AfDB scaled up project funding by 15% to US$ 7.6 billion in 2014
The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) realised a 15.3-percent increase in its operations turnover in 2014 compared to 2013 despite the challenging global and regional economic environment, according to AfDB 2014 Annual Report.
Support to infrastructure accounted for over half of the US $7.6 billion invested in the Regional Member Countries (RMCs) during the year, representing a 15.3-percent increase over the 2013 funding portfolio.
According to the Annual Report, a compendium of the Bank’s activities in 2014 and its operations programme for 2015 released Wednesday, May 27 at the AfDB’s Annual Meetings in Abidjan, infrastructure projects (in energy, transport, and water and sanitation) were accorded priority over the four other operational domains – regional integration, private sector development, skills and technology, and governance and accountability.
The Bank’s other funding approvals for the year were channelled to the finance sector which accounted for 17.9 percent of the loans allocated to the continent’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in order to ease their financing constraints and promote financial inclusion. Agriculture, which accounted for 10.8 percent of the loans and grants, focused on enhancing food security and raising productivity. The social sector received 8.3 percent of all approvals, with skills development, technological innovation, and improvement of health-care service delivery as key beneficiaries.
The Bank’s efforts to diversify its client base helped extend AfDB public-sector lending to 11 countries, almost double the number in 2013. The AfDB private-sector window helped leverage some US $19.5 billion in co-financing, more than double the year’s target of US $9 billion.
Furthermore, the Bank’s move towards mobilizing innovative financing for the development of infrastructure in Africa became a reality following the incorporation of the Africa50 fund in Morocco with a US $100 million seed capital in 2014, barely a year after it was established.
One of the landmark initiatives launched by the Bank to enhance its operations growth was the approval of its Gender Strategy in January 2014 as a hallmark of the Bank’s preparatory work for more targeted gender interventions. The strategy emphasizes the reduction of gender inequalities, by strengthening women’s legal and property rights, promoting women’s economic empowerment, and enhancing knowledge management and capacity building for gender equality. Some of the Bank Group’s operations that address gender in very specific terms include Malawi’s Sustainable Rural Water and Sanitation Infrastructure for Improved Health and Livelihoods Project, and Mozambique’s Economic Governance and Inclusive Growth Program.
In a situation similar to the 2008-2009 financial crises, the Bank’s leadership anticipated and confronted the worsening situation in part so the continent with the approval of a strategy for “Addressing Fragility and Building Resilience in Africa, 2014-2019.” The strategy was followed by the upgrading of the relevant unit to a department and the commitment of US $548.7 million to operations in countries facing fragile situations, including a US $41.7-million budget support to countries in fragile situations that are also affected by the Ebola epidemic.
When the Ebola epidemic struck amidst the “Africa rising” buzz, the Bank took the lead and immediately launched a robust operation in supporting of people who were at risk as well as alleviating the socio-economic impact of the disease. It approved US $221.85 million for various initiatives in the affected countries – Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. These included budget support, strengthening West Africa’s public health systems, technical assistance for effective crisis response, and emergency relief operations, channelled through the World Health Organization and directly to individual governments.
Apart from the Bank’s return to its headquarters in Abidjan, which was one of its main preoccupations in 2014, it launched a series of reforms to align its activities with the key objectives of the Ten Year Strategy with regards to the budget, decentralization, organizational structure. These were further enhanced by a series of policies and strategies put in place, notably on governance, diversification of Bank products, regional integration, human capital strategy as well as the financial sector development policy and strategy.
All of these enabled the Bank to maintain its sound financial standing under challenging global and regional economic conditions. The four major rating agencies (Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s, Fitch Ratings, and the Japan Credit Rating Agency) reaffirmed the Bank’s AAA and AA+ credit ratings for its senior debt, reflecting its strong capital base, the firm support of its shareholders, and its prudent financial and risk management.
At the end of 2014, the Bank’s paid-up capital stood at US $7.29 billion.
To download the full report: http://www.afdb.org/en/knowledge/publications/annual-report/