The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) participated in a two-day conference in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates from November 24th to November 25th 2013, to assist the Republic of Guinea in its efforts to attract and secure private investment as a lever for its emergence and transformation.
The AfDB delegation was led by Vice President Zondo Sakala. In his remarks at the opening session, Sakala reminded participants that while Guinea is confronted to major challenges, the country also harbors enormous potential, notably in the agriculture and natural resource sectors.
Sakala urged participants not to lose sight of the regional dimension of these challenges and opportunities as he affirmed the Bank’s conviction that Guinea aims to play a strategic role in the economic sub-regional integration, particularly with regard to growth reserves in agriculture, mining, and hydroelectric power and in the context of the Mano River Initiative.
In line with the Ten Year Strategy (LTS 2013-2022), the Bank will support the transformation agenda of Guinea and reinforce its role in counseling in resource mobilization in the effective management of natural resources, promotion of private sector, trade facilitation, and infrastructure development.
On the sidelines of the conference, Guinea and the Bank Group proceeded to the signing of two power projects amounting to UA 51.8 million (about 78 million USD). This concerns the second Project for Rehabilitation and Expansion of Electricity networks of Conakry (PREREC.2) for an amount of UA 11 million (16.6 million U.S. dollars), and the Multinational Interconnection Project for Electrical Networks in Côte d'Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea (CLSG) for an amount of UA 40.8 million (61.4 million U.S dollars).
For the next 3 years, the Bank expects to mobilize at least 250 million U.S. dollars in support of reforms in economic governance, management of natural resources and infrastructure, with particular attention to fragility and regional integration. To enhance the multiplier effect, the Bank intends to mobilize all its instruments, in particular the Africa fund 50 which is being created, as well as new sovereign and non-sovereign instruments relevant for the African Development Fund (ADF) countries.
The government of Guinea announced that a Forum for Investors would take place in Conakry in the upcoming months, in order to enable private sector investors to materialize and coordinate their actions.
The conference was a testimony of the fruitful and dynamic collaboration between the Bank and the Republic of Guinea. The Bank launched its first intervention in the country in 1974. Since then, the cooperation has evolved to adapt to the changing context and emerging challenges of Guinea.
Over the past two years, the Bank has scaled up its technical and financial support to the country, including ensuring the organization and success of this important event. The conference was instrumental in creating awareness and putting Guinea back on the map of the global economy and enabled the country to share investment opportunities with its development partners and potential private investors.
The meeting turned out to be a unique opportunity for a shared vision not only on challenges, constraints and opportunities, but also on Guinea’s potentials and aspiration to become an emerging country, and how its partners can best assist in their various capacities.
The Abu Dhabi meeting also highlighted the notable accomplishments of the country since the political transition which started with election of President Alpha Conde and ended with the recent success of legislative elections. Indeed, the country has made significant progress in the areas of governance, public finance management, business climate and efforts at instilling transparency and accountability in the management of natural resources. Guinea has also reached the Completion Point of the HIPC initiative at the end of 2012.
The role of the Bank in providing support in these areas has been critical and appreciated. Development partners and potential investors made significant commitments and pledges in support of the transformation of Guinea.
The conference, which was placed under the patronage of Guinea President Alpha Conde and the Government of the United Arab Emirates, convened hundreds of delegates, including bilateral institutions, major multilateral agencies, African regional organizations, and African and international private sector groups. Political personalities and civil society organizations, including former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and former French Minister of Foreign Affairs Bernard Kouchner also attended the meeting.