AFRICAN Development Bank (AfDB) president Akinwumi Adesina has told the Dutch government and business leaders that Africa is open and ready to do business.
And Adesina says the Bank’s greatest agenda is to unlock Africa’s agricultural potential. Adesina said this in the Netherlands where he was for a three-day visit last week to champion expanded partnerships and investments in Africa. He met with government officials and private and public sector business leaders and affirmed the accord between the Bank and the Dutch government’s development agendas and foreign policy.
During a meeting with Sigrid Kaag, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, in the Hague last Thursday, Adesina spoke about investing in Africa and commended the Netherlands for its support, which has extended to legal systems, water, food and nutrition, and gender.
“Africa is growing economically. Foreign direct investment is on the increase. This is due to political stability and improved governance. Africa is open and ready to do business,” Adesina said.
And Kaag said the adoption of renewable energy by a growing number of African countries was a key element to reducing fragility of countries and to fighting climate change and said this aligned closely with her government’s policy.
“I am happy to see where we can work together on gender, fragility, and conflict prevention in countries in Africa,” said Kaag.
Chief executive officer of the Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO) Peter van Mierlo called for greater harmonization between the work of FMO and the AfDB in the area of energy, agriculture and institutional investment during a separate meeting with Adesina.
“A benefit for Africa is that it can skip development cycles that often developed countries had to go through,” said Mierlo.
“Commercial banks are withdrawing from trade finance and as such, FMO and African Development Bank would be able to work jointly in boosting trade financing.”
Currently, joint projects between FMO and the Bank are estimated at $55 million. And addressing a High-level Roundtable with Dutch Business Leaders, hosted at Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO), on Thursday, Adesina presented the Africa Investment Forum (AIF), the Bank’s innovative marketplace scheduled for November 7-9 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The AIF will bring together project sponsors, lenders, fund managers and investors, to attract investment and capital for development, projects in Africa.
“Our role is to mobilise capital for Africa. We have done this through the High 5 Agenda. In the energy sector, the African Development Bank is investing US$12 billion over the next 5 years, with the goal of leveraging US$40-50 billion. The Bank will also be investing US$ 24 billion, over ten years, in agriculture to implement its Feed Africa Strategy,” Adesina said.
He also repeated the Bank’s call to end hunger on the continent during the Sustainable Development Goal Conference.
“What Africa does with agriculture will determine the future of food in the world,” said Adesina. “The greatest agenda we have is how to unlock Africa’s agricultural potential. If Africa can get the right technology to raise productivity, transform its savannahs, turn agriculture into a business and address the issue of nutrition…(it) can feed itself in 10 years and contribute to feeding the world in the years to come.”