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AfDB mobilizes 28.6 billion FCFA for local development in Senegal
September 16, 2016 | 0 Comments

Abidjan, Côte dIvoire, September 15, 2016 – On September 14, 2016 in Abidjan, the Board of Directors of the

Senegal President Macky Sall with AFDB President Adesina

Senegal President Macky Sall with AFDB President Adesina

African Development Bank Group (AfDB) approved a loan of 34.78 million units of account (approximately 28.6 billion FCFA) to the Republic of Senegal to fund Phase 1 of the Support Programme for Reform of Local Development (PARDL-I).

PARDL-I is the first phase of a series of two operations offering programmatic budget support for the financial years 2016 and 2017 with an overall indicative funding envelope of 44.78 million UA (approximately 36.8 billion CFA francs). PARDL-I provides the programme’s multi-year framework and a list of reforms considered to be indicative triggers for the second phase (PARDL-II). PARDL-I is aligned with the Emerging Senegal Plan 2014-2035 and its Priority Action Plan (2014-2018).

PARDL-I, as per the Country Strategy Paper 2016-2020, which has also just been approved by the Board, comes further to previous budget support, but with the particular feature that it provides holistic support for a new generation of reforms. This programme is intended to support the efforts of Senegal to implement the Emerging Senegal Plan (PSE) in order to create a dynamic of sustained endogenous growth with the goal of reducing inequality between urban and rural areas. Thus, the effectiveness of the programme of reforms will contribute to the development of the local economy, to opening up disadvantaged rural areas and to building the ownership and empowerment of rural communities with regard to the construction and maintenance of local socio-economic infrastructure.

This operation was prepared in close collaboration with development partners in general and most particularly with members of the Budget Support Arrangement Framework (ACAB), which all have similar budget support arrangements planned for 2016 and 2017. Members of civil society and actors in the private sector in Senegal were also consulted.

To achieve its goals, PARDL-I is structured around two complementary components. The first is the strengthening of decentralization through improvements to the institutional and regulatory framework of the reform known as the Act III of Decentralization and strengthening the funding mechanisms of decentralization to ensure better management of transferred skills and the sustained development of local communities. The second is the promotion of the development of infrastructure and local entrepreneurship through improving the institutional framework for managing water and electricity infrastructure and local roads to facilitate people’s access to this infrastructure and the facilitation of the emergence of local entrepreneurship for greater local inclusivity.

*AFDB

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New ways of financing are crucial for transforming Africa’s agriculture, says new report
September 7, 2016 | 0 Comments

high_fiveInnovative financing is crucial for agricultural transformation, wealth creation and long-term prosperity in Africa, according to this year’s Africa Agriculture Status Report (AASR), launched on September 6, 2016 in Kenya’s capital, Nairobi.

The African Development Bank (AfDB) is one the authors of the report, which focuses on Progress toward Agricultural Transformation in Sub-Saharan Africa. It says despite annual public investments in agriculture having risen across Africa, from US $186.4 million per country between 1995 to 2003 to US $219.6 million between 2008 to 2014, only 13 African countries have honoured their pledge to invest at least 10 percent of public funds in agriculture as foreseen under the Maputo Declaration of 2003. “If all [countries] that have pledged could make good on their promise, public funding for agriculture across Africa would rise from $12 billion (the amount allocated in 2014) to $40 billion,” notes the publication, unveiled at the ongoing African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF).

Inadequate financing for agriculture has been cited as a major impediment to smallholder farmers, their organisations, as well as small and medium agro-enterprises, which lack access to basic financial services.

The report calls on African governments to urgently step up partnerships with various actors in order to grow agricultural finance, at the same time creating an enabling environment to foster innovation to the benefit of the smallholder farmer. The AfDB is one of the main players in agricultural financing on the continent. Between 1967 and 2014, it approved loans and grants to African member countries with commitments amounting to US $100.68 billion, of which agriculture and rural development accounted for 12.4 percent (US $12.45 billion).

Agriculture is one of the Bank’s five key priority areas, also referred to as the High 5s. By 2025, its Feed Africa Strategy (2016-2025) will, among other things, see about 320 million additional people enjoying access to adequate calories and nutrients, and up to 130 million people lifted out of poverty (representing 25% of the estimated 550 million currently living below the poverty line).

To achieve the goals of Feed Africa, AfDB will invest US $2.4 billion of its resources annually over the ten-year period of the strategy. The Bank will use these resources to leverage additional funding to meet the balance (of between US $30 billion to US $40 billion) needed annually to finance the strategy, including substantial increases in private and commercial bank financing.

