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AfDB leads charge to restore Africa’s economies as pandemic pushes 30m into extreme poverty


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THE African Development Bank (AfDB) has put its feet forward in driving and re-boosting investments into the African economy amid concerns of rising poverty fuelled by coronavirus pandemic.


The bank, in its annual meeting held in Accra, Ghana, harped on the economic importance of quick restoration of the African economy, expressing deeper concern that the 30 million Africans had been pushed into extreme poverty as a result of the pandemic. It emphasised that Africa needed strong actions to support its recovery.


President of African Development  Bank  Group Akinwumi Adesina, at the meeting which had several African heads of states and governments, said an estimated 39 million people could fall into poverty by the end of 2021, as 30 million people had already sunk into extreme poverty on the continent owing to coronavirus pandemic effects.


“The effects of the pandemic on the continent’s economy have been massive. Africa’s cumulative Gross Domestic Product,(GDP)losses are estimated between $145 billion and $190 billion. Africa will need a lot of resources to support its recovery. Low-income sub-Saharan African countries alone will need $245billion by 2030, while all of the sub-Saharan African countries alone will need $425billion by 2030.”Adesina said in a statement issued on Wednesday.

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Speaking on some of the efforts to restore the continental economy, he said: “The African Development Bank will continue to invest in regional infrastructure, promoting regional integration, including the integration of financial and capital markets.


“We remain highly committed to the success of the African Continental Free Trade Area, (AFCTA). That’s why the Bank provided $4.8 million to support the establishment of the AFCTA secretariat.”


On some of the efforts of the bank in tackling the concern, he said it had launched a $3 billion social impact bond on global capital markets,$10 billion crisis response facility, and $28 million to the African Centres for Disease Control.


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In further remarks on the weak participation of the continent in global vaccine production, he noted that Africa missed an opportunity  in the vaccine economy with the production of one per cent of its vaccine.


Africa should not be begging for the vaccines but should produce them, he stressed.


To ensure Africa participates in the global vaccine production, Adesina noted that the African Development Bank would support efforts to produce vaccines as part of the vaccine plan of the Africa Union.


“The bank will also plan to commit $3 billion to develop the pharmaceutical industry in Africa while leveraging on its resources.”

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On plans to tackle Africa’s debt concern, Adesina said:” We have launched a debt Action Plan and a New Strategy for Economic Governance in Africa. Both will support countries to tackle debt and to embark on bolder economic governance reforms to forestall the debt crisis.”


Adesina also stated that there was an opportunity to tackle Africa’s debt challenges more decisively with the recent decision by the International Monetary Fund to issue $650 billion special drawing rights.


“As agreed by the African Heads of States and global leaders at the summit on the financing of African economies, called by President Macron of France, $100 billion of those SDRs should be provided to support Africa. I am delighted that the G7 Heads of State and government agreed to this call at their recent summit,” he said.


Adesina, while stating that Africa was not looking for a free pass, said debt resolution must be reinforced by stronger economic governance, public financial management, better and transparent management of Africa’s natural resources, and mobilisation of domestic resources.


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