African Development Bank Group President Akinwumi Adesina has urged international development agencies in Africa to rally behind his institution’s efforts to mobilize more resources to help build resilience for sustainable development across Africa.
Adesina told diplomats and international agency representatives at a breakfast meeting in Accra last Thursday that African countries need more resources to fight climate change, to deal with insecurity, debt, and the impact of war in Ukraine. He said funds are also needed to address the massive infrastructure deficit, growing urbanization, and youth unemployment. .
Adesina was on a three-day visit to Ghana ahead of the African Development Bank Group’s 2022 Annual Meetings, due to take place in Accra from the 23rd to 27th of May.
Accompanying Adesina were the Bank Group’s Secretary General, Vincent Nmehielle; Acting Chief Economist and Vice President for Economic Governance and Knowledge Management Kevin Urama; Director General in the Office of the President Alex Mubiru; Executive Director representing The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Sudan, Kenyeh Barlay; and the Bank Group’s Ghana Country Manager Eyerusalem Fasika.
African Development Bank Group Secretary General Vincent Nmehielle delivering his welcome remarks at the event.
Among the attendees were Ghana’s Finance Minister, Kenneth Ofori-Atta, current chair of the African Development Bank Group’s Board of Governors, and Canadian High Commissioner Kati Csaba, co-chair of development partners working in Ghana.
The African Development Bank Group chief said his institution’s Annual Meetings would feature a presidential dialogue to make a case for more International Monetary Fund special drawing rights for Africa. He said the dialogue would also make a case for a substantial replenishment of the African Development Fund, the Bank Group’s concessional lending arm.
“We are making the case for a strong 16th replenishment of the African Development Fund. It is crucial for Africa, and I will very much appreciate your advocacy for a substantial replenishment,” Adesina stressed. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Fund’s establishment.
Adesina said the Bank is committed to doing more to improve livelihoods on the continent. “We need to have a lot more to drive a just energy transition, climate adaptation, to invest in infrastructure, in food production and to build resilience for Africa.”
The Bank Group president thanked African Development Fund member countries for their commitment to the Fund over the years. “You stayed true to the African Development Fund for the last 50 years. During that period, the Fund has provided about $45 billion financing to countries across Africa, including many states in fragile situations.”
Ofori-Atta said the Bank Group’s 2022 Annual Meetings offer a critical opportunity to discuss how to bolster the centrality of the Bank in mobilizing critical financing to propel development in African countries.
African leaders will use the gathering to discuss how to draw more private sector inflows to finance critical cross-cutting needs. “It is the type of energy that we want to send to your countries,” Ofori-Atta told the international development partners.
President Adesina in a one-on-one discussion with the Canadian High Commissioner to Ghana Kati Csaba, co-chair of development partners working in Ghana. Sharing the breakfast table are Ghana’s Finance Minister Kenneth Ofori-Atta, Chair of the African Development Bank Group’s Board of Governors, deputy Central Bank Governor Elsie Awadzi and the Bank Group’s Executive Director for Ghana Kenyeh Barlay.
High Commissioner Csaba said the Accra meetings provide a timely opportunity for the development community to join hands with the Bank Group and leaders to deliberate on the continent’s many challenges.
She said: “We are talking about the impact of Covid-19 economically, and from the human, social and health perspective, and how we pull ourselves towards recovery. The impact of the Russian war in Ukraine is having a major impact around the world and it is good that we should get together to see how we can address the issues, including food security, inflation and rising gas prices.”
Csaba said the diplomatic community is also committed to working with African countries to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals and address climate change.