Home NEWS I’m Very Proud With Economic Growth In Africa – AfDB President

I’m Very Proud With Economic Growth In Africa – AfDB President

President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwunmi Adesina has expressed pride in what Africa has been able to achieve in economic growth in the past year.
Adesina, who answered reporters’questions today, December 31, shortly after an audience with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said: “on economic growth, I am very proud of what Africa has achieved in the past year.
“Essentially, this year there are 37 countries that are growing at 3 percent to 5 percent and 20 countries that grow at above 5 percent, that is incredible.
“You have to look at that by understanding that globally, foreign direct investments coming to Africa has been fantastic. Africa’s foreign direct investment this year grew by 11 percent. When you take a look at Asia, Asia grew by 4 percent.
“If you have a look at it globally, foreign direct investment declined by 13 percent. When you take a look at developed countries, their foreign direct investment declined by 23 percent, so Africa is actually doing quite well.
“As we look towards the future, basically our focus is going to be how do we support the Continental Free Trade Area. We will continue to providing investment in infrastructure.
“We will continue to do a lot in infrastructure. We are working very hard in the Lagos -Abidjan Highway, the construction that will start by 2022. All the work is currently being done. We will continue to invest quite a lot in energy, power which is the source of development. Without energy, there cannot be development, so the bank is going to do quite a lot.”
Adesina said that AfDB bank’s shareholders had secured $115 billion of new capital and that it will give a lot of resources for the bank to support African countries, to support Nigeria and all the other countries to be able to do more.
“I am an eternal optimist when it comes to Africa, I am very confident that even the new year will be much better for African countries.”
On aid to African countries and what the AfDB is doing to ensure the free trade agreement does not affect locally produced goods, Adeshina said: “when it comes to the issue of even trade and competitiveness, at the end of the day you have basic things that have to be done – you need to do infrastructure, it’s a basic thing. Today, Africa has an infrastructure gap of about roughly $68 billion to $108 billion infrastructure financing gap.
“At the African Development Bank, we have been working so hard to close that particular gap. When it comes to the issue of attracting capital to do that, there are three things that I will say: first, we have to also look at home, today in Aftica, the size of the sovereign wealth fund and pension fund and insurance pull of fund (mutual funds) is about $1.8trillion.
“If we can just tap a little but of that, we will close very quickly the infrastructure gap that we are talking about. But you see, a lot of sovereign investment funds being invested in other sovereigns outside the continent, so they become the sovereign wealth of others and then you go back and borrow back your own money, it doesn’t really make a lot of sense. I think that charity always begins at home.
“You cannot achieve development unless there is pride, you must have a pride, you must understand the resources and domestic resources is the best way to drive that. But the African Development Bank also have the African Investment Forum, which is a forum that we set up to be able to garner investment into Africa and to address some of the political risk, market risks, financial risk and high risk that tend to binder development in Africa.
“But I am very proud to say that the African Investment Forum is making tremendous success. Last year that we started, we were able to secure an investment interest of $37.8 billion in less than 72 hours. This year, we have the second forum and we’re able to secure an investment interest of $40.1 billion in less than 72 hours. So that tells you that Africa is the region to invest and the return of investment in Africa is quite high.
“Sometimes, what people call risk is probably too much of perception risk, the risk of Africa is not different from the risk of other parts of the world.”

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