African Development Bank Fostering New Sustainable Development Agenda
By admin October 9, 2017

On October 6th, The African Development Bank (AfDB), a multinational bank working to spur sustainable economic development and social progress in its regional member countries, and thus contributing to poverty reduction, announced its new role to decentralize and repackage the mechanism by which they tackle key development issues. In a new 10-year landmark strategy titled the “High 5” Agenda, with plans to run from 2016-2025, the AfDB will work to electrify, integrate, and industrialize the continent with a keen emphasis on food security and improving overall quality of life for Africans.

The AfDB, which is comprised of 54 African countries (regional member countries) and 27 non-African countries (non-regional member countries) will particularly focus on three main areas of attention in this new strategic shift. They will work to support fragile states in strengthening their economies; they will work to strengthen agriculture and food security through more efficient value chain approaches and investments in rural infrastructure; and they will also work to increase the capabilities and opportunities of women and girls to boost productivity and participation of the African population. AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina has a keen focus on the strengthening of rural agriculture, commercialization of goods, and decreasing unemployment rates of youth through vocational and technical training.

Though the Bank has experienced decreased funding in the past years, it recently signed an agreement with the European Union valued at $512 million USD. In a statement given to Devex, Valerie Dabady Liverani, the division manager of AfDB’s Resource Mobilization and Partnerships Department, said  “This, for us, is a landmark, because it allows us to get access, in very tough economic times, to grant financing for projects.”

Here’s a rundown of some of the immediate practical changes to bank priorities. Currently, operations are head at headquarters in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. However, there will be a transition towards moving the structure to the five regional offices in order to strengthen the local communities issues needed to be achieved. The goal of this step for the AfDB is to be able to cater and provide specific approaches to the needs of each regional country.

Another immediate focus will be to refocus agriculture around commercialization as it relates to rural development. “Agriculture should be seen as a business,” said Dabady Liverani. The main push will be directed towards moving away from subsistence farming into more commercialized and commodified value chain agricultural practices. “The continent imports around $35 billion per year, according to the bank. These net imports are slated to increase to about $111 billion by 2025. To prevent this sharp increase, efforts need to be made to bring African products fully to market,” Liverani said. Another key priority is to work to combat the youth unemployment problem through providing technical and vocational trainings. In the fourth quarter of 2017, it is slated that the Bank will launch an Enabling Youth Employment Index that will measure employment outcomes at national levels across the continent. The Bank also has plans in 2018 to launch an innovation lab to help develop youth entrepreneurs with the support, capital funding, and network within their country.

Over the next few months there will also be more strategic planning in outlining key deliverable goals and success indicators. But what we know now, the High Five Initiative will be a transformative agenda over the next 10 years and will serve as a journey for the transformation of African countries into sustainable economies.

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African Development Bank

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