Infrastructure and Investment in Africa
Dakar, 4 July 2006 – The President of the African Development Bank Group, Mr. Donald Kaberuka, ended a two-day official visit to Senegal on Monday, where he once more called for the strengthening of regional integration in order to accelerate growth on the continent.
Mr. Kaberuka arrived in Dakar on Saturday after attending the 7th Summit Meeting of the African Union in Banjul, The Gambia.
While addressing this Summit, he said that to attract investors to the continent, Africa needed development infrastructure in areas such as energy, telecommunications and roads, adding that such infrastructure would improve the competitiveness of African economies.
"African economies have realized a growth rate of 6% on average in five consecutive years – much higher than its 3% population growth," Mr. Kaberuka said.
If this growth is not enough at this point to create sufficient jobs and reduce poverty, encouraging signs however exist, he explained, attributing the good performance to the economic reforms carried out by African countries over the last 20 years, peace and security that have returned to the continent as well as increase in regional trade.
Infrastructure and regional integration were the key issues that dominated President Kaberuka’s visit to West Africa. Apart from the AU summit which focused on "the rationalization of regional economic communities and regional integration", he participated in the meeting of the High Committee of Heads of State and Government on NEPAD as well as in the African Peer Review Mechanism Forum. It is necessary to develop the capacity of regional institutions because developing regional infrastructure requires detailed planning, preparation and follow-up, Mr. Kaberuka said.
He was received in audience by the Senegalese President, Mr. Abdoulaye Wade, where they examined ways and means of developing infrastructure within the framework of NEPAD. The two leaders stressed the importance of infrastructure, especially roads which are vital for development. They discussed cross-country roads such as the Bamako-Dakar highway. During his meeting with the Senegalese leader, Mr. Kaberuka was honoured by his host who elevated him to the rank of ‘Commander of the National Order of the Lion’ one of the country’s highest distinctions.
During the inauguration of the Bank’s regional office in Senegal which also covers Cape Verde, The Gambia, and Mauritania, President Kaberuka emphasized the regional dimension of the Dakar office.
"The Choice of Senegal to host our office in this region was made on the basis of technical criteria, but consideration was also given to the commitment of the country to support and strengthen regional integration to which the Bank attaches great importance," he explained.
President Kaberuka also met with key officials of various ministries, development partners, as well as with the national and international press. He used the opportunity to underscrore the importance he attaches to greater selectivity in ADB operations, especially in the domain of infrastructure where the Bank aspires to be a leading donor.
With regard to the promotion of economic cooperation, regional integration and the concretization of the NEPAD initiative, the ADB Group is currently involved in eight ongoing operations in Senegal worth CFAF 105 billion. These include the Senegal River Basin (OMVS) Energy Project. The Natural Resources Management Project in the Gambia River Basin Development Organisation (OMVG), as well as the Roads Rehabilitation and Transport Facilitation project along the Bamako-Kati-Saraya-Kedougou corridor which links the southern parts of Mali. The Bank plans to provide financial support to the multinational project for the construction of a bridge at Rosso, on the Senegal River which will link Senegal to Mauritania.
The Bank commenced operations in Senegal in 1972. To date, its total commitments in the country stand at CFAF 650 billion in 83 projects.