The AASR 2016 says private-sector investment in agriculture is critical, and is needed in all aspects of the agricultural value chain, including production, processing, marketing and transport.

To read the full report, visit: http://agra.org/aasr2016/

To download the report: http://agra.org/aasr2016/public/assr.pdf

 

Technical contact: Benedict Kanu, Lead Agricultural Expert, b.kanu@afdb.org

Media contact: Joyce Mulama, tel +254 724975170, j.mulama@afdb.org

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The African Development Bank engages with African civil society at Dakar meeting
September 5, 2016 | 0 Comments

BAD-OSC-dakarDakar, Senegal, September 5, 2016 – Three of the five priorities set by the African Development Bank (AfDB) as part of its Ten Year Strategy were at the centre of discussions between representatives of the institution and members of West African civil society.

High-priority issues including access to energy, transforming African agriculture and improving the quality of life for the people of Africa through job creation for youth, in addition to the industrialization and integration of Africa, were the subject of a presentation and lively debates between representatives of West African civil society and the AfDB in Dakar.

Starting Wednesday, the Senegalese capital hosted this three-day regional consultation, the first of its kind, with civil society organisations. The AfDB will host a total of five such consultations between now and the end of 2016 at the level of African regional economic communities on the subject of its agenda for the continent’s transformation.

Eighty people, primarily representing West African civil society and AfDB managers, discussed the five priorities of the Bank’s Ten Year Strategy, known as the High 5s, and how civil society organisations can contribute to their implementation.

Following the presentation of three of the Bank’s High 5 priorities, Maria Mulindi, Advisor to the AfDB President, emphasized throughout the discussion that the Bank’s mission is to reach out to African populations at the base of the pyramid. “The Bank wants to work through you (civil society) to reach the base of the pyramid,” she said Wednesday.

“In Lusaka, the Bank’s leadership started a conversation with you about its priorities in three areas: energy, agriculture and youth employment,” said Mulindi, referring to the AfDB’s Annual Meetings in Zambia in May 2016, during which the Bank held a forum for civil society organisations (CSOs) that began a high-level dialogue with these organisations,

“The AfDB’s President has said that there will be regional consultations. He told us not to shirk our responsibilities,” she said, encouraging civil society to state its viewpoints on these priorities for transforming the African continent between now and 2025.

Several West African civil society leaders made the trip. They “all belong to civil society organisations involved in the three priority areas (energy, agriculture and youth employment)”, which are at the centre of the Dakar regional consultation, according to Zéneb Touré, Principal Civil Society Engagement Officer with the AfDB.

During the discussions following the presentation of these themes, Khady Fall Tall, the president of the Association des femmes de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (AFAO), the West African Women’s Association, expressed her interest in seeing the AfDB screen and identify civil society organisations that can help achieve the five priorities outlined in its ten-year plan.

“We are grateful to the AfDB for trying to work with us (civil society),” she said. “There are many civil societies in Africa. There is the development civil society that works at the base, a society that works on human rights, but it should also be noted that we have a political civil society,” she emphasized. She then asked the Bank to “support the development civil society that works with rural populations to achieve these five priorities.”

Komi Abitor, with the Togolese NGO ETD (Businesses, Land and Development), praised this new step taken by the African Development Bank in working with African civil society for the implementation of its Ten Year Strategy.

“The AfDB has truly changed its intervention strategy and policy. From what we’ve seen, the Bank is now positioning itself as a major inclusive development player for our countries,” Abitor said. “I feel that through these five priorities, the Bank is speaking a language that is close to that of civil society organisations. The AfDB is starting to speak our language,” he added.

He said he is “convinced” that civil society organisations can bring all their expertise to Africa’s premier financial institution. “Our contribution is to be involved in identifying development projects that will address the strategies defined by the Bank, while taking into account the real needs of the people of Africa,” continued Abitor, who asked that “civil society be involved in implementing projects and participating in a constructive dialogue as part of the evaluation of these programmes.”

Following the forum it held with African civil society during the Bank’s last Annual Meeting in Lusaka in May, the African Development Bank will hold five workshops at the regional economic community level around its Ten Year Strategy based on the five priorities.

During these regional workshops, the Bank and the CSOs will work to identify flagship projects from among three priority areas and develop a partnership structure between the two parties for the next ten years.

Dakar is just the first step in this process. Other regional consultations will be held in Tunis on September 14 to 16, in Yaoundé on September 28 to 30, in Johannesburg on November 14 to 16, and in Nairobi on November 30 to December 2, 2016.

