The five day African Development Bank -ADB- 2016 annual meeting has opened in Lusaka. Thousands of delegates from across the continent and the globe have converged for meeting.
The meeting will however, be officially opened on Tuesday with at least three African Heads of State and former presidents expected for the meeting taking place at the Mulungushi Conference Centre.
For the first day, the bank has launched the African Economic Outlook 2016 report. The report indicates that Africa’s economic performance held firm in 2015 amid global headwinds and regional shocks.
It says the continent remained the second fastest growing region after East Asia. According to the report’s forecast, the continent’s average growth is expected at 3.7 per cent in 2016 and pick up to 4.5 per cent in 2017, provided the world economy strengthens and commodity prices gradually recover.
The report also highlights that In 2015, net financial flows to Africa were estimated at 2-hundred and 8 billion US dollars, 1.8 per cent lower than in 2014 due to a contraction in investment.
At 56 billion US dollar in 2015, however, official development assistance increased by 4 per cent and remittances remain the most stable and important single source of external finance at 64 billion US dollars in 2015.
Launching the report, Acting Director, Development Research department, at the African Development Bank Abebe Shimeles noted that in order to make any real impact at ending poverty, Africa needs to growth at a rate of seven percent per year.
Meanwhile, The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group and the Gambia government on Monday, May 23, 2016 signed a USD 9 million loan agreement to finance an Agriculture Value Chains Project.
The project, which involves the production, processing and storage of or Rice and livestock, will improve food security and create jobs, said the Acting AfDB Vice-President, Sector Operations, Kapil Kapoor, who signed the agreement for the Bank.
Kapoor said the project, which builds on existing agriculture projects in the country, is aligned with the Bank’s High 5 priorities, especially the Feed Africa component. It is among the Bank’s 15 agriculture value-chain engagements across the continent.
He expressed the hope that the government would implement the project as quickly as possible in line with the Bank’s new accelerated projects and programmes delivery approach.
In his response, The Gambia Finance and Economic Affairs Minister, Abdou Kolley, who signed the agreement for his country, thanked the Bank for the support, which, he said, would further strengthen the long relationship between The Gambia and the AfDB.
He said the project will go a long way toward the realization of his county’s food self-sufficiency goal and promised that the government would work hard to reduce bottlenecks which cause delays in the projects implementation.
The Agriculture Value Chains Development Project (AVCDP) was approved in March 2016. It seeks to increase, on a sustainable basis, the income of rural producers, entrepreneurs engaged in the production, processing, storage and marketing of rice and livestock. It will also create shared wealth and jobs.
To be implemented over a period of five-years predominantly in the Upper River (URR) Regions of the country where poverty and food and nutrition insecurity are highly endemic, the project will benefit an estimated 8,300 households comprising 3,320 women and 4,980 men. An additional 4,150 people will benefit indirectly from the project, bringing the overall beneficiaries to some 12,450 households.