The President of the African Development Bank Dr Akinwumi Adesina says his bank supports the efforts by the leaders of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) to accelerate development and growth through regional industrialization and investments in agriculture and energy.
Dr Adesina was addressing Heads of State and Government at the 37th SADC Summit in Pretoria, Republic of South Africa which was held under the theme; Partnering with the Private Sector in Developing Industry and Regional Value Chains’.
In line with the theme, Dr Adesina said Africa must quit being at the bottom of the global value chains and move to rapidly industrialize, with value addition to everything that it produces.
“Developed nations add value to everything that they produce, while poor nations export raw materials. Africa must work for itself, its people, not exporting wealth to others. That is why the African Development Bank strongly applauds and supports the agenda of industrialization of the SADC. The Bank will provide support for the development of special economic zones and industrial parks and equity financing, where appropriate, for major industries,” said the AfDB President.
Dr Adesina emphasized the importance of investments in the agriculture sector for the SADC region to accelerate its growth. He reiterated the Bank’s support for the SADC Agricultural Policy and Investment Plan to transform agriculture.
He said: “Agriculture is Africa’s biggest asset and yet it remains largely untapped. The size of the food and agriculture market on the continent will rise from current $330 billion to $1 trillion by 2030. Agriculture is not a way of life and it is not a development activity. Agriculture must be treated as a business for wealth creation. Africa must feed itself, instead of spending $35 billion a year importing food. That is why the African Development Bank is providing $24 billion to support agriculture in the next ten years”.
As region invests in Agriculture, Dr Adesina called on SADC leaders to address the issue of climate change, which, he said, is devastating several economies in the SADC region, affecting food prices in Member States, especially Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique and Swaziland.
AfDB President also called on SADC leaders to deal decisively with some of the structural problems which continue to hamper growth in the region, with electricity on top of the list.
The African Development Bank is currently investing heavily in the power sector. Through the New Deal on Energy for Africa, the Bank is investing $12 billion over the next five years in the energy sector, to leverage between $45-50 billion in financing from the private sector and other sources.
According to the AfDB, the Bank’s investment in the power sector accounts for 35% of all the Bank’s financing in the Southern Africa region, with investments in major projects such as Medupi Power Project in South Africa, the Kariba Dam Rehabilitation Project and the hydro-electric scheme on the Zambezi, which supplies 34% and 37% of the power for Zimbabwe and Zambia, respectively.