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Tunis, 28 January 2011– The African Development Bank (AfDB), a strategic partner of the World Economic Forum in Africa, is represented at the World Economic Forum Annual Meetings from 25-28 January 2011 in Davos, Switzerland. On Friday 28 January, the Bank addressed the importance of development finance in the context of increased South-South partnerships.
During a high-level session on development finance attended by the heads of development Banks, the AfDB’s Chief Economist, Mthuli Ncube, called for greater innovation in development finance. This, he said, should aim at supporting infrastructure investment, private sector promotion, SMEs promotion, economic transformation and diversification, job creation, higher education and skills development, regional integration, financial inclusion, climate change and food security, among others.
“Investment in regional infrastructure is important because it will increase trade activity within Africa. Investing agricultural infrastructure will help improve food security concerns,” Mr Ncube said. Noting that innovative financial inclusion does require soft development finance, He cited mobile banking, which has gone a long way in bringing the poor into the formal economy, as one good example of development finance support to the sector.
According to the AfDB Chief Economist, “the process of disbursing development finance should begin to view Africa as being part of the solution to stimulating global economic growth.” “Indeed, some of the fastest growing economies around the world currently are in Africa,” he emphasized.
Participants at the session included Om Prakash Bhatt, Chairman of State Bank of India; Luciano Coutinho, President of Banco National, Brazil; Vladmir Dmitriev, Chairman of State Corporation Bank for Development and Foreign Economic Affairs, Russia; Haruhiko Kuroda, President of Asian Development Bank, Manila; Thomas Mirow, President of European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, London.