The African Development Bank (AfDB) has conveyed the continent’s immense investment and partnership opportunities to Asian business leaders, particularly as the continent prepares to return to economic growth in 2021 following the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a virtual workshop organised alongside the bank’s Asia External Representation Office, the regional lender offered participants from Asia an opportunity to learn more about the bank and its operations in line with the recently launched African Economic Outlook 2020 -Asia Supplement, which revised growth projections and outlook for Africa for 2020 and 2021.
Speaking on this, Samuel Mugoya, the bank’s Director for Syndication, Co-financing and Client Solutions Department said, “I take this opportunity to strongly encourage Asian private sector entities gathered here today, to partner with the bank to take advantage of the multiple investment opportunities that exist on the continent”
Mugoya praised Asian countries’ ongoing support for the bank and Africa’s development, saying, “There are four Asian member countries in the bank, namely China, India, Japan, and Korea that have been long-standing and strategic partners for almost 40 years.
“The Asian member countries have consistently contributed to the bank’s capital requirements and supported the African Development Fund’s successive replenishments.”
ADF is the bank’s concessional window. It contributes to the promotion of economic and social development in 38 least developed African countries by providing concessional funding for projects and programs, as well as technical assistance for studies and capacity-building activities.
Takashi Hanajiri, Head of the Asia External Representation Office, provided an overview of the bank and its history and components before providing a summary of its flagship Africa Investment Forum (AIF) initiative and the opportunities it offers.
Referring to the AIF event held in Johannesburg in 2019, he said “So far the largest deal was an LNG project in Mozambique with a total cost of $24.6 billion,” adding, “many Asian institutions, both public and private, are sponsoring the project.”
The Asian member countries have consistently contributed to the bank’s capital requirements and supported ADF’s successive replenishments
Following a discussion of the bank’s responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hanajiri concluded on a positive note that “Africa’s growth will rebound to 3 per cent in 2021 from -3.4 per cent in 2020.”
He also added that until the COVID-19 pandemic, Africa was the second-fastest-growing continent outside Asia. Over the past decade, the continent has experienced the longest period of unbroken growth in per capita incomes since the 1960s.
The webinar, which drew around 300 participants, closed with a question and answer session. Queries addressed such issues as the Bank’s representation in India, trade financing offerings and access to financing for women. The bank views Africa’s private sector as a critical engine of economic growth and development but Asian companies often lack information about the business climate.
Participating corporations and institutions included Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, China Export & Credit Insurance Corporation, Export-Import Bank of India, JICA, Korea Eximbank, Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA), and Korea Overseas Infrastructure & Urban Development Corporation (KIND).