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The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group has published a report on its activities in Southern Africa.
The report details how the Bank promotes economic development in the region with particular emphasis on shared growth and integration.
The Southern Africa region loomed large on the Bank’s operational radar in 2009, when loan and grant approvals to the countries climbed to USD 5.44 billion (UA 3.40 billion), from USD 769.44 million (UA 475.9 million) the previous year; representing over 600 percent increase. The numbers were propelled by two budget support loans amounting to USD 2.42 billion (UA1.51 billion) approved for Botswana and Mauritius, to help mitigate the impact of the global economic and financial crisis in these countries.
Southern African economies started to recover from the global financial crisis in 2009, driven by a rebound in export demand, rising commodity prices and reforms and policies implemented prior to the financial crisis, the Bank’s Vice President for Country and Regional Programs and Policy Operations, Aloysius Uche Ordu, explained in a foreword. Mr. Ordu noted, however, that profound challenges remain in the sub-region, including high levels of unemployment and a surge in public deficits and debt.
The Bank’s 2011-2015 Regional Integration Strategy Paper for Southern Africa underscores the need to tackle these challenges through effective regional economic cooperation and integration through accelerated regional infrastructure development.
“Southern Africa is a region of strategic importance, with five Middle Income Countries, a population of 160.5 million and a combined GDP of US$ 429.2 million. The region has the potential to drive, promote, and expand growth– both socially and economically – across the continent,” the report notes.
The report, titled, “The African Development Bank Group in Southern Africa - Fostering Growth and Integration”, was prepared by the Bank’s Southern Africa regional departments.
Since the Group began operations in the region in 1969 to the end of 2010, it has allocated USD 17.43 billion (UA 11.62 billion) in cumulative loan and grants to 12 countries in the region. South Africa received the largest share, followed by Botswana, Mozambique, Zambia, Malawi, Madagascar, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, Angola, Lesotho, Swaziland and Namibia.
The resources target five key sectors: infrastructure sector (transport, communications, water and sanitation and power supply), (44.8%), followed by multi-sector operations (22.3%); finance (10.8%); agriculture (10.1%); social sector (6.6%); industry (4.5%) and the environment (0.8%).