Africa Commission Holds Second Meeting in Addis Ababa-Improving opportunities for young Africans
African Development Bank (AfDB) Group President, Donald Kaberuka, will attend the second meeting of the Africa Commission scheduled to take place in Addis Ababa on November 20, 2008. The meeting aims at improving opportunities for young Africans across the continent. To overcome Africa’s great demographic and economic challenges, the growing group of young African women and men must be given opportunities through decent employment. In a few decades, one in every four young person in the world will be an African. This situation underlines the need for growth and jobs for youths. The work of the Commission has, so far, underlined the need for a new focus on private sector-led development in Africa – supported by the international community. The MDGs would become more attainable if there was more focus on making the business climate in poor countries better: less expensive, less risky, and more open to trade.
In recognition of the crucial role that the private sector plays in development dynamics, the AfDB formulated its first comprehensive strategy for private sector development in 2004. This highlighted the importance of adopting a Bank-wide approach to private sector development and the strategy has served as the primary road map for Bank interventions in the private sector over the past few years. The Bank Group’s Private Sector Development Strategy articulates five focal areas: (i) supporting private enterprises; (ii) strengthening financial systems; (iii) building competitive infrastructure; (iv) promoting regional integration and trade; and (v) improving the investment climate. From 2004-2007, there was a seven-fold increase in the AfDB’s non-sovereign lending operations. Private sector financing operations in 2007 exceeded UA 1.00 billion (1 UA=1,49 USD) compared to UA 166.0 million in 2004. The geographical distribution of the 2007 approvals reflects a shift toward middle-income countries (MICs) and multinational projects. Approvals for Middle Income Countries (MICs) accounted for 61 percent of total approvals in 2007, compared to 26 percent in 2006. Similarly, there was a rise in the level of multinational projects for 2007 (UA 112.3 million) compared with 2006 (UA 72.6 million).