AfDB and Algeria redefine the foundations for strengthened partnership

21/04/2016
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After his first visit to Algeria since taking office in September 2015, the President of the African Development Bank Group (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, expressed his pleasure at the warmth of the welcome the Algerian authorities gave him and at the constructive dialogue throughout the two days of his visit to Algiers on April 19 and 20, 2016.

During this visit’s rich programme of meetings – with Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal, the Minister of Finance, and several members of the Government as well as with representatives of the Algerian private sector – Adesina and the Algerian authorities established together the foundations of a strengthened partnership to promote inclusive growth in Algeria.

During these meetings and work sessions, Adesina was accompanied notably by his Vice-President responsible for operations, Janvier Litse; by the Director representing Algeria on the Bank’s Board of Directors, Soraya Mellali; by the North Africa Department Director, Jacob Kolster; and by the Bank’s Resident Representative in Algeria, Boubacar Traoré.

“The African Development Bank is ready to further assist Algeria in its economic transition,” said Adesina. This was in the context of a comprehensive dialogue in response to Algeria's specific socio-economic development priorities, using the broad range of financial and non-financial instruments that AfDB offers its regional member countries.

To ensure the funding of growth in Algeria, the African Development Bank and the Government of Algeria committed themselves to setting a strategy for the mobilisation of external funding, targeted to strengthen the Government’s efforts for strong, sustainable and inclusive growth. Thanks to their concerted efforts, the brakes on strong, job-generating growth will be identified and targeted to better overcome them.

Three priority areas have already been identified: the energy sector, with a particular focus on renewables; the industrialisation and diversification of the economy; and the transformation of agriculture, by developing and maximising the benefits of end-to-end value chains.

To do this, the Bank has innovative financing instruments that will help Algeria implement the projects and reforms needed to establish stronger growth and create jobs that will benefit all the Algerian people.

These priority work areas also meet the “High 5” priorities that Adesina has set at the Bank, as he stressed: Lighting up and powering Africa (the New Deal for energy in Africa was launched in this regard); Feeding Africa (a new strategy will be launched at the forthcoming 2016 Annual Meetings of the AfDB, to be held in May in Lusaka); Industrialising Africa; and Improving the quality of life of Africans. AfDB and Algeria expressed their common desire to also focus on job creation, in particular for young people and women (a new US $5 billion initiative for the creation of jobs for young Africans will be revealed in Lusaka in May 2016).

In addition to meeting Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal, Adesina met Minister of Finance Abderrahmane Benkhalfa (who is also a member of the Bank’s highest governing body, the AfDB Board of Governors, representing Algeria), with his Deputy Minister for the Budget and Planning, Hadji Baba Ammi; the Minister of Energy, Salah Khebri; the Minister of Industry and Mines, Abdessalem Bouchouareb; the Minister of Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries, Sid-Ahmed Ferroukhi; the Governor of the Bank of Algeria, Mohamed Laksaci; and the Director-General of Economic Relations and External Finance at the Ministry of Finance, Albdelhak Bedjaoui, who is also Vice-Governor of Algeria at the World Bank. From business, the AfDB President met Noureddine Bouterfa, CEO of the public company Sonelgaz, a major player in the Algerian energy sector, and with many representatives of the private sector, such as Ali Haddad, CEO of ETRHB, a major player in the Algerian CPW sector and president of the Forum of Business Leaders; and Abdelkader Taïeb-Ezzraïmi, owner and founder of SIM, which operates in the food industry.

The strength of the bonds uniting Algeria and the African Development Bank has its roots in the major role that Algeria has played in the history of the African continent since countries gained their independence. Long-renowned for its diplomatic action, Algeria has always defended the sovereignty of states and advocated mediation, as evidenced today by its efforts for greater stability in the subregion.

A “historical partner”, as Adesina noted, and a founding member of the AfDB in 1964, Algeria is the 4th biggest African shareholder in the bank, with 4.21% of its capital, and the 7th largest if non-regional member countries are included.