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African Development Bank Group President Akinwumi Adesina and Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard discussed opportunities on the continent for private- and public-sector investment in the areas of energy, renewable energy and agro-industry.
The meeting with Couillard and Quebec’s Minister of International Relations and La Francophonie, Christine St-Pierre, took place on Thursday, June 16, on the sidelines of the 22nd International Economic Forum of the Americas - Conference of Montreal. It was the Bank President’s first official visit to Canada since assuming office on September 1, 2015.
During the discussion, Adesina outlined the Bank’s High 5 priorities – Light up and power Africa, Feed Africa, Industrialise Africa, Integrate Africa, and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa; and resource mobilization ahead of the 14th replenishment of the African Development Fund, which contributes to poverty reduction and economic development in the most impoverished countries.
He focused, in particular, on the Bank’s New Deal on Energy for Africa, which aims to universal access to electricity on the continent by 2025 with a strong focus on clean and renewable energy solutions. This ambitious agenda will require the provision of 160 GW of new capacity, 130 million new on-grid connections, 75 million new off-grid connections and providing 150 million households with access to clean cooking solutions.
“Africa has huge potential for renewable energy – in solar, hydro, wind and geothermal,” Adesina said.
The Bank President also underscored Africa’s enormous potential for agricultural production, with 60% of the world’s unused arable land. The AfDB is aiming to leverage partnerships to transform agriculture by modernizing the sector and providing jobs for youth.
Couillard noted that Hydro-Quebec, the province’s public utility, and the Quebec private sector have a wealth of expertise in the areas of energy and renewable energy, and agro-industry that could benefit the continent, either through partnerships or investment.