The African Development Bank (AfDB) has invested an estimated $13 billion in Southern Africa since 2012, which is delivering strong results across several countries, according to the Bank’s President, Akinwumi Adesina.
Adesina made this comment while addressing over 1,000 delegates at the opening ceremony of the 39th Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Summit.
Read more on the latest African Development Bank initiatives here
This year's Summit is themed on 'A Conducive Environment for Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development, Increased Intra-trade and Job Creation'.
Tanzanian President John Magufuli officially took over as Chair of the 16-nation regional economic integration body, from Namibian President Dr Hage Geingob at the summit attended by 16 heads of state and government.
"Our countries are not poor. We are very rich. We have all the resources needed for one to be rich. We have a huge population,
The AfDB has invested heavily in the region with key projects including a $5 billion investment in South Africa's power utility Eskom.
The Bank has also supported Mauritius with $114 million for its St. Louis Power Plant that now provides 36% of the population with electricity.
“For every dollar of paid-in capital by the region, it received about $19 in investments, an impressive 19:1 leverage ratio,” Adesina said in his address.
“Unlocking the potential of the Inga hydropower project in the Democratic Republic of Congo must be a top priority,” Adesina urged.
With a potential of over 44,000MW, Inga can power the whole of the region, and beyond. “That’s why the African Development Bank is strongly supporting the realisation of the Inga 3,” he said.
The recently inaugurated Walvis Bay Port expansion in Namibia, supported with $300 million from the Bank, will help double its capacity from 300,000 to 750,000 twenty-foot equivalent units, providing better port access to Zambia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe.
Read more on Namibia's energy landscape here
Other transformative bank-funded projects include the construction of the Kazungula Bridge that will link Zambia and Botswana, and improve access to Malawi and DRC. The Bank’s $500 million funding of the Nacala corridor holds the key for much of regional integration in the SADC region and will expand regional trade by 25% and reduce transport cost by 15-25%.
The AfDB is supporting the establishment of a $1.2 billion SADC Regional Development Fund to help mobilise domestic resources for regional infrastructure and industrialisation.
In May this year, the Bank approved $2 million for the operationalisation of this Fund, including for project preparation for mining, agriculture, and pharmaceuticals.
Thanking the heads of state for their strong support for a general capital increase (GCI) for the Bank, he noted that the proposed capital increase would help fast-track Africa’s development.
Last year, the Bank financed the rapid dissemination of technologies to tackle the fall army-worm, a serious threat to food security in the SADC region. Its intervention reached 1.5 million farmers in that year alone.
SADC’s 16 member states are Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Comoros, Lesotho, Malawi, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Seychelles, eSwatini, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
“I see a brighter future for the SADC region. Regional railways that link the whole region, regional value chains that will drive competitiveness, Special Agro-industrial zones that will transform agriculture into a major business across the region, creating millions of jobs, and regional power pools that will finally solve the energy challenge in the region,” Adesina concluded.