The growth and development of the private sector in Africa holds the key to the successful and efficient socio-economic development of the continent, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has told managers of the African Development Bank (AfDB).
He said the 20th century was inundated with various economic models, including a planned economy which all did not pass the test and that countries that resorted to a private sector-led economy blossomed and that was the path the rest of us had to follow.
The President stated this when some heads of stakeholder countries, especially Europe and USA, as well as finance institutions of the AfDB, paid a courtesy call on him at the Jubilee House in Accra yesterday.
He, thus, emphasised the significance of having a bank to drive that agenda.
President Akufo-Addo noted that there were no questions about the value that the bank had brought and cited some examples of development projects in Ghana financed by the AfDB which would have been difficult to achieve without the support of the bank.
He indicated that examining the way forward to find additional money and empowerment should be the central focus, especially for the political leaders on the continent, because that would position the bank to be able to be the first institution for multilateral financing in Africa.
“We have no problem with the IMF and the World Bank, but all things being equal, that should be the emphasis,” President Akufo-Addo said, and added that that was what was underlying the advocacy for the bank to access the private capital market of the world.
“Looking at where the continent fonds itself especially with problems that have been imposed on all of us for reasons that are not under our control, the need for resilience of the African economy is now absolutely critical,” he stressed.
President Akufo-Addo further noted that at the end of the day, Africans would have to inhabit the planet in an equitable manner where “we can live here together in peace and solidarity and friendship.
That, he explained, was not going to be possible if many people were hungry without prospects and hopes, and saw others who were well placed.
The President was of the strong conviction that AfDB had a critical role to play in finding solutions to these problems and that was why there was the need to work out mechanisms to strengthen and empower the bank, adding that: “This for me should be the overarching consideration”.
The US Assistant Secretary of International Trade and Development at the US Department of Treasury, Alexia Latortue, said the AfDB was well positioned to support African countries because it had a distinct strength to support in quality infrastructure development.
She said the bank had a huge value and capacity to support African countries to respond to the ravages of climate change especially in the adaptation side, adding that over 65 per cent of the things the bank did in climate change was in adaptation.
Ms Latortue also indicated that there was already rising food prices even before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and that the war had exacerbated the situation as well as hikes in fuel and fertiliser prices across the world but more seriously in Africa.
The US International Trade and Development’s Assistant Secretary said the board of the bank last week Friday, approved an emergency food security of $1.5 billion for countries that would face challenges in the net growing seasons.
She said the board’s ambition for the bank was to help the private sector of the bank to grow and offer employment and growth on the continent.