricity using decentralized solar technologies.

During the plenary session of the Off-Grid Revolution consultation workshop, opening remarks were given by Bank President Akinwumi Adesina; the Minister of Oil, Energy and Energy Development of Côte d’Ivoire, Thierry Tanoh; and the Minister of Energy of the Republic of Sierra Leone, Henry Macauley.

President Adesina said, “Africa’s energy potential is as enormous as its electricity deficit. We must move quickly to unlock this energy potential. We must be smart, efficient, sustainable and quick in our actions.” The Off-Grid Revolution stakeholder consultation comes under the framework of the New Deal on Energy for Africa, which aims to provide universal energy access to all Africans by 2025.

“Although we can employ mix of approaches, off-grid solutions must be at the core of our approach to achieve the ambitious electricity access targets that we have set,” Adesina added.

The future of off-grid energy solutions is bright. Amadou Hott, the AfDB Vice-President for Power, Energy, Climate Change and Green Growth, noted that millions of Africans have recently been connected to electricity by start-ups, driven by plummeting costs of solar photovoltaic (PV) and batteries, innovations in mobile payments and wireless communications technologies. “These businesses are increasing energy access across Africa faster, more cheaply, and more widely than conventional grid extension,” said Hott.

In break-out sessions, participants discussed the issues related to access to financing, risk mitigation, enabling environment and appropriate business models to scale up the energy access in Africa. Overall, stakeholders reiterated the need for a stronger political will by governments, ensure long-term integrated planning of off-grid and on-grid, and to develop the local ecosystem including manufacturing, skills development. Stakeholders also agreed on the need for more patient capital and local currency financing, hedging tools to mitigate foreign exchange risks, and to improve the credit scoring data.

The meeting was attended by leading and emerging businesses, country-representatives, civil society, industry bodies, local financial institutions, key development partners, technology providers, impact investors and AfDB staff.

About the Off-Grid Revolution

The AfDB – under its New Deal for Energy for Africa (NDEA) Strategy – has set an aspirational target of “off-grid” electricity access target of reaching 75 million connections by end of 2025. This can only be achieved through an unprecedented collaboration across a wide spectrum of committed partners. Against this backdrop, the Bank convened the “Off-Grid Revolution” workshop to define towards a suite of interventions to support the scale-up of “off grid” investment. The event is part of the Energy Week, a series of events, including high-level discussions and partnerships focusing on lighting up and powering Africa, and unlocking Africa’s huge energy potential co-organised and hosted by the AfDB. Energy Week runs from Monday, March 27 to Friday, March 31, 2017 in Abidjan.

About the AfDB’s Power, Energy, Climate Change and Green Growth Complex

The Power, Energy, Climate Change and Green Growth Sector Complex (PEVP), was created to fulfill the objectives of “Light Up and Power Africa” – principally achieving universal access to electricity by 2025. The Complex will accomplish this by building Africa’s energy systems while ensuring green growth. The entire development ecosystem for operational effectiveness, scale, socio- economic, and environmental impact will be taken into account. The New Deal on Energy for Africa, together with the inter-connected flagship programs is a top initiative of PEVP.

*AllAfrica. Read full Speech here

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NEPAD-IPPF supports African countries to strengthen regional infrastructure: Approves eight projects for US $14.83 million in 2016
February 11, 2017 | 0 Comments

Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, February 9, 2017 – The New Partnership for Africa’s Development Infrastructure Project Preparation Facility (NEPAD-IPPF) has continued to support African countries to strengthen regional infrastructure connectivity by providing grants for project preparation and development for complex, cross-border regional infrastructure projects in energy, transport, ICT and trans-boundary water. This directly supports Africa’s integration and industrialization efforts as well as trade in goods and services and helps to improve the quality of lives of Africans by improving access to infrastructure services – electricity, transport, communications and water.

NEPAD-IPPF provides grants to African countries through Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and specialized regional infrastructure institutions such as Power Pools to undertake feasibility, technical and engineering designs, environmental and social impact assessment studies, as well as preparation of tender documents and transaction advisory services to make projects bankable for financing and implementation in support of Africa’s socio-economic transformation.

Taking stock of achievements during 2016 at the Business Strategy Workshop for NEPAD-IPPF held at the headquarters of the African Development Bank (AfDB) in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, on Friday, ebruary 3, 2017, Shem Simuyemba, NEPAD-IPPF Fund Manager, informed the gathering that during 2016, NEPAD-IPPF had approved a total of US $14.83 million for the preparation of eight regional projects covering energy, transport and water.

