Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo has backed calls for more resources for the African Development Bank Group (www.AfDB.org) to accelerate its transformative role across the continent.
President Akufo-Addo received the African Development Bank Group President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, at State House in Accra on Wednesday.
President Akufo-Addo expressed strong support for a significant replenishment of the African Development Fund, the African Development Bank Group’s concessional financing arm. He noted that the work of the Fund has become even more critical in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, climate change, and most recently, the Russia-Ukraine war.
The Ghanian president said: “We must all focus on how best we can expand the capital base of the African Development Bank and the African Development Fund to give them a greater significance in terms of being able to raise money on the global bond market… This way, we can play the lead role in financing our development.”
He commended Adesina for what he said was his dynamism as the head of the African Development Bank and his advocacy on the global stage for Africa’s development.
Adesina is visiting Ghana ahead of the African Development Bank Group’s 2022 Annual Meetings in Accra from 23-27 May. Accompanying him to the Ghanaian capital on this preparatory mission are the Bank Group’s Secretary-General, Vincent Nmehielle; Acting Chief Economist and Vice President for Economic Governance and Knowledge Management Kevin Urama; Director-General in the Office of the President Alex Mubiru; Executive Director representing The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Sudan, Kenyeh Barlay; and the Bank Group’s Ghana Country Manager Eyerusalem Fasika.
The 2022 Annual Meetings also mark the 50th anniversary of the African Development Fund. Since its establishment, the Fund has invested more than $45 billion in low-income countries and fragile states.
Akufo-Addo said Ghana was excited to host the Bank Group’s forthcoming Annual Meetings, which several African leaders will attend.
According to Adesina, the African Development Bank would make a case for a strong African Development Fund-16 replenishment during the Annual Meetings. He stressed the importance of allowing the Fund to use its equity to tap the global capital market to leverage a lot more resources for low-income African countries.
Adesina said: “Mr President, your advocacy for this, along with other heads of state and government, will be critical.”
The Bank Group’s active portfolio in Ghana is made up of 18 operations worth a total commitment of $751.5 million across various sectors. Transport accounts for the largest share of 42% while agriculture amounts to 23%.
Key among Bank-financed projects is the four-tier Pokuase Road interchange, which is part of the multi-component Accra Urban Transport Project. Completed in July 2021, the interchange is the first of its kind in West Africa and the second-largest in Africa. The local transport union and commuters say that since its completion, the interchange has eased travel time from two hours to 30 minutes.
Selina Avevor, leader of the Kpobiman Women Association—which trains women in livelihood skills such as catering, batik tie-dye, and other crafts—said: “Thanks to the African Development Bank, the government of Ghana has provided us with a 20-bed hostel with air-conditioning to house trainees. They also provided us with a new 150-litre soap-making machine, flour mixing machines with electric motors, and four rollers with electric motors. In addition, they constructed a borehole and gave us a water storage tank and office furniture.”
Adesina commended the Ghanaian authorities for ensuring value for money in the execution of the project, particularly by utilizing funds initially meant for a three-tier structure to build a four-tier facility. “Similarly gratifying for me is the facility’s impact on people’s lives,” he said.
The African Development Bank president and his team also held discussions with Ghana’s Finance Minister, Kenneth Ofori-Atta, the current chair of the Bank Group’s Board of Governors. The Bank delegation was fully briefed on Ghana’s preparedness for the Annual Meetings. The delegation also visited the Accra International Conference Centre, the main venue for the meetings.