You are here

Speech Delivered by President Akinwumi A. Adesina of the African Development Bank Group at the Second Consultative Meeting of the 15th Replenishment of the African Development Fund, held in Antananarivo, Madagascar, July 2, 2019


Your Excellency, President Andry Rajoelina, President of the Republic of Madagascar, 

Honorable Ministers, Senior Members of the Government, African Development Fund (ADF)

Deputies, Members of Board of Directors,

Senior Management and Staff of the African Development Bank Group, distinguished

ladies and gentlemen. 

  • It gives me great pleasure to be here in Madagascar, a country I love and a country to which I am personally attached.
  • I welcome you all, Deputies of the ADF and Governors of the Bank, to the second meeting of the Deputies for the 15th Replenishment of the African Development Fund. 
  • We are delighted that the President of Madagascar, His Excellency Andry Rajoelina is here with us today. Mr. President thank you for graciously hosting this ADF 15 replenishment meeting.
  • And thank you for your generous hospitality!
  • I wish to commiserate with you on the 16 lives lost at the stadium as you celebrated your national independence. I ask that we all rise and pay a moment of silence in memory and honor of those who lost their lives.
  • May their souls Rest In Peace and may God comfort their families. We also pray for speedy recovery for the many who were injured.
  • Your Excellency, ladies and gentlemen, when we last met in March 2019 in Abidjan, we launched the ADF 15 Replenishment discussions. It’s a discussion that has continued to be very productive. And one that includes the voices of the ADF donors and those of the beneficiary countries. The supply and demand sides meet for a market clearing equilibrium price. Today, I warmly welcome the demand side, represented by Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Chad and Madagascar.
  • I also welcome the ADF 15 Coordinator, Mr. Kyle Peters and thank him for all his great work in moving this process forward. And I say a very warm welcome to the members of the Board of Directors, Senior Management and Staff of the African Development Bank Group.
  • And to the Madagascar Minister of Finance and Governor for the Bank, thank you for your insightful contributions during our last meeting in Abidjan, and for accepting to host us here in this beautiful city of Antananarivo. 
  • Let me thank you, Your Excellency President Rajoelina, for your strong support for the Bank’s Country Office here in Madagascar. Our Country Manager’s name is Mr. Sheriff. Well, the way he talks so warmly about the country and the city of Antananarivo, he sounds like a sheriff of the town! 
  • Our focus in ADF 15 is how to better address fragility. And there’s no better place to discuss this subject than in Madagascar, which has gone through and is passing through fragility. Madagascar knows about fragility. 
  • Fragility must not be seen as an end state.  Nations may go through fragility, but they can exit and become stable, dynamic, prosperous and resilient to debilitating shocks. That’s our goal for the ADF- a powerful instrument to help build resilience of low-income countries. For at the end of the day, for the African Continental Free Trade Area to work, we cannot integrate fragile states; we can only integrate resilient states
  • The ADF has shown its capacity to help achieve this. Not too long ago, Côte d’Ivoire went into political, social and economic turbulence. Its GDP dropped precipitously. The ADF came in handy, and decisively. Our policy and institutional support allowed the country to stabilize its macroeconomic indices. Support to disarm the combatants, reintegrate and create new employment opportunities for them helped towards much needed social and political stability.
  • Today, Côte d’Ivoire has continued to achieve one of the highest growth rates in Africa and even in the world. 
  • We are proud of the role that ADF played right here in Madagascar. If there’s a nation that’s been through persistent fragility, it is Madagascar. Yet its people remain resilient. Troubled on every side, yes, but they are not distressed. Cast down many times but they are not vanquished.
  • And that was fully on display two days ago at the African Nations Cup! Yes, Your Excellency, Mr. President, you beat my country Nigeria, but don’t forget that the Nigerian coach married from Madagascar. So, since I am here in Madagascar, we thought we would just help him keep his wife!
  • Through faith and unrelenting hope, the nation has continued to surmount the tempestuous winds of political cyclones that have from time to time hampered its growth and development. 
  • During the heat of political upheavals here, while all other donors left the country, one remained. That institution is us- the African Development Bank Group. The ADF helped to bolster weak institutions, improve access to basic services like water and sanitation and build infrastructure. Since Madagascar joined the African Development Bank Group in 1977, the Bank has provided financing of $1.9 billion. Of this amount, ADF provided $1.17 billion.  Today current active portfolio is $366 million. 
