Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo, Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique, President Samia Suluhu Hassan of Tanzania, and Azali Assoumani of Comoros have voiced strong support for the the African Development Bank Group to lead in financing the continent’s development.
The leaders shared a stage during a presidential dialogue session on the opening day of the African Development Bank Group’s 2022 Annual Meetings; they were joined by Rwandan Prime Minister Édouard Ngirente, and the Vice President of Côte d’Ivoire, Tiémoko Meyliet Koné.
Akufo-Addo said the African Development Bank has played a significant role in helping member countries meet their critical development needs and building resilience. In Ghana, the Bank has invested in several areas – in agriculture, transport infrastructure, water and sanitation, and electricity.
He said: “There is a need for a collective voice to strengthen the Bank. We will look at how effectively we can move down the line to explore how the bank can have access to substantial resources to do more to help member countries.”
President Hassan said the African Development Bank had played a vital role in addressing the socio-economic challenges she faced when she assumed office. As the first female leader in East Africa and Tanzania, her major challenge was how to win the trust of the people and prove that she could deliver growth at a time when Covid-19 impacted the economy, slowing economic growth to 4% from an average of 6.8%.
She added: “As we speak, we have grown to 5.5% this year and my expectation is that we’d rebound to 6.7% by 2025. I am thankful to multilateral development banks such as the African Development Bank. They supported us with infrastructure development. Now they are supporting us with the construction of an airport. They are also supporting us in agriculture.”
Prime Minister Ngirente said under a national policy, the government set up a recovery fund to cushion the hardest-hit businesses in the wake of the pandemic, including hotels. He added that Rwanda is currently building a plant to produce fertilizers locally. The government also set up an agriculture subsidy to support seed production locally and has invested heavily in post-harvest management to minimize losses. He said Rwanda strongly supports the call for a stronger replenishment of the African Development Fund.
Elsewhere on the continent, other African leaders have expressed collective support for more resources to empower the African Development Bank Group in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change, and most recently, a looming food crisis due to the Russia-Ukraine war.
This year’s meetings are being held in a hybrid format under the theme: “Achieving climate resilience and a just energy transition for Africa.” The Annual Meetings also mark the 50th anniversary of the African Development Fund, the concessional arm of the Bank Group.