President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, has said that the New Development Bank (NDB) investing in the initiative, Light Up and Power Africa is highly commendable.
Adesina was speaking at the 2nd Annual Meetings of NDB in New Delhi, said, “I am very pleased that the New Development Bank is investing in the energy sector and I’d like to invite you to join us in this huge task to light up and power Africa.”
He commended the speedy take-off and approvals of $1.5 billion in projects, some of them in Africa, urging the new bank to do more for the continent, which needs all the support it can get in its drive to accelerate its growth and development.
According to him, Africa remains a good address for business, noting that, despite the tough global economic environment, African countries continue to post resilient growth.
He said African economies grew by 2.2 per cent in 2016, with growth projected to rise to 3.4 per cent in 2017, adding that 12 African countries grew by over 5 per cent in 2016, while 20 others posted growth rates ranging between 3 per cent to 5 per cent.
“Africa beckons with boundless opportunities. There’s no doubt that the future belongs to Africa,” Adesina said.
He further pointed out that by 2050 the continent will have the same population as that of present-day China and India combined, a growing urban middle class that would boost consumer demand.
The AfDB highlighted that the need for strategic partnership for Bank and Africa, lies in energy infrastructure, which should be considered as an emergency in a continent where over half of the population, or 645 million people, do not have access to electricity.
“We’re determined to change this quickly. That’s why the African Development Bank launched the New Deal on Energy for Africa,” Adesina said.
The New Deal espouses the ultimate objective of achieving universal access to electricity within ten years.
The Bank is working on investing $12 billion in energy in the next five years and leveraging an additional $45-50 billion from the private sector.
“We plan to connect 130 million people to the grid system, 75 million people through off-grid systems and provide 150 million people with access to clean cooking energy,” Adesina added.
President Adesina announced that the Bank is set to launch the Africa Investment Forum this year to leverage African and global sovereign wealth funds to attract investment by institutional investors and ensure that infrastructure becomes an asset class that can endear itself to the private sector.
He cited the Africa50, a new infrastructure entity now capitalised by African countries at over $865 million, was established to quickly develop and finance bankable projects.
He also referred to AfDB’s partnership with the Exim Bank of India, among others, to establish the Kukuza Project Development Company (KPDC), a company based in Mauritius, which is helping to develop and support public-private partnership (PPP) infrastructure project development and finance.
Adesina called for the scaling up of guarantee facilities to larger co-guarantees pooled across Multilateral Development Banks to help speed-up infrastructure investments in Africa.
“We have used these instruments successfully to help mitigate risks for the concentrated solar power project in Morocco, the largest in the world. We have done the same for Lake Turkana wind farm in Kenya, the largest wind farm in Africa, among several others,”
The forum was attended by the heads of European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Eurasian Development Bank, International Investment Bank and European Investment Bank.