 

*Source AFDB.Contact: Zéneb Touré, Principal Civil Society Engagement Officer, z.toure@afdb.org

 

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African Ambassadors meet in Morocco ahead of COP22
September 2, 2016 | 0 Comments
nfo session at the African Development Bank in Rabat for African Ambassadors in preparation for COP22

nfo session at the African Development Bank in Rabat for African Ambassadors in preparation for COP22

Rabat, Morocco, September 2, 2016 – The African Development Bank and the UN Economic Commission for Africa held an information session on Wednesday, August 31, 2016 in Rabat, in partnership with the COP22 Steering Committee, for African Ambassadors based in Morocco, in preparation for the upcoming Climate Change Conference. The meeting aimed to present the stakes for Africa at COP22, to prepare countries’ participation and to support existing efforts to coordinate the African participation at the UN climate talks.

The 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP22) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), taking place in Marrakech, Morocco, from November 7-18, 2016, is the third Climate Change Conference taking place on African soil, after COP7 (2001) and COP17 (2011), which were held in Marrakech and Durban, South Africa, respectively. This will be a key moment for Africans to push for global commitments towards the implementation of the Paris Agreement adopted in December 2015 and a shift towards resilient, low carbon development.

AfDB and ECA are both members of the ClimDev-Africa Committee, which manages the Africa Pavilion during COP. This year, the Africa Pavilion will be an important space for delegations to discuss common development issues, defend their interests, network and showcase efforts undertaken to build more resilient economies.

Africa will also be at the heart of various initiatives featured in the COP22 village, especially in the areas dedicated to innovation and solutions, and civil society.

“The COP22 Civil Society team recently visited 14 African countries to mobilize the continent’s community networks. We are also raising awareness among the African press through a second press trip to Morocco including 60 journalists this time. All this to say how important mobilizing the continent of Africa is for Morocco,” said Driss El Yazami, COP22 Chef of Civil Society Activities.

“COP22 is an African COP and we encourage your strong participation in Marrakech to defend the continent’s interests,” added Abdeslam Bekrate, Head of Logistics and Security, COP22 Steering Committee.

“According to ECA research, a global temperature increase of 2°C by 2050 could cause Africa’s GDP to decline by 4.7%. However, Africa can still turn the tide in its favour and achieve more resilient and inclusive development by taking advantage of its late industrial development to leapfrog towards green industrialization,” said Omar Abdourahman, Acting Director of the ECA Office for North Africa, ahead of the meeting.

 “Africa is part of the solution for the implementation of the Paris Agreement, which starts with COP22 in Morocco. Africa currently has four priorities: adaptation, mitigation, financing and the strengthening of the negotiation process”, said Yacine Fal, the AfDB Resident Representative in Morocco.

*AFDB For more information about African preparations for COP22, please follow these accounts on Twitter: @COP22, @ClimDevAfrica, @AfDB_Group, and @CEA_ANcoms.

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AfDB President Adesina’s first year in office and a remarkable transformation agenda
September 1, 2016 | 0 Comments
AFDB's Adesina

AFDB’s Adesina

During his investiture as the 8th elected President of the African Development Bank Group on 1st September 2015, Akinwumi Adesina pledged “to help build a new Africa with prosperous, sustainable and inclusive growth; one that is peaceful, secure and united, regionally integrated and globally competitive.” The ultimate goal: to remake Africa in a decade.

Participants at the ceremony were excited with the well-articulated optimism from the new President. Some feared the targets were too high to be attained. However, one year on, those goals now appear within reach as the Bank rolls out strategies, forges partnerships and mobilises resources to make the pledges a reality. People are beginning to pay attention. Last May at the Bank’s Annual Meetings in Lusaka, Governors representing the 80 member-countries of the Bank Group agreed that the institution’s work programmes were on track to achieve the inaugural promise.

Leveraging resources for critical projects

The facts on the ground speak for themselves – the new administration has scaled up the Bank’s operations to unprecedented levels while developing a ten-year transformation agenda designed to resolve five critical existential challenges, which the continent has grappled with over the years.

For instance, loan and grant approvals shot up to a new annual high of US $9 billion at the end of 2015; with projections that the amount would rise by 20% to US $11 billion by the end of 2016. Actual disbursement is programmed to reach US $6.6 billion, with one third of the amount already disbursed. This represents a giant step compared with the US $4.55 billion realised in 2015 and 4.14 billion in 2014. It is worth noting that actual disbursements rates against targets had been falling steadily from 98% in 2012 to 81.9% in 2015, largely due to disbursement delays which have now been reduced substantially.

