The governors of the African Development Bank for North Africa said Thursday in Abidjan, their support for the institution’s financing policy in their region, during an annual consultation held at the headquarters of the Bank.
“We want a Bank that leads, not a Bank that follows”, launched President Adesina, in his opening address, to the attention of the governors of the six countries of the region – Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia. “The fight against youth unemployment is our first priority,” he insisted.
At this meeting, which provided an overview of operations and investment prospects in the region, Bank President Akinwumi Adesina was surrounded by senior executives of the institution, including Chief President Charles Boamah, Vice President and Chief Economist Celestin Monga, Senior Director of the Africa Investment Forum, Stella Kilonzo, Bank of North Africa Managing Director Mohamed El Azizi, and Group Risk Manager Timothy Turner.
Performance, contrasts and persistent challenges
In his presentation of the regional economic picture, Celestin Monga praised the performance of North Africa, which he said was “doing even better” than the rest of the continent, but he also pointed “a contrasting situation” according to the country. .
Employment, especially for young people and women, remains a real challenge: the share of young people in the labor market is only 22%, compared to 42.8% in sub-Saharan Africa, while women’s share is among the lowest in the world. Social inequality is another major challenge, especially in the territorial area. Industrialization efforts must accelerate in the region. Finally, food security, subject to climate change, remains a major problem for North Africa.
2018, a record year for the Bank in North Africa
In 2018, the African Development Bank financed 28 operations in North Africa, for a total amount of $ 1.6 billion, of which 30% was allocated to the private sector. The Bank also mobilized a record $ 22 million in technical assistance. As a sign of its responsiveness and increased proximity with its customers, the Bank made a record $ 1.05 billion in disbursements.
“The new structure of the Bank – with decentralized directorates-general in the five main regions of the continent, including that for North Africa, in Tunis – has an impact on our operations,” said Mohamed El Azizi.
Thanks to the African Development Bank, 170,000 Tunisians gained access to safe drinking water in 2018 and 17 sanitation stations came on stream. In Morocco, on the Rabat-Casablanca axis, 2.5 million people are now enjoying secure access to drinking water. In Egypt, no less than 12.5 million inhabitants of Cairo will benefit from the extension of the Gabel al Asfar water treatment plant. In Libya, more than 1,000 managers have been trained through the Tamayoz program. In Mauritania, Bank financing “has been valuable,” welcomed the governor of the country. Finally, Algeria, “a strategic country for the Bank” according to Mohamed El Azizi, has received many technical support, including its industrial development strategy.
Stop working “old fashioned” and stay focused on innovation
Regional integration – one of the Bank’s five key priorities, High 5, is at the heart of investment projects in the region, such as the trans-Maghreb railway, the bridge between Mauritania and Senegal, the last link on the transcontinental Tanger-Abidjan road.
The Director General for North Africa has called for five major measures to generate $ 134 billion in financial flows per year: lift bilateral tariff barriers; implement the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement; remove all non-tariff barriers on trade in goods and services, without discrimination of countries; negotiating with other developing countries to halve tariff and non-tariff barriers; apply simple, flexible and transparent rules of origin.
At the end of this consultation, a virtuous conclusion was reached: continue in an innovative approach and stop operating “old fashioned” in a changing world. “The African Bank must continue its reform momentum,” concluded the governors.
Source: African Development Bank