Donors commit $7.6bn in support of Africa’s low-income, fragile, natio

07Dec 2019
Correspondent
Johannesburg
The Guardian
Donors commit $7.6bn in support of Africa’s low-income, fragile, natio

Donors of the African Development Fund (ADF) on Thursday agreed to commit $7.6 billion to speed up growth in Africa’s poorest nations and help lift millions out of poverty.

This fifteenth replenishment of the ADF (ADF-15), up 32 per cent from the previous cycle, sends a strong signal of trust in the Fund – which is the concessional window of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB).

The Fund comprises 32 contributing states and benefits 37 countries, including those experiencing higher growth rates and headed towards new emerging markets, alongside fragile states needing special support for basic service delivery. The Fund’s resources are replenished every three years.

ADF-15 will support Africa’s most vulnerable countries by tackling the root causes of fragility, strengthening resilience and mainstreaming cross-cutting issues. These include gender, climate change, governance, private sector development and decent job creation.

“What a great pledge we have achieved with your support... Together we have exceeded the target set for this replenishment. What a great and successful replenishment story that is, “said AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina.

Over the past 45 years, the ADF has played a significant role in the development journey of African low-income countries. In just nine years, it has made a difference and positively impacted the lives of millions.

This includes by improving access to electricity for 10.9 million people and providing agriculture infrastructure and inputs for 90 million people, among them 43 million women.

It is also by improving access to markets and connections between countries to 66.6 million people, contributing to the continent’s regional integration agenda by rehabilitating more than 2,300 km of cross-border roads, and improving access to water and sanitation for 35.8 million people.

ADF-15 covers the period 2020-2022 and will build on the successes of the fourteenth replenishment by being more selective and focused.

It will focus on two strategic pillars: quality and sustainable infrastructure aimed at strengthening regional integration; and human governance and institutional capacity development for increased decent job creation and inclusive growth.

In pursuing these strategic priorities, ADF-15 will pay special attention to gender equality, climate change, private sector and the promotion of good governance.

Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) CEO Patrick Dlamini CEO, who spoke on behalf of South Africa’s Finance minister Tito Mboweni, said at the event that the deliberations and outcome demonstrated the confidence member countries place in the African Development Bank Group as “the cornerstone institution underpinning African development”.

“There is no better vehicle than the ADF,” he said, adding: “Going forward, an ambitious programme of development lies ahead.”

ADF-15 will address root causes of vulnerability by systematically applying a fragility lens in all its operations. This will be specifically targeted at regions such as the Sahel, which will see a 23 per cent increase in resources from the Fund over the next period.

ADF-15 comes at a time of tremendous opportunities and challenges for ADF countries and the world. During the next three years, it will scale up its interventions with bold and transformative projects such as Desert to Power stretching across the Sahel region.

This flagship programme is meant to transform the Sahel into the world’s largest solar production zone with up to 10,000 MW of solar generation capacity and 250 million people connected to electricity.

As part of the initiative, the Yeleen Rural Electrification Project in Burkina Faso is set to provide access to electricity to 150,000 households, while the Djermaya Project in Chad will generate 10 per cent of Chad’s power capacity.

“You will see a new spring in our step… We will be bold and decisive. We will stretch ourselves, and we will do more with your support,” Adesina said.

  • Agencies