29 November 2011

Africa: G20 to Focus on Africa's Development Agenda

Africa's development agenda will remain a high priority, even as Mexico takes over the chair of the Group of Twenty (G20) finance ministers and central bank governors from France from 1 December 2011.

Rémy Rioux of the French Ministry of Economy Finance and Industry, and the Vice Sherpa of France in the G20 Development Working Group, told the executive directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) that G20 discussions, consultations and the action plan for global economic stability will "advance Africa's development priorities, especially on the infrastructure side."

Rioux, who is also the French deputy or representative to the African Development Fund--the concessional window of the African Development Bank Group--said that the G20 "investing in infrastructure will unlock new sources of growth, contribute to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals and ensure sustainable development."

France has been the G20 chair for 2011 and will remain part of a revolving three-member management troika made up of the past, present and future chairs. Rémy Rioux's presentation to the AfDB Board covered the G20's programme based on the group's November 4 summit in Cannes, France. The theme of the summit was: "Building our common future: renewed collective action for the benefit of all."

According to Rioux, the G20 action programme underscored the commitment of France and Korea in "keeping an acute focus on bringing Africa's development potential to blossom through sustained emphasis on removing infrastructure bottlenecks."

The Cannes Declaration explicitly cited a number of African Development Bank initiatives, such as broadening membership of the Infrastructure Consortium for Africa, the replenishment of Infrastructure Project Preparation Facility of the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), and the preparation and launching of Sokoni interactive platform for financing African infrastructure projects.

The French ministry representative cited a number of Africa's infrastructure projects, which were showcased by the G20 as exemplary. One of these was the Inga dam hydropower project in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Hela Cheikhrouhou, the African Development Bank's director for energy, the environment and climate change, outlined what the AfDB is doing in helping to prepare this project.

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