The New Times (Kigali)

24 May 2014

Rwanda: AfDB - Leaders Commit to Building Better Africa

The african Development Bank's 49th Annual Meetings ended in Kigali yesterday with the Bank's leaders pledging to rally efforts toward building an Africa that is more inclusive, integrated, and with better infrastructure.

AfDB president Donald Kaberuka said the Bank would support the implementation of the best ideas from discussions at the meetings.

Among other priorities for the Bank in the next ten years, and in line with wishes from the discussions, Kaberuka mentioned enabling a more environmentally sustainable economy, sound leadership,

managing natural resources, and including more women and youth in the economic process in countries across Africa.

"The issue is not simply that of discussions or celebrations. It is about what is done. Our goal is to follow through on all the matters raised here," he said.

At the heart of the continent's development vision through the AfDB's financial support in the next 50 years is an initiative called Africa50, a move to raise $100 billion that is needed to fund Africa's infrastructure.

Dr Kaberuka thanked the Bank's governors for having supported its move to start raising the money for the Africa50 project, which is now set to get $3 billion through the AfDB in equity capital in order to establish credibility with governments, private developers and financial markets who will be asked to invest in it.

The AfDB officials say that Africa50 will mainly focus on high-impact national and regional projects in the energy, transport, ICT and water sectors.

"With respect to Africa50, we will now proceed to incorporation, road-shows, and getting the first projects going on exposure swaps with other MDBs (Multilateral Development Banks)," Kaberuka told the Bank's governors and other delegates in a speech at the closing session of their Annual Meetings.

Decisive resolutions:

Over five days from Monday, delegates at the AfDB meetings, including the Bank's governors and other invitees comprising development experts, academics, business people and civil society activists discussed issues related to the Bank's performance in the last half-decade and what should be its priorities in the next 50 years.

At the end of the Governors' meeting yesterday, they also unanimously approved the establishment of "Africa Growing Together Fund (AGTF)," a $2-billion trust fund created by China to enable the AfDB respond to the growing needs of its regional member countries and private sector clients.

The next Annual Meetings of the Bank will take place in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire, which will also host the final celebrations of the Bank's 50th anniversary in November 2015, and whose central bank governor took over from Rwanda's Finance and Economic Planning minister Claver Gatete as the chairperson of the AfDB's Board of Governors.

The Governors are usually Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors representing their respective countries.

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