Consolidating resilience and setting milestones for integrated development

21/05/2014
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2013 marked the first year of implementation of the Bank's Ten-Year Strategy for the period 2013-2022, approved in April by the Board of Directors, with the dual aims of economic inclusion and transition to green growth. Selectivity and the quest for results continue to serve as guides. In addition, the Bank stepped up efforts to consolidate resilience and set development milestones.

The Bank is now preparing a response to the food crisis in the Sahel as part of the Sahel Programme covering 13 countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Chad, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal and Togo. The programme comprises actions to re-establish household resilience to natural disasters and chronic food insecurity, to build rural infrastructure, to take account of gender issues, to adapt to climate change and to promote disaster risk mitigation measures. The programme is based on national and regional stakeholders for both of its five-year phases.

The Horn of Africa initiative

The phased programme covers the eight most vulnerable countries in the Horn of Africa: Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan. It is the first phase in a wider programme approved in 2012 for drought resistance and development of sustainable livelihoods, valued at US $125 million.

This phase included improvements to natural resource management, improvements to the livestock market and animal health infrastructure, improvement to livestock farmers' livelihoods, the integration of gender issues, and strengthening regional cooperation for the management of cross-border natural resources. These initiatives received widespread support, including at the Brussels Conference on Somalia held in 2013.

Programme for the conservation of forest ecosystems in the Mano River

The overall goal of the programme is to promote the sustainable management of forest ecosystems in Upper Guinea, with a view to ensuring the overall ecological balance, particularly by carbon sequestration, mitigating the effects of climate change, integrating gender issues and improving the livelihoods of local communities.

Targeted transboundary forest sites cover about two million hectares in the four beneficiary countries (Guinea, Ivory Coast, Liberia and Sierra Leone) and offer a wide variety of public goods and services, including serving as catchment areas for major river systems and wildlife habitat, in addition to carbon sequestration and improved facilities.

Africa50

In 2012, African Heads of State called for innovative solutions to accelerate the construction of infrastructure in Africa, giving rise to the continent-wide Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA). In response, the Bank launched the creation of Africa50, an instrument that will mobilise private finance for infrastructure development in Africa.

Africa50 gives priority to high-impact national and regional projects in the energy, transport, ICT and water sectors. It is structured as a development-focused entity, but managed on a commercial basis. It will complement, but be legally independent of, the Bank and other development finance institutions operating in Africa.

It is estimated that Africa50 will require a capital investment of US $10 billion to mobilise resources amounting to US $100 billion from local and international investors.  These include development finance institutions, pension funds, sovereign wealth funds and States. Africa50 will target "A"-rated quality investors and will create two segments of activity: one for the development of projects and the other for financing projects.

The programme aims to reduce the time between project conception and financial close from seven to three years by radically changing the process for infrastructure construction in Africa. In collaboration with the Made in Africa Foundation, the Bank presented Africa50 to the international financial community at a promotional event held at New York's NASDAQ in September 2013.

In 2013, the Governing Council endorsed the creation of Africa50 as an autonomous entity dedicated to the development of infrastructure in Africa, even though its operational practices were still in preparation.

The Bank considers the vehicle as its contribution to the vision for the continent (Africa 2063) which has been considered by African Heads of State. This concept is based on an equally important structure, the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa.

African Legal Support Facility

Lucrative and booming, the African mining sector is in the process of transforming the face of many African economies and attracting interest from investors all over the world.

To help cope with the complexity of the contractual and legal arrangements that have accompanied the natural resources boom experienced by Africa and the financial flows it has generated, the Board of Directors approved the creation in 2008 of the African Legal Support Facility (ALSF) and agreed to grant it UA 10 million to finance its activities over three years. The Facility began operations in March 2010.

Support for economic reforms, focused on governance

In 2013 the Bank Group approved 54 projects and programmes to support good governance in 30 countries, with approvals amounting to UA 465.7 million. It has acted through Economic Rehabilitation Support Operations (ERSO), Institutional Support Programmes (ISP) and non-lending activities, including analysis and advisory services.

Over the past year, support has been focused on strengthening policies and institutions for greater effectiveness, transparency and accountability in the management of public finances, and the improvement of the business and investment climate in order to promote private sector-driven growth.

Operations have supported reforms of governance and improvements to the business environment.

For example, mention may be made of an economic and transport sector governance programme in Nigeria (UA 193.3 million), which will increase transparency and accountability in the management of public spending and generally improve governance.

The project to support governance and economic competitiveness in Tanzania (UA 38.4 million) will improve access to electricity, with a positive impact on the well-being of households and the business environment. A similar project in Senegal (UA 25.5 million) will support the creation of an environment conducive to the development of the private sector.

In Zimbabwe, the Bank has provided its support to for a project on governance and institutional reform (UA 5.2 million) that focuses on the participation of young people in the tourism sector. It will also finance development of the Zimbabwe master transport plan. These actions demonstrate the Bank's commitment to Zimbabwe at a time when the country is emerging from a situation of economic crisis and weak growth.