Five energy/power projects were approved, two in West Africa, two in Southern Africa and one in East Africa. In West Africa, these were, the Nigeria-Benin 330 kV Power Interconnector Reinforcement Project executed by the West African Power Pool (WAPP) and the Feasibility Study for Women in a Changing Energy Value Chain in West Africa under the ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREE) intended to unlock business opportunities for women entrepreneurs in the energy value chain. In East Africa, NEPAD-IPPF funded the Uganda-Tanzania Refined Oil Products Pipeline Project with oversight from the East African Community Secretariat. In Southern Africa, approved projects were, the Zambia-Mozambique 400 kV Power Interconnector Project and the Kolwezi (DRC)-Solwezi (Zambia) 330 kV Power Interconnector Project linking the two copper-mining belts of Katanga in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Northwestern Zambia. The Executing Agency for the two projects is the Southern Africa Power Pool (SAPP). The Zambia-Mozambique Power Interconnector Project is co-financed with the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA).

Project preparation and development work undertaken by NEPAD-IPPF has had a major impact in generating bankable projects, which have attracted financing for implementation. An example is the Power Interconnector, 330 kV North Core Project involving Nigeria, Niger, Benin and Burkina Faso. NEPAD-IPPF provided US $5.9 million for the preparation of this project (one of the largest grants for a single project). The estimated financing cost of the project was US $681.67 million. However, at the North Core Financing Roundtable held on November 9, 2016, under the auspices of WAPP and the countries concerned, the project attracted US $1.205 billion in financing pledges.

 

The two transport projects approved were the Route Multinationale, Kribi-Campo-Bata, the road/bridge over the Ntem River linking Cameroon to Equatorial Guinea, for a grant of US $3.04-million under the Economic Community of Central African States, an important transport and trade corridor in Central Africa. The other was in East Africa,the Lamu Port Development: Transaction Advisory Services and Technical Assistance – Phase 1 for a public-private partnership (PPP) to develop the new Port of Lamu in Kenya to serve the countries of Ethiopia, South Sudan and Kenya under the US $20-billion LAPSEET mega infrastructure project.

One trans-boundary water project, the Multinational, Orange-Sengu River Basin Project, was also approved in 2016. The purpose of the grant is to assist in the preparation of a Climate Resilient Water Resources Investment Strategy and Plan and Multipurpose Project for the Orange Senqu River Basin. The project is co-funded by the Africa Water Facility and the Global Water Partnership (GWP) and is managed by the Orange River Basin Commission. It will benefit the four countries of Lesotho, South Africa, Botswana and Namibia as it serves, among others, Africa’s most dense economic space, the Gauteng Province of South Africa with its mining, agricultural and industrial activities.

 

NEPAD-IPPF is a multi-donor Special Fund hosted by the African Development Bank (AfDB), established under the G8 as part of the support to the NEPAD African Action Plan and is managed in close partnerships with the African Union Commission (AUC) and the NEPAD Agency. Donors supporting NEPAD-IPPF include Canada, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Spain and the UK. Since its establishment in 2005, NEPAD-IPPF has approved 72 grants for complex, cross-border regional infrastructure projects resulting in downstream financing of US $7.88 billion, demonstrating the high leverage effect of well-prepared projects.

Under its current Strategic Business Plan (SBP) for the five-year period, 2016-2020, NEPAD-IPPF requires funding of about US $250 million to prepare 80 to 100 regional infrastructure projects expected to generate US $25 billion in infrastructure investments. NEPAD-IPPF is also increasingly linking its project preparation work to financial closure and part of the thrust of its new business orientation is to engage early with project developers, financiers and investment houses to ensure that NEPAD-IPPF prepared projects respond better to investor needs.

“NEPAD-IPPF is a tested brand across Africa in supporting African countries to prepare complex, cross-border regional infrastructure projects and to bring them to bankability and therefore offers a total-project-development-solution,” said Simuyemba. He also observed that NEPAD-IPPF unlocks business opportunities across the “infrastructure value chain”, not just in advisory services, but also financing, construction, equipment supply, technology and skills as well as operations and maintenance.

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UN Chief Hails Improved Cooperation With AU
February 2, 2017 | 0 Comments

By Margaret Besheer*

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks to reporters during a news conference, Feb. 1, 2017, at U.N. headquarters in New York.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres speaks to reporters during a news conference, Feb. 1, 2017, at U.N. headquarters in New York.

New U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Wednesday that the organization is working to “avoid the worst” for South Sudan. He also praised the international and regional cooperation that prevented large-scale violence in Gambia during its recent post-election crisis.

Guterres spoke to reporters at the U.N. after his return from the African Union summit in Ethiopia.

The new U.N. chief said the situation in conflict-torn South Sudan is “dramatic” and could worsen.

