Ghana seeks African Development Bank support for domestic development bank

Ghana is seeking support from the African Development Bank Group to establish a national development bank, the country’s Finance Minister Kenneth Ofori-Atta told a delegation of Bank Executive Directors in Accra last week.

“We need your support on that and we hope you’ll come along,” Ofori-Atta said. The Executive Directors, led by Bright Okogu, representing Nigeria and Sao Tome & Principe, were concluding a week-long consultative mission to the West African country.

Ghana, currently limited to borrowing from the Group’s concessional African Development Fund, is seeking to graduate to a more flexible Bank window to enable it to access sovereign financing to scale up investment to back its “Ghana Beyond Aid” development agenda.

“The government is poised to deepen inclusive growth and we really need to work with you to look at global arrangements for cheaper financing,” Ofori-Atta said.

The Bank Group’s portfolio in Ghana is estimated at $900 million, channelled through agriculture, transport and industrialization to aid job creation and macroeconomic stability.

The Executive Directors also met with the ministers of Trade and Industry, and Agriculture, as well as heads of development agencies, civil society representatives and private sector businesses and cocoa farmers during their mission.

Briefing the delegation, Agriculture Minister Owusu Afriyie Akoto said his ministry is seeking an additional $150 million from the Bank to implement its “Planting for Food and Jobs” policy. The Bank has funded a $56.3 million project designed to provide incentives for private sector agribusinesses in northern Ghana to increase yields.

Separately, Nana Osei Bonsu, Chief Executive Officer of the Private Enterprise Federation, asked the Bank to support the strengthening of the capacity of private sector associations to make them more potent in influencing policymaking.

On their part, the heads of development agencies called for deeper collaboration with the Bank to serve as a “bigger voice” in rallying support for the “Beyond Aid” agenda.

Okogu told the respective groups that the Bank intends to scale up its engagement in Ghana for a stronger impact, leveraging on its partnerships with the government, development agencies and the private sector.

He asked the business groups to take advantage of the Bank’s annual Africa Investment Forum (AIF) to mobilise private investments for their bankable projects. “The AIF is one of the largest marketplaces for mobilizing private capital and you can count on the African Development Bank to facilitate that successfully,” he said.

The other members of the delegation were Kenyeh Barlay, responsible for the Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Sudan; Ahmed Zayed for Egypt and Djibouti, and David Stevenson, representing Canada, China, Korea, Turkey and Kuwait. They were accompanied by the Director-General for West Africa, Marie-Laure Akin-Olugbade and Acting Country Manager Sebastian Okeke.

They toured some Bank-financed projects including the $59.4 million Pokuase road interchange construction site. The project, which began in March 2018 is 64% complete and is expected to finish in October, the contractors said. Other sites visited were the new Terminal 3 building of the Kotoka International Airport and a resource centre for small businesses at Ada.

Source: African Development Bank Group – Djibouti

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