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AfDB’s Adesina presents Africa as world’s best investment destination

RIYADH, May 21, 2024 – Africa’s human, land, mineral resource and cross-border trade endowments combine to make it the world’s most promising investment destination, now and well into the future, African Development Bank Group President Dr Akinwumi Adesina said.

Speaking yesterday at the 50th anniversary celebration of the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa [BADEA] in Riyadh, Adesina outlined five reasons why Africa is the world’s investment frontier: The size and youthfulness of the population, the continent’s renewable energy potential, abundant arable land, and the African Continental Free Trade Area [AfCFTA], which he noted is “the single largest free-trade zone in the world in terms of number of countries.”

Adesina further highlighted the resilience of African economies, “despite the challenges posed by climate change, geopolitical tensions, global inflation and rising debt, among others.”

He  lauded BADEA and its leadership for their commitment to African development. This, he said, is manifested  in a strong collaboration with the African Development Bank, with the two institutions mobilizing US$ 835 million—[US$ 235mln from BADEA and US$ 600mln from the African Development Bank Group]—for projects in nine African countries: the Gambia, Senegal, Madagascar, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Nigeria, Niger, Burkina Faso and Togo. These include significant investments in agriculture, infrastructure, and renewable energy.

“Our partnership with BADEA is not just about co-financing projects…Our partnership is organic,” Adesina reiterated. “It started when the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa was only two years old, and the African Development Bank Group was ten years old. It is a childhood friendship that’s always truly very special.”

He added, “Importantly, despite the headwinds, more than half of African countries—31—achieved higher real GDP growth rates in 2023 than in 2022. And most noteworthy is that 10 African countries are among the fastest-growing economies in the world.”

On his part, BADEA’s Board Chair, Dr Fahad Aldossari, went down memory lane, disclosing that BADEA was “established on February 18, 1974, by eighteen Arab nations…to support economic, financial and technical cooperation between the Arab and Africa regions, embodying Arab-African solidarity and cooperation and foundations of equality and friendship.”

Aldossari added, “We have actively encouraged Arab capital participation in Africa’s development through trade and investment support.”

The strategic partnership and its co-financing efforts are making significant strides in various sectors across the continent. Adesina highlighted a number of projects in Africa that have benefitted from the strategic partnership and co-financing by the African Development Bank Group and BADEA.

In the Gambia, the partnership is developing rice value chains to achieve self-sufficiency in rice production. Senegal is seeing the construction of a 200-kilometre highway between Dakar and Saint-Louis, a crucial development for tourism and agriculture. In Madagascar, the 205-megawatt Sahofika Hydropower project is contributing to universal access to electricity.

Aldossari added, “We have actively encouraged Arab capital participation in Africa’s development through trade and investment support.”


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