The mobilisation of jumbo loans amounting to nearly US $2 billion through syndication to South Africa’s energy utility (Eskom);Morocco’s Ouarzazate solar complex, which is considered to be the largest in Africa; and for the extension of Ethiopia’s growing energy industry under the Bank’s New Deal on Energy for Africa in a couple of months clearly signposted its high ambition and its future directions. “We should never have a low ambition for Africa,” says Adesina.

When vast areas of Eastern and Southern Africa were hit by a devastating drought, the Bank immediately packaged US $549 million in financing to help the countries concerned to deal with the situation and reduce their vulnerability to the hazards.

The High 5s to drive Africa’s transformation

All of these were implemented at the same time that the Bank crafted a set of critical priorities programs within its Ten Year Strategy called the “High 5s” – Light up and power AfricaFeed Africa,Industrialise AfricaIntegrate Africa, and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.

Although it is difficult to contemplate one of these priorities without the other, energy (Light up and power Africa), was identified as the key priority by Governors and participants at the Lusaka meetings. It is the lifeblood of all human activity, a sine qua non in agriculture and food production, industry integration and for improving people’s living conditions. It is also worthy to note that the New Deal on Energy for Africa is the 23rd such initiative in the sector on the continent with exception that this time, the AfDB, an Africa institution, is taking the lead. Thus, a dedicated team has been constituted to implement the energy programme by tapping the continent’s huge energy resources and to accelerate universal access to electricity in Africa by 2025. The Bank plans to invest US $12 billion in the energy sector over the next five years and leverage US $40-50 billion to the energy sector, though a wide range of co-development partnerships.

In a short period of time, the Bank has taken the leadership position on electrification of Africa. An ambitious African Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI) was launched during the COP21 climate talks in Paris. At the AU Summit in Kigali in July, the African Heads of State approved the establishment of the AREI, to be based at the African Development Bank. The Bank moved quickly and the Director of the Initiative was recruited and assumed work in August. The European Union, France and Germany have pledged significant financing for the initiative.

Making agro-business the foundation for growth

The approval of the “Feed Africa: Strategy for Agricultural Transformation in Africa, 2016-2025,” followed with a projected investment estimated at US $315-400 billion and annual returns of US $85 billion, when fully funded. The idea is to drive transformation through 15 priority commodity value chains in agro-ecological zones specifically to achieve self-sufficiency in key commodities such as rice, wheat, fish, palm oil, horticulture, cassava; move up the value chain in key export-oriented commodities like cocoa, coffee, cotton, cashew; create a food-secure Sahel in sorghum, millet, livestock; and realize the potential of the Guinea savannah in maize, soybean and livestock.

The Feed Africa Strategy makes a strong case for reversing the scandalous situation of a continent that spends US $35.4 billion on food imports annually despite being home to 65% of the world’s undeveloped arable land.

Crowding resources through co-development

In July, the Bank approved the Industrialisation Strategy which aims to develop industrial sector and policy framework; enhance trade and integrate Africa into the regional and international value chains as well as boost competitiveness and value creation by expanding supply of business services.

Under the strategy, the Bank will support countries by championing six flagship programs: foster successful industrial policies; catalyse funding in infrastructure and industry projects; grow liquid and effective capital markets; promote and drive enterprise development; promote strategic partnerships; and develop efficient industry clusters.

The Bank would also increase its level of funding and crowding-in third party resources to the tune of US $35-56 billion over the next decade. It will also leverage additional resources through partnerships, with other development finance institutions, relevant UN agencies, the African Union Commission, regional economic communities, and special purpose vehicles providing seed funds. In addition, substantial amounts will be mobilized through syndication and co-financing in support of phased programs that would be specific to local contexts and in line with the countries’ development goals.

At the 2016 Annual Meetings, the Bank launched the new Jobs for Youth in Africa Strategy, which aims to create 25 million jobs in 10 years, and provide needed skills to another 50 million.

AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina with Rwanda’s Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo, at the 35th Session of the NEPAD Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee meeting in Kigali on July 16, 2016

AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina with Rwanda’s Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo, at the 35th Session of the NEPAD Heads of State and Government Orientation Committee meeting in Kigali on July 16, 2016

The Bank also initiated a new partnership for promoting nutrition in Africa, which underscores the critical importance of nutrition on development with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Dangote Foundation and Big Win Philanthropy. “It is clear that the first 1,000 days from conception to the development of the child is crucial with regards to nutrition. We need to lead the charge where nutrition is the outcome of development,” Adesina said.

At the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) in Nairobi from August 27-28, Japan’s Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, said his country would provide US$ 10 billion for infrastructure development in Africa. A significant share of the resources will be channeled through the AfDB, which is a huge mark of confidence in the Bank and its High 5s. The Bank and Japan will also provide US $3 billion to support Africa’s private sector under the third phase of the Enhanced Private Sector Assistance for Africa (EPSA) initiative.

