AfDB annual meetings: Focus on West Africa

Some 3 000 bankers, development experts and partners gathered from 21-25 May at the 53rd annual meetings of the African Development Bank (AfDB) in Busan, Korea. “Accelerating Africa’s Industrialization,” one of AfDB’s five priority areas, was the official theme of the event. What’s in it for West Africa? AfDB is increasing its presence in West Africa, with the approval of three new country offices in Benin, Guinea and Niger in February 2017. With UA 1.24 billion in 2017 in approved projects, West Africa attracted the highest rate of AfDB approvals in 2017 (25.7%). The transport sector, with a regional express train project and an urban transport programme for Dakar, absorbed 38% of AfDB’s spending in the region. AfDB also supported a UA 80 million project for developing an agro-industrial pole in the Belier region of Côte d’Ivoire. In the energy sector, AfDB funded three renewable energy projects and two major power interconnection projects between Guinea and Mali, and the North Core project linking Benin, Burkina Faso, Niger and Nigeria.  In Burkina Faso, AfDB supported, together with the French Development Agency (AFD), the development of a 50MW solar project, which will be the largest utility-scale solar power facility in West Africa. AfDB is also leading the Desert to Power initiative in Sahelian countries, aimed at connecting 250 million people to electricity including 75 million who will have access through off-grid systems. With respect to industrialisation, AfDB intends to help raise Africa’s industrial GDP by 130% by 2025 and drive Africa’s overall GDP from USD 2.2 trillion to USD 4.6 trillion. Several flagship projects are being implemented in West Africa. In Guinea, AfDB is co-financing the development of an integrated bauxite mining and transportation infrastructure operation. Notably, it contributed USD 100 million to the Boké mine project, which aims to upgrade the rail system linking Boké to the Kamsar port and develop a quay and container terminal to unlock the region’s trading and agricultural potential. In Mauritania, AfDB supported the National Industrial and Mining Company (SNIM) to expand its operations. Some 600 jobs were created. A number of new agreements were signed on the side-lines of the Busan meetings, including a new USD 3 million loan with Sierra Leone’s Union Trust Bank (UTB) to support women-owned businesses and SMEs working in the agricultural, energy, manufacturing and service sectors. AfDB is also co-funding, together with the African Development Fund and the EU, the regional road network integration project in the Lake Chad Basin to link the towns of Yagoua in Cameroon and Bongor in Chad with a 14-km road and a 620-meter bridge over the Logone River. The next AfDB annual meetings are scheduled to take place in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.


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