On internal policy matters, the Board approved the establishment of an Economic and Technical Cooperation Unit within the Bank to provide strategic and policy support to the Bank's operations departments on regional integration matters and serve as the Bank's primary interlocutor with external agencies on regional integration issues.
The Board also approved a programme of decentralization that will ensure that the Bank has an expanded field presence in Africa. According to the programme, the Bank will open eight new offices in 2005 and eight more in 2006, bringing the total number of offices to 25. Each office will have the responsibility of improving the quality of the dialogue with country officials as well as the implementation of Bank-funded projects.
The Board approved a loans and grants package of some US$ 26.5 million to support efforts to strengthen the capacity to generate viable statistics by regional members of the International Compensation Programme (ICP-Africa). The resources will be used by national statistics offices, government ministries involved in the production and use of socioeconomic data, institutes that train statisticians, and sub-regional organizations that participate in the process of generating statistical data.
The Board approved loans and grants to four countries in the region: Botswana, Ghana, Mali and Namibia:
- Botswana: a 5.5 billion Yen (approximately US$ 50.15 million) line of credit to the National Development Bank of Botswana and 220 thousand dollars in technical assistance was approved to support private sector growth in the country. This is the first time in over a decade that Botswana has borrowed from the Bank.
- Ghana: the African Development Fund (ADF) Board approved US$18.7 million grant to help the country meet Millennium Development Goals (MDG) targets in water supply and sanitation services. Ghana becomes one of the early beneficiaries of the ADB's Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Initiative (RWSSI). Mali: A $12.1 million ADF grant was approved to help an effort to reduce HIV prevalence in the country from 1.7% in 2004 to 1% in 2008, providing care to 570 AIDS patients, train 60 health workers in epidemiological surveillance, 240 lab technicians in HIV/AIDS diagnosis, 50 midwives in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission and 500 traditional-medicine practitioners.
- Namibia: An ADB loan of ZAR 209.76 (approximately US$ 31.2 million) was approved to support the government's Green Scheme policy by providing financing to some 260 small-scale and 13 medium-scale farmers.