Q 1. Switzerland just signed two bilateral agreements for grants with the African Development Bank. Can you tell us about them?
Indeed, we signed a CHF 3,000,000 grant to support the Boost Africa/E-lab initiative. Boost Africa is a joint initiative between the African Development Bank and the European Investment Bank (EIB), and one of the flagship initiatives of the Bank's Jobs for Youth in Africa strategy. It aims to harness the continent's potential and create opportunities on the ground.
Creating the right enabling environment and strengthening entrepreneurial skills is crucial in order to have dynamic entrepreneurship and a competitive private sector. Experience to date has shown that the success and failure of entrepreneurs critically depends on their local entrepreneurial ecosystem. Entrepreneurs that are part of a functioning ecosystem are more likely to succeed than those who are not.
The Entrepreneurship Lab will help to strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystems and thus is an important contribution to the broader Boost Africa's objective to support innovative start-ups in growing and building the African venture capital industry. This contributes to the creation of more and better jobs in Africa.
Switzerland made a second allocation of CHF 200,000 to the Urban & Municipal Development Fund for Africa (UMDF). The purpose of the fund is to strengthen the implementation of the Bank's Sustainable Urban Development Action Plan. The UMDF is a grant technical assistance facility that will help cities in urban governance and project preparation as to enable larger investments in urban infrastructure development, and enhance private sector participation.
The overall objective of the Fund is specifically to support African cities and municipalities to better plan and manage urban growth and climate-resilient development by improving governance and the quality of basic services.
Q2: Switzerland has a keen interest in poverty reduction and entrepreneurship development in Africa. How does the signing of this new agreement further this ambition in partnership with the African Development Bank?
This partnership is important for the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs(SECO ), for the following reasons:
Creating the right enabling environment and strengthening entrepreneurial skills in order to have dynamic entrepreneurship in our partner countries is a priority for SECO.
It is the first time SECO is co-financing a project with the African Development Bank as an implementing partner. This opens new opportunities for SECO and strengthens the institutional relations with the Bank.
We look forward to a fruitful collaboration between SECO and the African Development Bank and to the successful implementation of the project.
Switzerland follows the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as its framework for international cooperation. It has been a full member of the Bank for over three decades, contributing to all its capital increases as well as to the African Development Fund.
Currently Switzerland is putting special emphasis on supporting programmes for improving prospects for the future of developing countries, in particular job and income creation, the development of the local private sector, fragility, governance, and climate change including renewable energy
Through these two new financing agreements, it aims to support the Bank Group in general and further efforts to reduce poverty and promote sustainable development and resilience of African countries. By addressing urgent institutional capacity needs, the UMDF will contribute to make the development of rapidly growing African cities more sustainable and more effective in fostering economic growth in an inclusive way".