African leaders Join the African Development Bank’s call to action to reform the global financial architecture at its annual meetings in 2024

With $200 billion invested in development projects across the continent since its establishment in 1964, the African Development Bank Group is leading the charge to transform Africa’s development landscape as a solutions bank.

At the institution’s 2024 annual meetings in Nairobi, six African presidents joined the group’s president Dr. Akinwumi Adesina’s call to action to reform the global financial architecture to free up more resources to scale up Africa’s economic transformation.

The annual meetings bring together the banking group’s governors, representing 54 African countries and 27 non-African shareholders.

Emphasizing the need for change, Kenyan President William Samoei Ruto said: “Today we argue that transformation of the international financial architecture is imperative to give Africa a fair chance to translate its enormous potential into opportunities to overcome multiple challenges and develop inclusive and sustainable.”

In a show of support for the bank’s efforts, President Ruto announced that Kenya will spend $100 million over the next three years to increase its stake in the African Development Bank, Afreximbank and the Trade Development Bank. In addition, he announced a $20 million commitment to the African Development Fund, the banking group’s concessionary window, “as a demonstration of Kenya’s confidence (in the fund).”

President Ruto praised the Bank Group’s commitment to infrastructure development in Kenya, saying: “Kenya is among the beneficiaries, to a very large extent, of the African Development Bank’s economic power and its innovative financing of projects.”

He cited four Bank Group funded projects as testimony to this commitment: the construction of the Nairobi-Thika Superhighway; the construction of the Thwake Multipurpose Dam, Kenya’s largest; the completion of water and sanitation projects in 28 Kenyan cities, and a last-mile connection project that has provided electricity to more than 10 million households.

Vote of confidence

President Ruto also expressed Kenya’s support for the channeling of the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) through multilateral development banks, a move successfully advocated by the African Development Bank, together with the Inter-American Development Bank.

Several heads of state attended the opening ceremony of the annual meetings on Wednesday and participated in subsequent presidential dialogues. They included President Denis Sassou Nguesso of the Republic of Congo, Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Zimbabwean President Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa, the President of the Presidency Council of the Government of National Unity in the State of Libya Mohamed Younis al-Menfi, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud and the Chairman of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki Mahamat.

Close to 5,000 delegates attend the bank’s annual meetings, including heads of multilateral development banks, diplomats, development partners, representatives of civil society organizations and the private sector.

In his keynote address, Adesina highlighted the impact of the bank’s investments across Africa through its high 5 priorities Light up and Power Africa; Feed Africa; Integrate Africa; Industrialize Africa and improve the quality of life for the people of Africa. Over the past eight years, the bank’s investments have impacted more than 400 million people

Record investments

“By 2023, our funding totaled over $10 billion across all our High 5 priorities,” he said, adding, “In the last nine years, we have invested well over $50 billion in infrastructure projects on the continent, by far the largest investment . by any multilateral development bank or institution.”

Adesina listed several innovative initiatives to demonstrate the bank’s role as a catalyst for change, driving Africa’s transformation through record-breaking investments and partnerships. He highlighted the $10 billion Alliance for Green Infrastructure in Africa (AGIA), a pioneering partnership with Africa50 and the African Union aimed at accelerating the development of sustainable infrastructure projects. This initiative will drive the continent’s transition towards a greener and more resilient future.

Adesina also stressed the bank’s commitment to supporting the digital economy, citing the $618 million i-DICE program in Nigeria, which will create 6 million jobs and add $6.4 billion to the economy.

Catalyzing inclusive development

The Bank’s Affirmative Finance Action for Women (AFAWA), in partnership with the Africa Guarantee Fund, has financed more than 18,000 women-owned businesses, giving them the capital and support they need to thrive in their respective markets. “By the end of this year, AFAWA would have reached $2 billion in support for up to 30,000 women-owned small and medium enterprises,” Adesina said.

Last year, the bank established youth entrepreneurship investment banks to provide financial and technical support to businesses owned by youth. The bank’s board has already approved $16 million for Liberia and $12 million for Ethiopia to set up youth entrepreneurship investment banks. Several countries have applied to participate in the initiative.

In eleven African countries – Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Guinea, Kenya, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania, Togo and Zambia – the Bank, together with partners, is establishing Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZs), designed to transform Africa’s agricultural sector by creating value-adding hubs.

Mobilizing finance, deepening reforms

Dr. Muhammad Sulaiman Al Jasser, Chairman of the Islamic Development Bank Group, outlined the benefits of a long-term partnership with the African Development Bank. “Between 2017 and 2023, we achieved a record co-financing volume of $2.9 billion with the African Development Bank, enabling us to co-finance 22 operations across various sectors,” he said, adding that both banks recently set new co-financing targets to provide greater impact.

African Development Bank Group Boards of Governors’ Chairman and Cabinet Secretary of the National Treasury of Kenya, Prof. Njuguna Ndung’u called on governors to “deepen the discussions” on increasing the bank’s callable capital. “This will protect the bank’s triple A rating on a sustainable basis against recurring external shocks, including downgrades by its triple A rated shareholders (and) enable the bank to maintain its lending trajectory and maintain its position as a strategic lender and the leading development finance institution in Africa .”

African Union Commission Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat described the annual meetings in 2024 as “an appropriate forum” to kick-start “the process of formulating and elaborating the African common position on strategic issues” such as the reform of the Bretton Woods system, debt management, climate change financing and the international tax system.

Leaders also stressed the urgency of mobilizing finance to build climate-resilient African economies. The bank, Adesina said, “is well on its way to achieving its goal of mobilizing $25 billion in climate finance, and last year we used 45% of our total lending for climate finance.”

Strong financial position for greater impact

The only AAA-rated financial institution in Africa, the Bank’s 2023 financial record puts the Bank in an optimal position to better serve Africa and create a greater impact on the continent’s development. Its income from loans and treasury investments rose 123% from $775 million in 2022 to $1.73 billion in 2023. The bank also achieved its highest-ever net income before distributions of $545 million and allocated a record $335 million to reserves.

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