Analysts have commended the diligence and sense of urgency, which underlie the design and rollout of these programmes following wide consultations and buy-ins from stakeholders and potential public and private sector partners that provide a strong guarantee for success.

A new model for innovation and change

The entire process will be driven by a new Development and Business Delivery Model (DBDM) approved by the Board in April to streamline the Bank’s work and improve its efficiency.

The DBDM is anchored on five pillars – move closer to the Bank’s clients to enhance delivery; reconfigure the headquarters to support the regions to deliver better outcomes, strengthen the performance culture to attract and maintain talent, streamline business processes to promote efficiency and effectiveness, and improve financial performance and increase development impact – to deliver the High 5s.

Under the DBDM, four sector complexes, led by Vice-Presidents, have been created. Three of them are focusing on four of the High 5 priorities, with a mandate to develop a strategy to achieve them, and the fourth will cover Economic Governance.

The new Power, Energy and Green Growth sector complex will deliver the “Light up and power Africa” priority. The new Agriculture, Human and Social Development Complex sector complex will work to “Feed Africa” and “Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa”. A slightly adjusted Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialisation complex will focus on “Industrialise Africa”. The final High 5 priority, “Integrate Africa”, will be driven collectively by the regional development, integration and business delivery hubs. The Chief Economist’s Office will provide leadership for macroeconomic management, governance and counter-cyclical budget support.

“I believe we can all be proud that this Bank has an exceptional record in serving Africa,” President Adesina wrote in a message to all staff announcing the DBDM. “When it reached its 50thanniversary in 2014, it had many millions of reasons to celebrate, in the form of the many millions of lives it has touched. Our task now is to ensure that the Bank continues to move forward to deliver greater development impact for the people of Africa. We must constantly have greater ambitions for Africa. Africa must think big, act big and deliver big.”

Reinvigorating countries on the path to transformation

AfDB President Akinwumi A. Adesina ended his first year on a state visit to Madagascar from August 29 to 31, where the President of the country, Hery Rajaonarimampianina, and the Government appreciated his visit as reinvigorating them on the path to transformation. The government authorities highlighted the alignment of their national development strategy with the Bank’s High 5s with agriculture and energy being very high on their agenda.

Adesina said that the African Development Bank stands by the Government in its development efforts to improve the living conditions of the people of Madagascar. The Bank, he added, will provide the necessary support to improve the business environment which is crucial for the promotion of a vibrant private sector. During the coming years, the Bank will also strengthen its cooperation in the sectors of road, agriculture, mining, water, health and education.

In recognition of his visit and his leadership for Africa’s development, President Adesina was decorated with the highest honour of the National Order Award. This seemed not only a befitting way to begin the work in earnest of implementing the High 5s. And if indeed there is a country where the Bank can make a huge difference it is Madagascar.

The decoration by the government on Madagascar recalls a previous one. In October 2015, President Adesina was decorated by the Senegalese Government. He was named Grand Officer of the National Order of the Lion (Grand Officier de l’Ordre National du Lion). He received the decoration from Senegalese President Macky Sall, who saluted his commitment to take African agriculture to a higher level that will make it the true engine of Africa’s economic growth. The decoration took place in Dakar during the Bank’s High-Level Conference on Agriculture.

By every standard, Adesina’s first year in office has been remarkable for the momentum it has unleashed for Africa’s economic transformation. This change is critical for Africa and Africans.

*courtesy of Olivia Ndong Obiang, Principal Communication Officer, o.ndong-obiang@afdb.org

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AfDB youth empowerment effort addresses Africa’s fragile industrialisation
August 30, 2016 | 0 Comments

The African Development Bank (AfDB) President, Akinwumi Adesina, has addressed the challenge of creating jobs for youth in Africa, while outlining a number of initiatives the Bank is undertaking to stop the unemployment crisis from complicating Africa’s current security challenges.

“The future of the African youth lies in a prosperous Africa, not at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea. Africa hosts the world’s youngest population,” President Adesina told an Africa Youth Entrepreneurship Forum at the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) in Nairobi, Kenya, on Sunday, August 28, 2016.

The Forum, under the theme, “Catalysing the Next Generation of Africa’s Youth Entrepreneurship for Sustainable Industrialisation,” focused on the steps required to turn the agriculture sector into a centre of economic growth and industrialisation.

