Senegalese President and African Union chairperson Macky Sall has told development partners of the African Development Fund (ADF) to allow the fund to tap capital markets for more resources to meet the critical development needs of member countries. The African Development Fund is the African Development Bank Group’s concessional lending arm that supports the continent’s low-income countries
Sall said: “These are tough times for governments. We need investment and development. Today, youth are raising their voices, demanding employment. They are impatient. Governments must listen and invest more to create jobs and make African economies more competitive. The African Development Fund needs significant financing and should be allowed to go the capital markets.”
The Senegalese leader was speaking to representatives of fund’s regional and non-regional member countries and senior management of the African Development Bank Group, who paid a courtesy call on him at his office in Dakar. The African Development Bank president, led the delegation.
The African Development Fund representatives were in Dakar for a two-day meeting to discuss the fund’s 16th replenishment.
Adesina thanked President Sall for his leadership of the African Union, and for representing the continent at major international events to discuss Africa’s development.
The Bank group head spoke about the transformative impact of the African Development Fund, which is marking 50 years since its inception.
More ADF resources will help Africa address Covid, Climate, and Conflict
Speaking earlier at the start of the third ADF-16 replenishment meeting, Adesina said a significant addition of resources would help the fund address multiple challenges, notably, the devastating impacts of Covid-19, rising debt and economic vulnerability, a growing climate change disruption, and the threat of a food crisis triggered by Russia’s war in Ukraine.
“Climate change is decimating the ADF countries, triggering even high pressure for migration to Europe in dangerous waters,” said the bank group chief. He pointed out that nine of the ten countries most vulnerable to climate change are in sub-Saharan Africa, and all are ADF countries.
Adesina projected that African Development Fund countries would need $500 billion to adapt to climate change between now and 2030. He said recent data showed that Africa receives only 3% of global climate financing, adding that if this trend continued, the continent’s climate financing gap would reach $100 billion to $127 billion annually through 2030.
“ADF will need a lot more resources, far beyond what donors can provide. So, we must ensure leverage to better resource ADF,” said Adesina. He added that if allowed to go to the capital markets, the fund could mobilize an additional $5.5 billion for each of its three-year replenishment cycles.
Adesina described the fund a sound and unique institution delivering value for money.
“The African Development Fund has connected 15.5 million people to electricity; supported 74 million people with improved agriculture; provided 50 million people with transport; built or rehabilitated 8,700 kilometers of roads; and provided 42 million people with upgraded water and sanitation facilities.”
During the meeting with the ADF delegates, President Sall reiterated the need for developed economies to reallocate some of their International Monetary Fund (IMF) Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) to Africa.
President Sall stressed that the African Development Bank, a prescribed holder, is best placed to deploy the SDRs to the continent by the end of this year.
Out of the $650 billion announced by the IMF in 2021, African countries were cumulatively allocated just $33 billion.
The African Development Bank president has emphasized that the bank can leverage the SDRs by three to four times to deliver more support to African countries. “The bank’s AAA rating allows it to provide finance to African nations at interest rates that are far more attractive than what they can obtain on their own through commercial financing,” he explains.
Senegal’s minister of economy, planning and cooperation, Amadou Hott, underscored the African Development Fund’s critical role in helping countries address vulnerability. “A strong mobilization of concessional and mixed resources is more essential than ever to support our countries, support their recovery plans, and meet all the challenges they are facing,” said Hott, who is also the governor of the African Development Bank for Senegal.
Bolstering food security
The African Development Fund’s relevance is also reflected by the African Development Bank Group’s extreme agility in responding to hard-hitting crises, such as the launch of the $1.5 billion Africa Emergency Food Production Facility. This facility is helping to avert a looming food crisis in the wake of the war in Ukraine.
“Within 45 days of launching the facility, the African Development Bank’s board had approved—this past May—$1.13 billion for operations in 24 countries,” Adesina explained. He added: “We expect to reach 35 countries at the end of this month, and many of them are African Development Fund countries. The facility targets the production of 38 million tons of food by easing access to fertilizers and climate-resilient seeds for 20 million African farmers.”
The Centre for Global Development in May 2021 ranked the African Development Fund the second-best among all 49 concessional financing institutions worldwide.
The replenishment discussions will conclude with a pledge event scheduled for November.
At the start of the third ADF-16 replenishment meeting, Adesina led the delegates in observing a minute of silence in memory of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.