The 51st edition of the Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the 42nd meetings of its concessionary arm, the African Development Fund (ADF) commenced on Monday, May 23 in Lusaka, Zambia, with a press conference hosted by the AfDB President, Akinwumi Adesina.
During his fruitful exchange with the African and international press, he used his opening statement to address the economic and social realities of the continent as well as the brakes to its development. Adesina placed particular emphasis on the five major priorities of the Bank: Lighting up and powering Africa, Feeding Africa, Industrialising Africa, Integrating Africa, and Improving the quality of life of the African people.
He spoke of his deep conviction that Africans, with the support of the pan-African financial institution, can meet the challenges of their development. In this regard, he emphasised the fact that the continent has unlimited potential in natural resources, including energy, solar, wind, hydroelectric and geothermal. That is the reason why AfDB wants to help Africa unleash its energy potential to meet these five challenges, he said.
While highlighting the serious challenges facing the continent, Adesina noted Africa's resistance in the face of the vagaries of the world economy and climate change, with growth of approximately 4% and 4.4% according to AfDB projections giving an overall estimated growth rate of 3% albeit revised downward at more than 2%.
Although a regression, this growth rate is higher than that of the European Union estimated at 1.9%. "We should feel happy," said the AfDB President, "because the economies of Africa are stable, resistant and resilient with good performance that needs to be improved. That is why AfDB has approved financial support of the order of US $9 billion to regional member countries and the private sector. Even better, it has allocated over US $2 billion to the private sector, doing so during the replenishment phase of the African Development Fund."
Adesina said that the results were impressive because, in its 40 or so years of existence, the Bank has distributed US $40 billion, funds that have had a real impact on 40 African countries. In closing, the AfDB President said that he hoped that the African and international press would play an active part in these annual meetings by relaying all the decisions taken at them.