AfDB: helping Africa drive quality growth following COVID-19

By Georgia Wilson
In an announcement made by the AfDB, the company stresses the importance of quality growth following the outbreak of COVID-19...

Beginning his second term as President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), President Akinwumi Adesina unveiled its vision to consolidate its successes over the last five years, hone its operations and exploit opportunities created by COVID-19.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything globally. It has thrown Africa’s growth back,” commented Adesina. “Now, we must help Africa build back boldly, but smartly, paying greater attention to quality growth: especially in the areas of health, climate and the environment.” 

In his speech, Adesina outlined the bank’s four strategic pillars that will drive quality, impact and maintain financial sustainability. These pillars included: institution, people, delivery, and sustainability.

Since 2015, the AfDB has been guided by its High-5 priorities, which the president believes will be enhanced and complemented by the new framework. Not only have these priorities guided the bank, but also align with continental and global development frameworks. 

The AfDB’s High-5 priorities include:

  • Light up and power Africa
  • Feed Africa
  • Industrialise Africa
  • Integrate Africa
  • Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa

To date, 18mn Africans have gained access to electricity, 60mn have new access to water, and 141mn benefit from improved agriculture technology for the production of food.

“UNDP has shown that achieving the High-5s would lead to achievement of 90% of the SDGs and the Agenda 2063 of the African Union,” commented Adesina. 

As part of the program, the bank plans to build on its agricultural success, scaling up technologies to support Africa in building a competitive agricultural value chain, as well as creating high-tech and creative opportunities to drive youth engagement. 

In addition, the bank aims to strengthen its operations, which comes as a direct response to the challenges created by the ongoing pandemic and the banks own long term efforts to meet Africa’s development needs. 

“The future beckons the Bank to be more agile and more selective; to scale up what’s working already and reinforce its own institutional and human capacity. Our Bank must ensure its own long-term financial sustainability to drive Africa’s growth further, deeper and faster in the years to come,” added Adesina.

AfDB’s response to the pandemic

In response to COVID-19 the bank established a response facility of up to US$10bn in order to provide flexible and targeted support to its member countries. With the pandemic highlighting the need for a greater strategic focus on Africa’s healthcare system, Adesina further stressed that the bank “will pay increased attention to supporting Africa with quality health care infrastructure, and building on its comparative advantage in infrastructure.” 

“When you first elected me five years ago, I had a vision. Five years later, I have yet a vision to build on our collective achievements over the next five years. A vision to build a much stronger and resilient African Development Bank Group with the leadership and capacity to deliver greater quality impacts for the people of Africa, while remaining financially strong and sustainable,” Adesina said. 

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