By BUUMBA CHIMBULU
COVID-19 opens up new opportunities and a greater sense of urgency to build up Africa’s manufacturing capacity and critically needed industrial value chains.
These however must be supported by enabling infrastructure and policies, says the re-elected African Development Bank (AfDB) president, Akinwumi Adesina.
Dr Adesina said special attention would be given to regional industrial value chains and strengthening of financial markets.
This, he said, would expand intra-regional trade and competitiveness and boost the Africa Continental Free Trade Area.
“We will build on the great successes we have had in agriculture, by scaling up technologies to reach tens of millions of farmers and supporting Africa to build competitive agricultural value chains.
“We will add value to what we produce in Africa, and provide creative and high-tech opportunities for massive youth engagement in agriculture and agribusiness,” he said in a statement.
As Covid-19 shocks began, the Board of Directors approved a US$10 billion pandemic response facility to address immediate and project investments for countries, especially to contain fiscal meltdowns.
AfDB, Dr Adesina said, was a responsive Bank which had, apart from approving a Covid-19 facility, launched a US$3 billion social bond on the global market, the largest United States dollar denominated social bond ever in world history.
Dr Adesina stressed that these actions reflected the Bank’s ambitions, its unshaken commitment and unyielding responsibility to support, stabilise and strengthen African economies.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has changed everything globally. It has thrown Africa’s growth back.
“The continent has lost gains and economic growth that were achieved over the last decade. Africa’s recovery will therefore be long and challenging,” he said.
He indicated that AfDB would pay increased attention to supporting Africa with quality health care infrastructure, and building on its comparative advantage in infrastructure.
Dr Adesina said the institution would focus on economic infrastructure, quality physical infrastructure and quality health infrastructure.
“Our bank must ensure its own long-term financial sustainability to drive Africa’s growth further, deeper and faster in the years to come.
“We must realise the dreams of a more prosperous Africa. A healthier Africa. A more resilient Africa. And, a more developed Africa,” he said