As part of his official visit to Sudan, Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group, met with the diplomatic community in Sudan. The meeting comprised Ambassadors of the Bank's regional and non-regional member countries, the Ambassador of the African Union (AU), the Director General of the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA), and the Sudan Country Directors of the World Bank, UN-Women and UNDP.
The meeting sought to inform the President of the Sudan's challenges and development opportunities, and to explore areas of cooperation with a view to strengthening the collective efforts of development partners to help the country build resilience and emerge from fragility. The President thanked the development partners for their efforts in helping Sudan meet its development challenges and the Ambassadors for their contribution to the partial and temporal lifting of economic sanctions on Sudan.
The deliberations focused on a number of issues, including the strategic location of Sudan and its importance in regional peace and security, collaboration among development partners (DPs), coordination among the DPs and with the Government. The need for a concerted and coordinated effort towards debt relief also featured prominently in the discussions, which would open up the space for scaling up development operations to meet the country's daunting challenges.
The AfDB President encouraged the group to remain steadfast in their development efforts and encouraged them to take full advantage of the opportunities associated with synergies between the High 5s and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A recent UNDP study reveals a 90% alignment between the High 5s with the SDGs and the African Union's Agenda 2063.
The President also underscored that the strategic location of Sudan gives the country an unparalleled role in enhancing regional peace and security, a point that resonated well with the diplomatic group, with the AU Ambassador emphasizing his organization's crucial role in the search for comprehensive peace and addressing all internal conflicts in Sudan.
The partial and temporal removal of economic sanctions was noted as a development that augured well for the success of these efforts. The Bank's relentless effort in providing technical assistance to address the root causes of conflicts and fragility were also noted, as well as the its capacity building and targeted operations that are making a significant impact in improving social service delivery in the country.
The World Bank, UN Women and the UNDP all hailed the Bank's efforts and lead role and key contributions that have been critical to their collective efforts. They particularly applauded the contributions of the Bank's Transitional Support Facility, which has helped the Bank to remain steadfast in a difficult and fragile situation. With its 12 ongoing operations of US $200 million, the Bank is the largest donor in the country at the moment in terms of portfolio.
The Ambassadors strongly endorsed the Bank's High 5 development priorities and underscored them as visionary and crucial in African's transformation, and expressed their appreciation of the alignment between the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the AU's Agenda 2063. The group expressed the need to work together to operationalize the High 5s in Sudan, with a special focus on three critical areas: agriculture as an engine of growth, gender equality and energy. Particular reference was made to solar energy, including solar for health, for lighting up and powering Africa, while at the same time, improving the lives of Africans.