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Upon his arrival in Libreville on Wednesday, February 26 for a two-day working visit, African Development Bank Group (AfDB) President Donald Kaberuka was received by the President of the Republic of Gabon, Ali Bongo Ondimba, before going on to meet Gabonese businessmen.
“AfDB will support Gabon to implement its social contract for inclusive growth, in particular through the development of the private sector, considered the motor of growth and the foremost driver of economic diversification,” Kaberuka said after his meetings, adding: “For it to be sustainable, the current growth must go hand-in-hand with social development.” To Gabonese entrepreneurs and businessmen, he recommended turning difficulties into opportunities and becoming a source of proposals for the Government.
AfDB support for Gabon is enshrined in the Bank Group’s strategy for the country for the period 2011-2015. The two pillars of this strategy, which aim to strengthen Gabon’s global competitiveness factors through improving the business environment and developing human capital, as well as modernizing infrastructure to encourage the emergence of the private sector and non-oil areas of growth in harmony with the national priorities Gabon has set. This strategy also makes the most of the experience AfDB has developed locally, in particular with regard to infrastructure, which has accounted so far for more than 40% of monies granted to Gabon. This also includes the development of regional road infrastructure in order to enhance trade with neighbouring countries.
The decision to grant a US $152.3-million loan, which the AfDB Board has made for Gabon and the Congo for the Ndende-Dolisie Road project – US $106.1 million via the AfDB for Gabon and US $46.2 million via the African Development Fund (ADF) for the Congo – is part of the Bank’s commitment to respond to the crucial need to open up access to both countries’ production areas. The development and asphalting of missing sections of the Libreville-Brazzaville corridor include 274 km of main road, 144 km of which will be asphalted, which will help improve competitiveness, promote economic diversification and reduce poverty in the sub-region. This corridor is an integral part of the Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA).
As in Brazzaville, which he visited on February 24 and 25, Kaberuka used his visit to Libreville, to present the Africa50 fund, a new commercially operated financial structure proposed and designed by AfDB and inspired by the Bank’s recent successes in the field of infrastructure. The decision to create the fund was made in 2012 further to the PIDA declaration, in which African Heads of State called for innovative solutions to facilitate and accelerate infrastructure works.
The Africa50 Fund aims to mobilize both public and private finance to accelerate the completion of infrastructure works in Africa, thus creating a new platform for African growth to soar.