Addressing the Forum, President Adesina pointed out a number of approaches the Bank has undertaken recently to create jobs and end the potentially dangerous consequences of youth unemployment, including the uncontrolled migration, radicalisation of the youth, and the loss of Africa’s growth esteem. These include the Jobs for Youth in Africa (JfYA) Strategy, designed to create 25 million jobs and positively impact 50 million youth over the next decade. The Bank has also embarked on the ENABLE (Empowering Novel Agri-Business Led Employment) Youth initiative, which aims at promoting youth entrepreneurship in agriculture and agri-business.

“Fragility cannot stop creativity,” Adesina said referring to the story of 19-year old entrepreneur Kelvin Doe, who has built a radio station from scratch in Liberia, a West African country recovering from conflict.

President Adesina said a youthful population of 840 million people requires job training and building up of skilled workers to empower the youth to take advantage of a rapidly globalised world. “This demographic dividend can be powerful, if it can unleash a generation of well-educated, skilled and productive workforce,” Adesina said during the session, which was attended by eminent scholars, youth entrepreneurs and innovators, business leaders and researchers from across Africa.

The AfDB estimates 10-12 million young Africans enter the job market every year, but only three million of them secure employment in the formal sector. Adesina said to cope with the burgeoning youth population, Africa will need to create 18 million jobs annually. “Youth unemployment in Africa is a ticking time bomb and is a source of social fragility,” he warned. Initiatives such as Andela were commended for empowering youth with skills in technology. The Nigerian-based firm recruits youth and trains them in software development, before helping them find work in international technology firms.

Peter Mbithi, University of Nairobi Vice Chancellor, told the Forum that most African start-ups die within five years of their establishment due to the lack of business management skills and a dearth of entrepreneurship training. “It is important that entrepreneurs focus on these areas… Africa needs innovation in drought-resistant seeds and the policies should focus on commercialisation of innovation. We also need to focus on research in agriculture and innovation that deals with the local problems,” he said.

Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Youth and Public Service, Cecily Kariuki, noted that state policies for tackling the problem of youth employment were currently focused on strengthening the capacity of existing industries and economic empowerment. “Strengthening the existing industries is the backbone of economic development. Adopting knowledge and innovation is unique, as this holds a great promise. The dream of Africa’s industrialisation will continue to grow,” the Minister said.

The AfDB has targeted programs that provide financial capital to SMEs including those owned by youth. The Bank’s Africa Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Program provides financial and technical assistance to several SMEs across Africa.

*AFDB.Media contact: Joyce Mulama, tel +254 724975170, j.mulama@afdb.org

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AfDB approves US $100-million non-sovereign guarantee corporate loan for Export Trading Group (ETG)
August 30, 2016 | 0 Comments

warehousing06The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group has approved a seven-year, non-sovereign guarantee, US $100-million corporate loan to the Export Trading Group (ETG), to finance part of part of the company’s five-year Agricultural Investment Program (IP) in Africa. The programme will promote employment for youths and women, and adopt an integrated value-chain approach that emphasizes access to regional and global markets.

Africa faces a significant food security challenge and continues to depend on food imports to meet the ever-growing demand. The continent spent over US $35 billion to import food in 2015 and net food imports are projected to increase to more than US $110 billion by 2025. If this trend continues un-checked, Africa and its economies will be heading for major crisis, being the most food-insecure region in the world with more than 232 million under-nourished people.

ETG is one of the largest and fastest-growing integrated agricultural supply chain managers and processors in Sub-Saharan Africa. The Group was founded in Kenya in the 1960s before moving to Tanzania and is now headquartered in Dubai. The key commodities traded by the Group are fertilizer, maize, rice, oil seeds, cashew nuts, sesame seeds, pulses, wheat, cotton, coffee, and sugar

ETG’s investment program will consist of: (i) Fertilizer projects in Kenya and Zambia; (ii) Processing Plants (rice, cashew, maize, sesame, cotton, biscuit) in Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique, Togo, Ethiopia, Benin, Zimbabwe, Nigeria and Uganda; (iii) Multi-commodity warehouses in Burkina Faso, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Niger, Benin, Nigeria, Zambia and Ethiopia; and (iv) Silos in Zimbabwe.

The program is strongly aligned with four of the top five priorities (High 5s) of the Bank namely Feed Africa, Industrialise Africa, Integrate Africa, and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa. It will significantly contribute not only in improving food productivity in Africa, but most importantly in value addition and the wide distribution of food across the continent using the sponsor’s broad distribution networks.

