Africa declared world’s best investment destination

By Guardian Reporter , The Guardian
Published at 08:00 AM May 22 2024
African Development Bank President Dr Akinwumi Adesina
Photo: Courtesy of AfDB
African Development Bank President Dr Akinwumi Adesina

AFRICA’S human, land, mineral resource and cross-border trade endowments combine to make it the world’s most promising investment destination, now and well into the future, African Development Bank Group President Dr Akinwumi Adesina said.

Speaking on Monday at the 50th anniversary celebration of the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) in Riyadh, Adesina outlined five reasons why Africa is the world’s investment frontier: The size and youthfulness of the population, the continent’s renewable energy potential, abundant arable land, and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which he noted is “the single largest free-trade zone in the world in terms of number of countries.”

Adesina further highlighted the resilience of African economies, “despite the challenges posed by climate change, geopolitical tensions, global inflation and rising debt, among others.”

The Bank Group president added, “Importantly, despite the headwinds, more than half of African countries—31—achieved higher real GDP growth rates in 2023 than in 2022. And most noteworthy is that 10 African countries are among the fastest-growing economies in the world.”

Adesina praised the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) and its leadership for their commitment to African development. 

This, he said, is manifested  in a strong collaboration with the African Development Bank, with the two institutions mobilizing $835 million—($235 million from BADEA and $600 million from the African Development Bank Group)—for agriculture, infrastructure, and renewable energy projects in nine African countries: the Gambia, Senegal, Madagascar, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Nigeria, Niger, Burkina Faso and Togo. 

 “Our partnership with BADEA is not just about co-financing projects… Our partnership is organic,” Adesina reiterated. 

“It started when the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa was only two years old, and the African Development Bank Group was ten years old. It is a childhood friendship that’s always truly very special.”

BADEA’s Board Chair, Dr Fahad Aldossari, went down memory lane, disclosing that BADEA was “established on February 18, 1974, by eighteen Arab nations… to support economic, financial and technical cooperation between the Arab and Africa regions, embodying Arab-African solidarity and cooperation and foundations of equality and friendship.”

Aldossari added, “We have actively encouraged Arab capital participation in Africa’s development through trade and investment support.”

The strategic partnership and its co-financing efforts are making significant strides in various sectors across the continent. Adesina highlighted a number of projects in Africa that have benefitted from the strategic partnership and co-financing by the African Development Bank Group and BADEA.

In the Gambia, the partnership is developing rice value chains to achieve self-sufficiency in rice production. 

Senegal is seeing the construction of a 200-kilometer highway between Dakar and Saint-Louis, a crucial development for tourism and agriculture. 

In Madagascar, the 205-megawatt Sahofika Hydropower project is contributing to universal access to electricity.

The partnership has provided Ethiopia with irrigation schemes, agro-industrial parks, and advanced agricultural technologies for farmers. 

It has helped establish the Rwanda Development Bank and provided financing to banks in Nigeria and the West African Development Bank. 

It supports Niger in the development of the Kandaji multipurpose dam for energy and irrigation.

In Burkina Faso, 218,000 new urban and peri-urban households have gained access to electricity through the Electrification and Power Connection Development Project, which is part of the African Development Bank’s Desert-to-Power initiative, aiming to develop 10,000 megawatts of electricity from solar energy across 11 Sahel countries, providing electricity to 250 million people.

The event was attended by dignitaries from the Government of Saudi Arabia, shareholder countries of BADEA, and heads of multilateral development finance institutions.