The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group made approvals of almost USD 8.5 billion in 2011, which represented a 36-percent increase on 2010 approvals which totalled approximately USD 6.2 billion.
The figures were revealed at a financial presentation of the AfDB's results and operations for 2011 made on 30 May in Arusha, Tanzania, where the institution is holding its Annual Meetings.
The largest area of operations in financial terms was infrastructure, accounting for just over 38 percent of loans and grants, followed by multisector loans and grants which came to almost 21 percent of the total.
The multisector category covers public sector management, including good governance and anti-corruption programs, industrial import facilitation and export promotion.
Another large sector was finance, accounting for just over 19 percent of the total. The finance operation includes financing to development banking, commercial banking, non-bank financial intermediation, reinsurance and microfinance funds.
Infrastructure is one of the four main pillars of the AfDB's strategy for assisting the development of the African continent. The other three are investing in the private sector, education and promoting good governance.
The Bank's Treasurer, Pierre Van Peteghem, who made the presentation, described some of the outcomes of the AfDB's infrastructure investments.
He highlighted a USD 23-million Rural Electrification Project in Guinea which is boosting electrification from 3 percent to a target of 20 percent by 2015.
Mr Van Peteghem went on to point out that the USD 82 million Kazungula Bridge project between Zambia and Botswana will slash the border transit time from 30 hours to just six hours on completion in 2018.
Between 2009 and 2011, he said, 12.5 million people benefitted from new or improved access to water and sanitation. Almost 11 million people enjoyed better access to transport over the same period.
Those years saw the construction, maintenance or rehabilitation of 25,000 km of roads and feeder roads.
In the same period, almost 15,000 km of power transmission lines were installed or rehabilitated, and 6.7 million people gained access to electricity.
On the private sector, Mr Van Peteghem said the AfDB's operations would make long-term positive impacts across Africa.
The private sector accounted for 25 projects approved by the AfDB in 2011, or 15 percent of Group approvals. Mr Van Peteghem said that over the next 20 to 30 years those projects were expected to raise USD 3.5 billion in taxes for governments in Africa. They were also expected to create 86,600 permanent and temporary jobs. Another outcome would be credit or business opportunities for 1,160 women-led businesses.
As for higher education, technology and vocational training, the Bank's treasurer said there had been five approvals in 2011 totalling USD 79 million. He highlighted the USD 21 million Bamako Digital Complex project in Mali, the Alternative Learning Project in Tanzania with funding of USD 23 million, and the Technical and Vocational Education and Training project in in Eritrea with finance of USD 18 million.
He went on to inform the audience that the AfDB had approved 19 operations in the sector over the last three years, with total funding of USD 461 million.
The expected outcomes from those interventions, he said, were 6,000 classrooms built, 107,000 teachers recruited, 4.25 million textbooks supplied and three million scholars and students benefitting.