The New Times (Kigali)

22 January 2013

Africa: AfDB Warns of Cuts in Donor Funding

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has warned countries to prepare for four emerging challenges, including aid cuts.

Dr. Donald Kaberuka, the bank's president, said in pursuing the continent's diverse infrastructure priorities, there is need to provide financing for development when the fiscal position in donor countries is tight, while also finding other sources of finance.

Kaberuka also stressed the need to support inclusive and broad based growth while reducing inequalities and creating jobs.

"Make Africa's resources work for Africa - its natural resources, its capital markets and its domestic revenues. Deal with depleting natural capital, adapt economies to climate change and seize opportunities the Green Economy creates," he said, while addressing Ambassadors from the AfDB member States accredited to Tunisia and representatives of international organisations, in Tunis, Tunisia last week.

The former Rwandan Finance Minister said a recent AfDB study confirms the continent's strategic choices were proper and that for the next decade, in consolidating that strategy, infrastructure, which is at the core of it all and which accounts for 60 per cent of the bank's commitments, will remain central to "our" operations.

"It is not possible to expand education opportunities for Africa's youth and provide jobs without access to electricity, broadband and connectivity. It is not possible to ensure food security and move up the agricultural value chain without access to reliable transport infrastructure that will help in reducing post-harvest losses," he said. "Africa's growing cities would be uninhabitable without clean water, adequate sanitation, reliable and affordable electricity supply and mass transit systems."

Kaberuka remarked that is why the Bank's private sector window has grown so fast and now accounts for 30 per cent of the "roughly eight billion US dollars we commit each year."

Economic transformation

Over the past decade, the Bank has worked towards three interrelated objectives: creating wealth through economic growth, trade and investment; steadily reducing reliance on foreign aid by tapping into the global markets for capital and making Africa attractive for investments; and unlocking the domestic market of one billion people through greater integration aimed at reaping a demographic dividend.

To this end, Kaberuka said, "our strategy" has been anchored in four areas: reducing the cost of doing business; lowering the risks to business; expanding the size and diversity of Africa's internal markets; and, investment in human capital.

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