AfDB Annual Meetings: Improving Portugal Partnership with Africa
The 2011 Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group in Lisbon provides an opportunity for Portugal to improve its relations with the Bank in particular and Africa in general, the executive Director of Portugal´s Exports and Tourism Promotion Institute, Eurico Dias, said.
Speaking at a seminar on African business and financial opportunities, on 9 June 2011 in Lisbon, Mr. Dias said the private sector needs to use the momentum created by the meetings to explore new business opportunities in Africa.
Key participants at the seminar included the AfDB's director in charge of procurement and fiduciary services department, Ms Yacine Fal, and the manager of the infrastructure finance division, Tas Anvaripour.
Mr. Dias described the AfDB as Portugal´s “unique partner” particularly at a time when the country is facing a challenging economic situation. “Portuguese private sector needs to boost its exports and diversify its investment in the Africa, where its presence is already remarkable,” he said.
He said the AfDB´s multilateral instruments were critical in launching new projects with more efficiency, and urged Portuguese entrepreneurs to seek AfDB´s support and advice to initiate solid and secure business.
The partnership between the AfDB with Portugal started in in 1981. To date both parties are cooperating in 15 projects amounting to USD 60 million.
Emphasizing that the Bank gives priority to sound economic and transparent contracts, Ms. Fall said the Bank focuses on the development of local industries.
For his part, Mr Anvaripour said private investment was essential to fill the investment gap in public resources in Africa, noting that the Bank was helping African governments to improve the enabling of environment for private entrepreneurs.
He presented the geographical distribution of some AfDB projects, their critical impact dimensions, the sector distribution objectives, the instruments, as well as the procedures that the private sector should use to work with the institution.
Concluding, he talk about some key AfDB private sector projects, including the Sendou Power Project in Senegal approved in 2009, a € 55 million line of credit and a submarine optic fibber cable connection along the West African coast.
The optic fibber project, which the AfBD launched with Main One Cable Company, through a USD 61 million loan in 2009 involves laying 7000 Km of cable between Seixal (a suburb of Lisbon) in Portugal, Accra in Ghana, and Lagos in Nigeria.