  • Our projects here in Madagascar are very impactful. 
  • Take the case of the Sahofika power project, which will help increase electricity generation by 192 MW, expandable to 300 MW. When completed, it will cut electricity tariff  by 500%, from 25 US cents per KW/h to just 5 cents per KW/hr.
  • Just imagine the hope that this will bring, a new zeal of life that’ll be sparked, and many jobs that’ll be created, as electricity access and affordability become possible for a nation with just 15% electrification rate. 
  • It’s the kind of hope I witnessed when I visited three years ago one of the ADF financed projects here, a rice irrigation project in Bas Mangoky in the north of the country.
  • On its impressive and carefully sculptured terraces on the undulating landscapes, farmers struggled to produce rice, without irrigation facilities, the right technologies and road infrastructure to connect them to markets.
  • Madagascar imports up to 500,000 MT of rice, yet it has the potential to be a breadbasket for the Indian ocean region.
  • The ADF intervened and supported massive irrigation systems for 6,500 ha. Today, the yields have tripled from 2 tons per ha to 6 tons per ha. Farm incomes have risen by 141%. 
  • I met a young lady and man on their farm. They invested in modern mechanized rice plows to replace the bulls they used previously, achieved higher incomes and were just about to get married: a changed life, with new beginnings full of hope!
  • But hope eluded others, especially the kids, many of whom have severe malnutrition. 
  • As we entered Bas Mangoky village, we were met by several kids, excited and attracted to the noise of the chopper as we landed on a dusty field.
  • My eyes zeroed in on one of them who ran towards me
  • He was so short and small, I was sure he could not be more than a 5-year old. I asked for his name. He said his name was Anthony.
  • But the voice that spoke was not that of a 5-year old. He said he was 11 years old. I was stunned: he suffered from severe malnutrition.
  • Here we were investing in badly needed infrastructure, but the grey matter infrastructure of the future of Bas Mangoky was being destroyed by malnutrition
  • Anthony’s dream he said was to be a medical doctor. That’ll be impossible with his severe malnutrition.
  • I immediately called my wife, Grace, in Abidjan and said could we adopt this child in front of me? Could we make his dream come true, just like our own son, Rotimi, who had just become a medical doctor in the US?
  • Grace agreed and the rest is history.
  • Today, our son, Anthony is nice, growing taller and well fed, doing very well and brilliant at school, at the top group in his class.
  • I saw him yesterday. By God’s grace he will one day be a medical doctor and achieve his dream; and who knows, he might like you Mr. President, become the President of Madagascar! 
  • At the African Development Bank Group, we invest in Africa with our resources, but even more, with our hearts. We believe in Africa.  
  • The ADF is all about unleashing hope for the least developed countries. Unleashing opportunities. Unleashing prosperity in the midst of challenges. Unleashing pride and determination to succeed, against all odds. 
  • As we gather today, I am mindful that more still needs to be done. The journey is yet still long and tortuous. Supporting ADF countries is not a finished business; it is an ongoing business.
  • An ongoing business to tackle poverty, inequality and fragility. An ongoing business to address climate change, gender biases, as well as tackle corruption, illicit capital flows, poor management of natural resources, building quality infrastructure and connecting nations. An ongoing business to entrench better economic and political governance. 
  • The milestones on the way are encouraging. ADF 14 cycle is well on track to achieving its targets. And with that, ADF would have committed $48 billion to low income countries since its inception in 1973. 
  • I am excited that with the ADF 14 cycle, an additional 7.1 million people will be connected to electrify, 5.8 million via the grid and 1.3 million through off grid systems. 
  • I am excited that over 42 million people will benefit from investments in agriculture, majority of whom will be women, just like in Bas Mangoky. 
  • I am excited that 7.5 million people will benefit from improve water and sanitation. 
  • All that’s going to happen in just one more year.
  • But the ADF impacts are much larger.
  • Between 2011-2018, ADF replenishments have helped to connect close to 11 million people to better access to electricity.
  • They have provided 90 million people with benefits from improved agricultural investments, 43 million of them being women.
  • They have opened up access to improved transport for close to 67 million people.
  • They have connected 714,000 small and micro enterprises to finance.
