The president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, has visited government officials and private and public sector business leaders to discuss the role between the bank and the Dutch government in strengthening Africa’s developmental agenda
“Africa is growing economically. Foreign direct investment is on the increase. This is due to political stability and improved governance. Africa is open and ready to do business,” Adesina said.
Sigrid A.M. Kaag, minister for foreign trade and development cooperation, The Netherlands, said that the adoption of renewable energy by a growing number of African countries was a major element to reducing the fragility of countries and to fighting climate change and said this aligned closely with her government’s policy.
Making a similar point, Peter van Mierlo, CEO of the Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO), called for greater harmonisation between the work of FMO and the Bank in the area of energy, agriculture and institutional investment.
Commercial banks are withdrawing from trade finance and as such FMO and AfDB would be able to work jointly in boosting trade financing, Mierlo said. Currently, joint projects between FMO and the Bank are estimated at US$55mn.
Addressing a high-level roundtable with Dutch Business Leaders, Adesina presented the Africa Investment Forum (AIF), the Bank’s innovative marketplace scheduled for 7-9 November in Johannesburg, South Africa. The AIF will bring together project sponsors, lenders, fund managers and investors, to attract investment and capital for development, projects in Africa.
“Our role is to mobilise capital for Africa. We have done this through the High 5 Agenda. In the energy sector, the AfDB is investing US$12bn over the next five years, with the goal of leveraging US$40bn to US$50bn. The Bank will also be investing US$24bn, over 10 years, in agriculture to implement its Feed Africa Strategy,” Adesina said.
Susan Shannon, vice-president for government relations, policy and international organisations for Shell, said that the move towards cleaner and renewable energy in African countries had resulted in a higher level of engagement by the oil giant on the continent.
“What Africa does with agriculture will determine the future of food in the world,” Adesina further added. “The greatest agenda we have is how to unlock Africa’s agricultural potential. If Africa can get the right technology to raise productivity, transform its savannahs, turn agriculture into a business and address the issue of nutrition. Africa can feed itself in 10 years and contribute to feeding the world in the years to come.”
To expand opportunities for youth, women and private sector players, Adesina is on a global mission to promote and seek support for the bank’s Affirmative Finance for Women in Africa (AFAWA) programme which aims to mobilise US$3bn to support women entrepreneurs who historically lack access to finance land and land titles.