Guterres said it was agreed at a meeting involving himself, leaders of the AU and East African bloc IGAD that they would cooperate to make sure South Sudan’s national dialogue is genuinely inclusive going forward.

He also met with South Sudan’s president.

“In a meeting with Salva Kiir, it was agreed that we will have better cooperation both for the U.N. mission to operate more freely inside South Sudan and for the Regional Protection Force to be put in place,” Guterres said.

African nations have proposed deploying 4,000 troops to South Sudan to help stabilize the country, where three years of conflict have displaced more than two million people.

Guterres said it was agreed that Kenya would contribute troops to the force.

Turning to the recent post-election crisis in Gambia, where President Yahya Jammeh initially refused to step down in favor of his democratically-elected opponent, Adama Barrow, Guterres said the episode demonstrated what is possible when there is regional unity.

“It is possible for action to be taken and it is possible for democracy, human rights and the freedom of peoples to be defended. When there is division in the region, it is much more difficult for the U.N. to be able to act accordingly,” the U.N. chief said.

The secretary-general said the narrative about Africa must not be based on the crises, but on the continent’s potential.

He said Africa has grown economically and has great success stories that must be built on to achieve widespread and inclusive sustainable development. Guterres said that is the best way to prevent further conflicts.

*VOA

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Chad’s Moussa Faki Mahamat named AU Commission chair
January 31, 2017 | 0 Comments

Chadian diplomat elected as the new AU Commission chairperson after seven rounds of voting in Addis Adaba.

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Faki, Chad's foreign minister since 2008, beat four other candidates [File: EPA]

Faki, Chad’s foreign minister since 2008, beat four other candidates [File: EPA]

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Chad’s Moussa Faki Mahamat has been elected as the new chairperson of the African Union Commission, in a vote held at the bloc’s headquarters in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, on Monday.

After seven rounds of voting, the Chadian foreign affairs minister defeated favourites Amina Mohamed of Kenya and Senegal’s Abdoulaye Bathily.

Two other candidates, Botswana’s Foreign Minister Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, and Mba Mokuy, of Equatorial Guinea, also contested for the seat.

The 56-year-old and father-of-five succeeds South Africa’s Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the first woman to lead the bloc of 54 states, who did not seek a second term in office after completing a four-year term.

Kenya was the first to congratulate the newly-elected AU chief.

“Kenya congratulates him on a race well won. We pledge to work with him to defend the pan-African agenda of integration for Africa, as well as democracy, sovereignty and prosperity for all of its people,” a statement by Kenya’s State House spokesperson Manoah Esipisu said.

Faki is not new to the workings of the AU, having previously served as the body’s chair of the Economic, Social and Cultural Council.

Heads of state from the 54-member countries cast their vote in a private ballot.

A candidate needs to secure at least a two-thirds majority, 36 votes, to be declared winner.

The AU was supposed to pick a new leader in July last year but the election was postponed following three rounds of voting after candidates failed to garner the required number of votes.

More than 50 percent of the member states abstained from the second round of voting last year.

Meanwhile, the AU is expected to vote on Tuesday whether Morocco, the only country in Africa that is not part of the organisation, will be re-admitted into the body.

Rabat withdrew from the union in 1984 to protest against the admission of disputed Western Sahara territories.

*Al Jazeera

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Morocco Accuses AU Chief of Obstructing Readmission
December 1, 2016 | 0 Comments

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, head of the African Union Commission, attends a news conference at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, May 24, 2016. Morrocco claims Dlamini-Zuma is blocking its efforts to rejoin the African Union

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, head of the African Union Commission, attends a news conference at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, May 24, 2016. Morrocco claims Dlamini-Zuma is blocking its efforts to rejoin the African Union

Morocco accused African Union Commission head Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma of blocking its efforts to rejoin the organization it left 32 years ago, the country’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday.

Morocco has asked the African Union (AU) to readmit it, as it seeks support for its plan to offer autonomy to the disputed territory of Western Sahara while keeping it under Moroccan sovereignty.

Morocco abandoned its seat in 1984 when the AU recognized Western Sahara, a sparsely populated stretch of desert that was formerly a Spanish protectorate, and admitted it as a member.

Moroccan request delayed

The ministry said Dlamini-Zuma had delayed the distribution of the Moroccan request to AU members without any apparent reason, and then invented a new procedural requirement to reject letters from AU members supporting Morocco’s demand.

“The kingdom of Morocco denounces vigorously the maneuvers of African Union Commission head, who is trying to thwart Morocco’s decision to regain its natural and legitimate place in the pan-African institutional family,” the foreign ministry said in a statement carried by state news agency MAP.

“The president of the AU commission is dropping her neutrality and failing the rules and standards of the organization and its members’ will,” the statement added.

Many AU members support Morocco

There was no immediate comment from the African organization on the Moroccan statement.

