President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has appealed to the Board of Governors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) to help transform the bank into a multi-lateral financing institution to support Africa’s transformation drive.
The President said a transformed and recapitalised AfDB would boost resources and harness Africa’s institutional strengths for sustained socio-economic transformation.
President Akufo-Addo made the appeal when a selected group of the governors of the AfDB called on him at the Jubilee House on Thursday.
The governors are in Ghana for the 57th Annual meetings of the AfDB which began in Accra last Monday.
President Akufo-Addo said, “a potentially decisive role in terms of being able to mobilise resources at the regional and continental level for our (Africa’s) development was imperative.”
The President added that “whatever we can do to strengthen the bank and find more money for the bank is what will abound to the benefit of all of us on the continent.”
The AfDB, he indicated, should be the first institution for multi-lateral financing in Africa, adding “We have no problem with the World Bank or the IMF, but all things being equal, that should be the emphasis and that is what is underlying our agitation, advocacy…for the bank to have access to the private capital markets.”
Ms Alexia Latortue, Assistant Secretary, International Trade and Development at the US Department of Treasury, who spoke on behalf of the group of governors, said they were excited about the prospects of the AfDB and the bank’s capacity to spearhead development on the continent.
She, however, said the United States’ position on AfDB going to the markets was for the bank to be cautious of its decision to leverage its equity in the African Development Fund (ADF), to raise additional resources from the capital markets.
“In terms of market borrowing and African Development Fund (ADF) going to the capital markets, I like to say that ADF has a very precious source of financing which is grants and highly concessional lending,” Ms Latortue said.
“Our priority is to make sure that any potential market borrowing does not reduce the level of grants and concessional financing available to countries, particularly because 18 of the 37 ADF countries are at high risk of debt distress and we cannot perpetuate a debt challenge, I think, for these countries” she added.
This year’s Annual AfDB meetings marks a return to in-person meetings following virtual gatherings over the last two years.
The event that brought together the Bank’s leadership and shareholders to take stock of the institution’s progress, will see African leaders discussing the nature of support the bank will need from global development partners, as well as the estimated cost of building resilience and a just energy transition for their economies.
They also provide a unique forum for representatives of governments, businesses, civil society, think tanks, academia, and the media, to discuss critical issues concerning Africa’s development.