Photograph © nic bothmaThe project, approved by the AfDB Board on July 13, 2016, is expected to generate significant development outcomes at local, national and regional levels, notably: (i) contribution to food security; (ii) contribution to food import substitution, job creation, fiscal revenues; (ii) contribution to smallholders access to inputs (seeds and fertilizers), mechanization and international markets thereby ensuring significant revenues to farmers; (iii) integration of poorer sections of the population into a sustainable process of economic growth and development; (vi) enhance efficiency of value chains for different crops by increasing the infrastructure base and capacity for value addition; (v) regional integration by developing sustainable platforms to supply local and regional markets and aiming to export markets integration; (vi) contribution to industrialization with new processing plants.

*AFDB

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African Union to Use Imports Cash to Get $1.2 Billion Funds
July 18, 2016 | 0 Comments
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FIRST AFRICAN PASSPORTS GO TO PRESIDENTS OF RWANDA AND CHAD
July 18, 2016 | 0 Comments

The African Union wants to roll out the continental passport to millions of Africans.

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AU Confirms Will Hold Elections, Denies Split
July 18, 2016 | 0 Comments

By Chris Stein*

Heads of state and government pose during a photo call before the official opening of the 27th African Union (AU) Summit in Kigali on July 17, 2016.

Heads of state and government pose during a photo call before the official opening of the 27th African Union (AU) Summit in Kigali on July 17, 2016.

The African Union summit meeting in Kigali will be voting for a new AU commission on Monday, despite rumors of a call for the election to be delayed.

There have been persistent rumors at the summit that the ECOWAS bloc of west African states is unhappy with the choice of candidates offered to succeed outgoing AU commission chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.

There are three candidates, two of them women, former Uganda vice president Specioza Wandira Kazibwe and Botswana Foreign Minister Pelonomi Venson Moitoi, and Equatorial Guinea Foreign Minister Agapito Mba Mokuy.

Late Sunday an AU legal counsel, Vincent O Nmehielle, denied the rumors of a delay.

“Stop speculating.  There is no ECOWAS concern that has made an election to be postponed.  Elections are going forward tomorrow.  No more names are entering the list, while the elections are going on tomorrow.  If somehow we are not able to obtain the necessary majority then the rules will kick in and you will be advised as to the outcome,” Nmehielle said.

ECOWAS does not determine whether AU commission elections are held, he added.

AU rules say the winning candidate must obtain two thirds of member states’ votes.  Nmehielle explained that if no one wins this majority in the first round, the candidate with least votes will be knocked out and a second round held.

If a two thirds majority is still not obtained, he said, the election will be suspended pending another vote and an interim chairperson appointed.

One journalist questioned the democratic credentials of some of the candidates’ home countries.  Nmehielle declined to comment.

“Can you define democracy for me?  When you say candidates from undemocratic countries I do not know what you mean.  They are members of the African Union.  To be a candidate it is open to all members of the African Union,” Nmehielle said.

According to AU rules the commission chairperson and deputy chairperson are elected by heads of states or their representatives at the summit, while the eight commissioners are elected by member states’ foreign ministers.

*VOA

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Morocco seeks to rejoin African Union after Western Sahara row
July 16, 2016 | 0 Comments

_90402957_moroccoMorocco has sent a special envoy to lobby African leaders to rejoin the African Union 32 years after it left in a row over Western Sahara.

Taib Fassi Fihri met Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta in Nairobi and said Morocco wants to re-join the AU without any preconditions.

Morocco claims Western Sahara as part of its territory, much of which it has occupied since 1975.

But the AU recognises Western Sahara as an independent state.

Morocco is the only African country not to be an AU member.

The AU, however, says it will continue pushing for the rights of Western Sahara to hold a referendum on its self-determination.

Brahim Ghali, the new leader of the North African territory is expected to attend the African Union summit in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, according to the AU’s deputy chairperson Erastus Mwencha.

Thousands of Sahrawis have spent years in refugee camps

Thousands of Sahrawis have spent years in refugee camps

Mr Ghali was elected the Western Sahara president and secretary-general of the independence movement Polisario Front on 9 July.

He replaced long-time leader Mohamed Abdelaziz who died in May.

How did we get here?

  • 1975-76: Morocco annexes two-thirds of Western Sahara after colonial power Spain withdraws.
  • 1975-76: Polisario Front declares the Saharan Arab Democratic Republic (SADR), with a government-in-exile in Algeria. Thousands of Sahrawi refugees flee to western Algeria to set up camps.
  • 1984: Morocco leaves the Organisation of African Unity (which later became the African Union) in protest at the SADR’s admission to the body.
  • 1991: UN-monitored ceasefire begins in Western Sahara, but the territory’s status remains undecided and ceasefire violations are reported. The following decade sees much wrangling over a proposed referendum on the future of the territory but the deadlock is not broken.
  • March 2016: Morocco threatens to pull its soldiers out of UN global peacekeeping missions in Western Sahara, after UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon uses the term “occupation” when referring to the territory.
  • May 2016: Long-time Polisario Front leader Mohamed Abdelaziz dies aged 68
  • *BBC
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Election of New Chair to Top AU Summit Agenda
July 8, 2016 | 0 Comments

By Jill Craig ,

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, chairperson of the African Union Commission, is to step down after holding the position for the last four years

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, chairperson of the African Union Commission, is to step down after holding the position for the last four years

As heads of state meet amid the rolling hills of Kigali for the African Union summit, which kicks off Sunday, the biggest item on the agenda will be the selection of the next AU Commission chairperson.

