Deputy Finance Minister for Economic Management and Alternate Governor at the African Development Bank, Augustus J. Flomo on Monday, February 25, held a consultative meetings with the institution’s President, Akinwumi Adesina and senior management in Abidjan, where they took stock of the Bank’s accelerated engagement in the region.
Minister Flomo said the meeting with the bank’s president was intended to look at a project that the bank could sponsor to enhance Liberia’s economic development efforts in line with the country’s Pro-poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development.
Among the possible areas of projects support, Minister Flomo discussed with the Bank’s President included infrastructure projects like roads and electricity, youth employment and support to TVET program that focuses on providing skills development for the country’s youth, as well as support to MSMEs to serve as a catalyst for private sector-led growth.
Moreover, the discussions looked at the Bank’s support to commercial rice farming tied to the Staple Crop Processing Zone – linked to the Special Economic Zone.
“Infrastructure is very critical. We hope the bank will continue to support and add value to our one government data platform,” Minister Flomo said.
The 370 transformative Bank projects valued at US$11.3 billion between 2010-2017 in the region, are changing lives and making a different, the governors noted.
These are the second annual consultative meetings, aimed at sharing views with the governors, after the first meetings in the history of the Bank were initiated by President Adesina in 2018.
“Our ultimate goal is to ensure that the Governors are much closer to the Bank, and that you are integrally involved in the wider vision and direction, particularly as it pertains to the challenges and needs of your respective regions,” Adesina said in his opening remarks.
“Today, I am filled with hope. Hope because Africa is changing. Hope because across the continent, despite challenges, you can see a rising determination to turn things around,” he further noted.
“But the needs in Africa are high and we still have a long way to go,” Adesina said, before recalling the Bank’s Board of Directors’ authorization to engage in discussions with its shareholders for a General Capital Increase. “Let’s think how much development we want to have in Africa and how much we are willing to pay for it… Not be too focused on how much it would cost. Let’s think how much development we want to have in Africa and how much we are willing to pay for it. It is not so much what we can afford: it is what Africa deserves. Under-development is more expensive,” he said.
During the consultations, the Minister urged for greater focus on women to close the gender gap, address climate change, and increase attention to development in fragile states.
Calling the Bank, the economic arm of the African Union, the governors also highlighted the need for it to be involved in global issues in order to influence and help shape the conversations around foreign investments.