3 August 2017

Ghana: AfDB Lauds Nana's Economic Renaissance

The President of the African Development Bank (AFDB), Mr Akinwumi Adesina, has showered praises on the Akufo-Addo-led administration, stating that it was on track to prosperity.

He said all the indicators had shown positive results to the policies of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP), whilst citing inflation which had gone down, amongst other progressive policies.

"I must commend you for the growth that I am beginning to see. The economy is going to grow this year at 6.3%, and next year at 7.4%. The medium-term outlook is great, at about 9.2%. You (President Akufo-Addo) have always said you wanted Ghana back, and a Ghana Beyond Aid. This kind of growth trajectory is exactly what is needed for a Ghana Beyond Aid," he

said.

At a press briefing yesterday to announce AFDB's support for the sitting government's policies, the President, who was on a four-day visit to Ghana, said Ghana would be able to access $500 million a year, over a three-year period, for developmental programmes. According to him, the bank will provide "the maximum amount support for you and your government to succeed."

The AfDB President also commended the Akufo-Addo government for its efforts at stabilising the country's macroeconomy. "The results are quite evident. If you look at the inflationary rate, it has gone down to 12.1%. The debt stock in relation to the size of the GDP has also gone down to 67%, from what you inherited. These are all great signs of your stewardship in the few months that you have taken over. That is a very good tone," he said.

Mr. Akinwumi Adesina made this known on Wednesday, 2nd August, 2017, when he paid a courtesy call on President Akufo-Addo at the Presidency, as part of his three-day working visit to Ghana.

With Ghana in recent years dealing with the concessionary arm of the bank, Mr. Adesina noted that "with the rapid economic growth that we have seen, and with the macroeconomic stabilisation that you are having, and your Minister of Finance is doing an incredible job, we will work with you to move Ghana towards the commercial window of the Bank."

He said: "Ghana will be able to access $500 million a year, over a three-year period, for developmental programmes. I just want to assure you that we will provide the maximum amount [of] support for you and your government to succeed. You have put together an excellent team; a first-rate team, and I have every confidence that it will succeed."

Ghana and the AfDB, Mr. Adesina noted, have "been in marriage of development since 1973, and it has been a really great one, because, during that time, we have made investments of $3.2 billion. We currently have investments of $950 million in different sectors - infrastructure, energy, agriculture, and private sector. These are areas of importance to you."

Outlining some of investments undertaken by the bank in Ghana, the AfDB President noted that the Fufluso-Sawla road project, which won the African Development Impact Award, and the Northern Rural Development Project (NRDP) are examples of initiatives that have impacted the lives of hundreds of thousands of Ghanaians.

On NRDP, Mr. Adesina noted that the project had helped to develop almost 4,000 hectares of irrigated land, led to the construction of warehouses, and a significant increase in yields of staples such as maize and soya beans.

The AfDB President also expressed his delight at the stability the Akufo-Addo government had achieved in the energy sector, stressing that "we will continue to be supportive, especially, on renewable energy in Takoradi TII."

He assured further that the bank would support Ghana "in trying to deal with the issue, through partial credit guarantees and partial risk guarantees, to reduce the debt levels, because the power sector has to work very well." Touching on cocoa, Mr. Adesina described the leadership and President Akufo-Addo and that of President Ouattara of Cote d'Ivoire as crucial.

"As both you mentioned to me, it does not make sense for Ghana and Cote d'Ivoire to produce 64% of the world's cocoa, and, yet, be at the short end of the stick of not being able to control the market. So, you have given us specific instructions of what you wanted, and we've moved on that," he said

To this end, the AfDB President noted: "We (AfDB) have received a request for $1.2 billion from Ghana's Minister of Agriculture and from the Cocoa and Coffee Board of Cote d'Ivoire, and we will be looking at building warehouses so you can store the cocoa and not have to sell immediately after harvest."

Secondly, Mr. Adesina noted that a Stabilization Fund had been set up to "make sure we are able to deal with downside risks, in terms of the volatility of prices. The third is to recapitalise the cocoa plantations, because they are quite old, and it requires an injection of money by the state to do that."

Mr. Akinwumi Adesina assured President Akufo-Addo and the government and people of Ghana that "the bank is very strong; solid as ever. Last year, $10.5 billion of approvals, which is highest in the history of the bank, and we also did $6.5 billion of disbursements, again, the highest in the history of the bank. So, the bank is very strong to support you realise your vision."

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