  • They have provided close to 36 million people with access to better water and sanitation.
  • They have provided access to education for 4.1 million people.
  • As ADF donors, you can all be very proud of your investments in ADF. 
  • Just see the recently inaugurated impressive Senegambia Bridge, connecting Senegal and The Gambia, a dream since 1974, realized in January 2019 because of the ADF. 
  • Visualize the Addis-Ababa-Nairobi-Mombasa road corridor that’s helped to increase trade by 400% between the two countries. 
  • Spend a moment and take in the Kazungula Bridge that’ll connect Botswana and Zambia, Namibia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, and reduce waiting time from 14 days to just one hour!
  • ADF is making a big difference in Africa! 
  • To do more, ADF needs your continued strong support.
  • We’ve set high ambitions for ourselves
  • With the Affirmative Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) we are now at the cusp of a financial engineering innovation for women that’ll transform the financing landscape for women in Africa, and could help leverage at least $3 billion for women. There’s momentum of support behind AFAWA, thanks to several countries represented here today. 
  • We’ve set our eyes on doubling the share of climate finance to $25 billion by 2025, half of which will be delivered during this ADF 15 cycle. 
  • We’ll make major progress on the Desert to Power which is targeted at turning the Sahel into a solar zone.
  • We’ll scale up work on creating jobs for the youth to stem migration into Europe.
  • We’ll help to address debt sustainability, through targeted policy and institutional support to improve debt transparency, accounting and debt vulnerability assessments, together with the World Bank and the IMF. 
  • And we will ramp up support for private sector development and boost investments through business and investment regulatory reforms. 
  • You can entrust the Bank Group with more ADF resources.
  • We’ve significantly ramped up the Bank Group capacity to do more. Staff vacancy rates were halved from 24% in January 2018 to 12% by April 2019, just 2% to reaching the agreement for ADF 14, which we shall fully meet. The Bank Group has strengthened its regional presence and now has offices in 41 countries, including in 25 ADF countries and 16 transition states. 
  • I am delighted that we’ve recruited a dynamic Bank professional, Dr. Yero Baldeh, as Director of the Transition States Department. He made a transition from being a Country Manager in Ghana. 
  • And the Bank will fully implement its One Bank model and all the recommendations of the independent evaluation of the Development and Business Delivery Model.
  • The stakes for Africa to meet the Sustainable Development Goals, which are just 11 years away, are very high. It’s time to significantly increase support for ADF countries. 
  • ADF countries cannot be left behind.
  • The ADF is unique. It is Africa-focused. It knows Africa. It is trusted by Africa. It delivers impressive results for Africa.
  • You’ve built ADF as a great institution. It is delivering impressive results. The African Development Bank Group is proud of ADF. The Bank Group is proud of you, the ADF donors.
  • Above all, as you listen to our appreciation, they are dwarfed by the thanks of the over 209 million Africans whose lives have been touched and transformed by the ADF in the last three ADF cycles between 2011-2018. 
  • These voices and achievements should encourage you to know you are investing in the right instrument for Africa’s low income and fragile states: the ADF
  • As you increase your support through the ADF 15 cycle, you’ll hear even more millions of people’s voices saying thank you.
  • On the flight coming here, just before landing, I was handed a small booklet by the air hostess. I read in it that “Malagasies are known as a people who love to sing and dance”. They’ve got “rhythm in their blood”.
  • As I came into the airport lounge on my arrival and was faced by a barrage of cameras and press, one of them had only one question on her mind: “will the ADF 15 mean a reduction for funding for Madagascar”? I looked at her smile beaming with hope and couldn’t but say “I believe it will be positive”. To which she said, still smiling, “hope they make that positive decision to increase ADF 15 support here for us!”. 
  • I am sure she’ll like to dance with the news of the increase and outcome of the ADF 15 replenishment for Africa - and for Madagascar. 
  • And we can all dance together. As you know the President of Madagascar is also a former D.J! And I just learnt that the President wants to dance quickly, as he is now called “TGV”: Train à grande vitesse or High-Speed Train!
  • Let’s make ADF 15 a “TGV” for Madagascar and for the rest of Africa.
  • On their behalf, and on behalf of millions of Africans whose lives will be improved, and who also will sing and dance like the Malagasy people, I say thank you for a substantial ADF 15 replenishment!

Thank you and welcome!

Related Sections