Africa and the New Global Landscape

2015 Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank Group
25 – 29 May 2015
Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire

The 2015 Annual Meetings will take place during an exceptional time for the Bank as well as for Africa. The year 2015 marks the second year of the implementation of the Bank’s Ten Year Strategy, while the Annual Meetings will also commemorate the 50 years since the establishment of the African Development Bank. More broadly, 2015 promises to be a landmark year for global development decisions. They include the UN Summit in September, where the Post-2015 Development Agenda is expected to be adopted, the Third International Conference on Financing for Development in July in Addis Ababa, and the Climate Conference in Paris in December.

Although the oil price decline has disrupted the upward growth trend for some African countries, and dimmed prospects for oil production for others, the medium-term prospects for the continent are quite good. Indeed, the continent has demonstrated considerable resilience in the face of the slow and uncertain global recovery. Many countries will benefit from cheaper energy, and the implied reduction in the cost of doing business. Africa’s continued ability to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) to non-oil sectors and to develop its manufacturing will be crucial if it is to avoid sharp swings in performance in the future and to provide employment to its young labour force. As in previous years, growth will be supported by strong domestic demand, especially investment in infrastructure and expansion of productive and export capacities. Overall, Africa is now broadly seen as the next growth frontier – the continent is now considered a land of opportunity for both Africans and international investors.

In this context, the theme for the 2015 edition of the Bank’s Annual Meetings is Africa and the New Global Landscape.

Under the theme, a series of events and activities will be presented at the 2015 Annual Meetings. They will provide invaluable opportunities for networking, debate and building the negotiation capacity and policy stances of the Bank’s member countries, and that of other participants.

In discussing global economic developments, the key scenarios to watch for Africa will arguably be trends in the USA, Euro zone, Japan, and the group of emerging markets. In view of the rapidly evolving global scenarios, the high-level events will seek to explore strategic policies and actions that Africa’s policy-makers and the continent’s businesses and civil society may adopt to support the evolution of the continent into a global player of consequence in the foreseeable future.

We believe that the knowledge events at the Bank’s 2015 Annual Meetings in May in Abidjan will help empower and support African policy-makers in a number of ways, including ensuring them a fairer  deal in the new climate change negotiations, as well as enable them to fully participate in other global fora, including the post-MDG discussions in New York.

It is our hope that the package of events prepared for this year’s Annual Meetings will once again reaffirm the African Development Bank as a knowledge broker as much as it is a provider of financial services.

It is important to remember that the so-called “New Africa” is made up of 54 countries in five regions. Africa is not a single monolithic whole. The only safe generalisation is that Africa is planning, managing and starting to finance its own destiny.

Donald Kaberuka, AfDB President