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AfDB leads effort to industrialize Africa

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The headquarters of the African Development Bank (AfDB) HQ Abidjan, Ivory Coast. Photo: REUTERS/Luc Gnago

Africa Development Bank (AfDB) is leading the drive to attract more investments towards aggressive industrialization of Africa to create jobs and wealth for the people.

As part of this it would be holding an investment forum in South Africa in the coming November to promote public/ private partnership arrangements in the implementation of some key projects.

Secretary General of the Bank, Professor Vincent O. Nmehielle, said major international finance agencies and partners would attend with the single-purpose agenda of industrializing Africa.

He announced this at a press briefing held in Abidjan to confirm the industrial megacity of Busan, South Korea, as venue for its’ this year annual general meeting.

“African industrialization: strategies, policies, institutions and finance” is the theme chosen for the event, scheduled for May 21 to May 25.

It was going to provide the platform for the review of the bank’s policies, projects and programmes, adopt resolution and chart a new course towards actualizing the aspirations of the continent.

Prof. Nmehielle said Africa required US$170 billion, a year, to fix its infrastructure deficit alone.

He underlined the urgent need to diversify the sources of investment to finance various strategic programmes to grow the economies of African countries and improve the living conditions of the population.

AfDB was focusing priority on five areas – “High 5 Development Agenda” – energy, food security, industrialization, integration of the continent and fighting poverty.

Total investments in these areas for year 2016 and 2017, totalled US$15 billion.

Industrial Development of the Bank, Alhassane Haidara, Manager, said the economic achievements of South Korea – jumping from an agricultural-based economy to an industrial giant within a space of 50 years should be an inspiration to Africa.

He expressed excitement at the growing partnership between the Asian economic giant and the bank, culminating in their signing of strategic Memoranda of Understanding in the areas of industrial parks, skills development, special zones and the establishment of regional champions for economic take-off.

Foreign direct investment in Africa hit US$60 billion in year 2016 up from the 2000 total figure of US$10 billion, with aggregated economic growth reaching 3.6 per cent and projected to climb to 4.1 per cent 2018 and 2019.

With a growing population and increasing middle-class, he said, Africa needed to accelerate its industrialization growth through the scaling up of investments, creation of regional champions of trade and growing of effective markets.

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