The current chair, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma of South Africa, is to step down after holding the position for the last four years.

“I think it’s important to stress that who leads the African Union Commission matters,” said Elissa Jobson, advisor on African Union relations for the International Crisis Group. “And it matters immensely. The chairperson is responsible for shaping the continent’s economic, political and security agendas, and so it’s really key that they have the best candidate in this job.”

So far, there are three candidates. Two are current foreign ministers, one from Botswana and the other from Equatorial Guinea. The third candidate is Uganda’s former vice president and a former U.N. special envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa.

But Peter Pham, the director of the Washington-based Africa Center at the Atlantic Council, cautions that Dlamini Zuma’s successor may not come out of this summit, since a two-thirds majority vote is required.

“This time around, with three relatively unknown candidates, it might well be the case that a two-thirds majority is not achieved, and there is additional campaigning and the possibility that other candidates might throw their hats in the ring,” said Pham.

The leadership turnover doesn’t stop there. A new deputy chairperson and eight commissioners of the AU will also be selected, according to Monde Muyangwa, director of the Africa Program at the Wilson Center.

“So you have a huge leadership transition occurring at the African Union and so this is really going to determine which way does the African Union go,” said Muyangwa.

ICC issue simmers

Back in January, an AU ministerial committee was asked to draw up a strategy regarding the International Criminal Court, giving special consideration to whether AU member countries should leave.

Critics of the ICC point out that all of the cases it has investigated or prosecuted stemmed from Africa.

The committee said that in order to prevent an African withdrawal from the court, the ICC should grant immunity from prosecution to sitting heads of state and other senior officials. But that demand is at odds with many human rights activists, who say it would undermine the effectiveness of the court.

Elise Keppler, the associate director of the International Justice Program at Human Rights Watch said, “Now whether or not the conclusions and assessments of that committee are going to be considered at this AU summit is not clear, although it’s important to note that we have seen again and again in the past few years that the issue of the ICC and AU attacks on the ICC regularly comes up very last minute, sometimes on the floor of the debate at the African Union summit. So really, we don’t know for sure now, but anything is possible.”

Pham doesn’t believe the ICC issue will become a priority at this particular summit, because no sitting head of state other than President Omar al-Bashir of Sudan, is under threat, although he says in the long-term, the issue will be important.

“In many respects, the collapse of the ICC case against the president of Kenya, in a way took a bit of the urgency out of the African threat to withdrawal from the ICC,” he said

War crimes court for South Sudan?

South Sudan will likely be discussed. HRW’s Keppler said the AU was tasked in the 2015 peace agreement to establish a hybrid court to prosecute crimes committed during the conflict, because the country is not a part of the ICC.

“And we’ve been looking to the African Union commission to get this process off the ground. I think a great outcome from the summit would be to see that there is encouragement for more progress,” said Keppler.

Last month, South Sudan’s leadership called on the international community to “reconsider” setting up that tribunal in an op-ed published in The New York Times.

Meanwhile, the 54-nation bloc will be issuing its first e-passports, which will go to AU heads of state, permanent representatives of these states and ministers of foreign affairs as part of a pilot program.

The goal of the new passport is to ease restrictions in the movements of people, goods and services across national lines.

“Which is a step at least symbolically in the direction of a closer union, a pan-African identity,” said Pham. “But the reality is that despite those aspirations and those ambitions, it’s not the want of passports that causes Africans not to travel to each other’s countries, and to trade and do business with each other. It’s the lack of transportation infrastructure that makes that. A passport won’t do you any good if you don’t have a road that will get you from one place to another, or you don’t have customs officials and customs clearing houses to expedite the passage of goods.”

Muyangwa expressed a bit more optimism that the e-passports will be more than just symbolic.

“I’ve been encouraged by the discussion on the benefits of this e-passport at the highest levels in Africa so hopefully this is something that you’re going to get more and more countries signing up for and hopefully becoming a reality in the next few years.”

The AU summit opens July 10 and culminates with the heads of state meeting on July 17 and 18.

*VOA

 

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