Infrastructure tops agenda as AfDB, India work towards a ‘more robust Africa’
The African Development Bank (AfDB) is looking to strengthening its relationship with India as part of its larger agenda for a ‘a more robust Africa’.
Motivated by the success of previous cooperation with the country, AfDB is seeking greater ‘productive and winning relationships’ with India through investments in infrastructure, regional integration, regulation of enterprises, skills development and employment, agriculture, health and innovation.
“In each of these areas, I see the prospect for greater cooperation and collaboration with India, an inveterate and committed investor in Africa. May this investment continue to be lucrative, and may our mutual interests endure for years to come,” President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, said ahead of AfDB’s 2017 Annual Meetings to be hosted by India this May.
An estimated 3,000 attendees are expected at the Meetings, which are focusing on the theme: “Transforming Agriculture for Wealth Creation in Africa.”
Agriculture has a central place in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the African Union’s Agenda 2063, both of which focus on poverty reduction, overcoming hunger and food insecurity.
The Bank has aptly prioritized agriculture transformation by designating it as one of its High 5s: Feed Africa, along with a strategy for Africa’s Agricultural Transformation Agriculture is an important economic sector in Africa given its centrality to poverty alleviation, food security and economic transformation.
India joined the African Development Fund (ADF) in 1982 and the African Development Bank in 1983, initiating a long history of cooperation spanning over 30 years. India is the fifth largest country in the continent, with investments over the past 20 years amounting to US $54 billion, 19.2% of all its total foreign direct investment.
The infrastructure development needs of Africa are in the range of US $100 billion per annum.
“Nowhere is this partnership more needed than in infrastructure. India has already shown its commitment, with a large proportion of Indian foreign direct investment already flowing into the infrastructure sector in Africa,” Adesina emphasized.
Conscious of the instability in the global economic environment, India considers the need to establishing deeper relation with Africa more expedient.
The shared goals between India and Africa of eliminating poverty and hunger, and the improving the quality of life of Africans and Indians are of significant value to the government of India.
“The Annual Meetings of the AfDB this year provide not just an opportunity for the Governors and other delegates to dwell upon the issues and challenges that we together face, it would provide a perfect occasion for India and Africa to deepen our economic cooperation and partnership,” said Indian Minister of Finance, Arun Jaitley.
Jaitley stressed how much importance the country places on rural development and agricultural transformation.
He added: “With the harmony between the Bank’s developmental priorities and India’s engagement with Africa, there is a tremendous potential for collaboration in a number of areas.”