Morocco says at least 36 of the 54 AU member countries do not acknowledge the territory as a separate state and it is time to withdraw its recognition. None of the Western powers, nor the United Nations, recognize the territory, which calls itself the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (SADR).

But it is unclear if powerful AU members including Algeria and South Africa, which have expressed support to hold a referendum of the people of Western Sahara on their sovereignty, would accept Morocco’s request.

Discussion expected January

Morocco's King Mohammed, who visited Ethiopia's Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn (right), Nov. 19, 2016, has been touring Africa seeking support for a return to the African Union

Morocco’s King Mohammed, who visited Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn (right), Nov. 19, 2016, has been touring Africa seeking support for a return to the African Union

The AU is expected to discuss the Moroccan request in its January 2017 summit in Addis Ababa.

Morocco has controlled most of the territory since 1975. The area has offshore fishing, phosphate reserves and oilfield potential. Morocco’s King Mohammed has been touring Africa in the last three months seeking support for its AU demand and autonomy proposal for Western Sahara.

In 2014, Morocco rejected the AU’s decision to appoint a special envoy for the Western Sahara, saying the body had no legal authority to intervene.

*Reuters/VOA

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AfDB Board approves 2017-2021 Country Strategy Paper for Rwanda
November 24, 2016 | 0 Comments

Earmarks over US $900-million support package to support Rwanda’s economic transformation

Rwandan President Paul Kagame with AFDB President Adesina

Rwandan President Paul Kagame with AFDB President Adesina

Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, November 23, 2016 – The African Development Bank (AfDB) will support Rwanda’s economic transformation by boosting inclusive private sector-led growth and creating higher value-added formal employment with an indicative financing package estimated at US $939.4 million over a five-year period.

This support package is contained in the Bank’s 2017-2021 Country Strategy Paper (CSP) for Rwanda, which will guide the Bank’s operations in the country during the next five years, approved by its Board of Directors on Wednesday, November 23, 2016 in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

While commending Rwanda’s remarkable socio-economic progress over the last 16 years during which period real GDP growth has averaged 7.9%, the Board noted that economic transformation has been slow as growth continues to be generated mainly by low value added and low productivity. As a result, there is a need to adjust Rwanda’s current economic model and implement policies and measures to accelerate the economic transformation process.

Thus, to adequately address Rwanda’s overarching development challenge, the CSP focuses on improving the enabling environment for private sector development, with a focus on the agriculture sector. The CSP is articulated around two complementary pillars: Investing in energy and water infrastructure to enable inclusive and green growth; and Developing skills to promote high value added economic activities and economic transformation.

Under the first pillar, the Bank’s assistance will focus on reducing the cost of doing to further enhance the enabling environment for private investment and economic transformation through improved access to affordable and reliable energy and water supply and sanitation. The Bank’s assistance under the second pillar will support Rwanda in accelerating economic transformation through the development of skills that promote high value added economic activities. Support under both pillars is consistent with the second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (2013-2018) and the Bank’s Ten Year Strategy 2013-2022; the High 5 priorities and the Sustainable Development Goals.

“The Bank’s assistance from the private sector window will be complementary to its support from the public sector window,” the CSP says, adding that the Bank will also give priority to increasing private investments through intensifying its efforts as a convener, connector and catalyst and use of innovative financing instruments.

Its non-lending support, including policy advice, will continue to be demand-led, ensure complementarity with the lending program and remain selective to effectively inform country policy dialogue, the Government’s investment choices and the Bank Group and other development partners programming options.

To maximize the development impact of the strategy, the Bank will introduce several innovations and scale-up its support to accelerate Rwanda’s economic transformation process through private sector-led, spatially balanced inclusive economic growth.

The Bank’s operations will include specific components to support youth employment, gender equality and women empowerment. Greater attention will also be given to partnership arrangements between the Government, the Bank, private sector, civil society and other Development Partners to mobilize co-financing, increase private investment and generate business for the Bank.

The CSP provides for a cumulative 2017-2021 indicative resource envelope of US $939.4 million. Additional resources will be mobilized from the Bank’s non-concessional window, Africa Growing Together Fund, Trust Funds, Climate Funds and co-financing with other partners.

The Bank Group’s portfolio in Rwanda comprised 19 operations with total net commitment of US $594.1 million as of October 20, 2016. The portfolio includes seven public sector operations, two private sector operations and 10 multinational operations. Infrastructure (transport, 49%; energy, 23%; and water, 3%) accounted for 75% of the portfolio in value terms. Human development accounted for 6%, agriculture 4%, multisector 8% and financial sector 1%. Private sector operations accounted for 4% of the overall portfolio.

*AFDB

 

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