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AfDB President Goes Nordic for Top-Level Talks

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Date: 19/10/2009
Location: Finland, Sweden

The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group President, Donald Kaberuka, is in Helsinki for talks with political, economic and business leaders. He will later go to Stockholm to take part in the 4th edition of the European Development Days.

The Helsinki visit, which takes place from October 19-21, 2009, falls within the context of current global economic challenges. Mr. Kaberuka will present his comments and forecasts at a seminar to be held on the theme:  “The Fate of Africa – Development Prospects and the Impact of Financial Crisis.” The seminar is jointly organized with the Finnish Institute of International Affairs.

S.Jallow, Division Manager, Water and Sanitation, AfDB, will also make a short presentation on a subject highly important to Africa – water - at a seminar organized by the Finnish Water Forum: “Highlights of Finnish Water Sector Know-How”.

During his time in the Finnish capital, Mr. Kaberuka will meet the country’s foreign trade and finance ministers.

In keeping with the Bank’s deep involvement in infrastructure financing and its growing partnership with the private sector, Mr. Kaberuka will also meet top executives of corporations such as the telecommunications giant, Nokia, and leading marine energy and power plant group, Wärtsilä Corporation.

He will, on October 23 in Stockholm, speak at the European Development Days, an annual event that will bring together 4,000 people and 1,500 organizations from the development community. The event aims at boosting development impact, building a global coalition against poverty and achieving the Millennium Development Goals.

Mr. Kaberuka’s mission comes at a time when development finance is ever more important to bolster Africa’s economic growth. In disclosing AfDB’s latest forecasts this week, the AfDB Chief Economist, Louis Kasekende, said: “In 2009, we are forecasting a growth rate of 2% for the continent, improving to 3.9% in 2010. To maintain growth on a higher trajectory, the challenge is to increase the level of investment to at least over 30% of GDP.”

In this context, a recent decision by both Canada and Korea to boost their support for the Bank is especially welcome. At the G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh, Canada announced its decision to triple its callable capital to the Bank, followed by a similar move by Korea.

Without adequate capital to call on, the Bank would be forced to reduce its financing programmes; a decision that could threaten Africa’s economic future.

Also in Helsinki, ADF donor country representatives will meet for a mid-term review. The ADF is the Bank’s concessional window. The deputies will review the results of the US$8.9 billion funds made available in December 2007 following the eleventh replenishment of the ADF for its 2008-2010 operations.

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