Finance Minister Ken Ofori-Atta has indicated that the upcoming 57th African Development Bank (AfDB) Annual General Meetings to be held in Accra will set the agenda for Africa’s transformation and recovery from the current economic challenges facing the continent amid the ongoing pandemic and Russia-Ukraine war.
Speaking at a media engagement in Accra, Mr. Ofori-Atta said the meeting will provide a large platform for leaders and managers of African economies to discuss what practical policies should be adopted to disentangle the continent from the impact of global hardship
He emphasised that the policies will focus on developing homegrown solutions that are favourable and indigenous to African economies, making it possible for much collaboration among countries.
“Today, 41 African economies are severely exposed to at least one of three (3) concurrent crises – rising food prices, rising energy prices and tightening financial conditions: food prices are 34 percent higher than this time last year and have never been this high since the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation started recording them; crude oil prices have increased by around 60 percent, and gas and fertiliser prices have more than doubled; global inflation rose to a decade-high of 6 percent in February, causing many central banks to signal increases in interest rates – inevitably leading to higher debt servicing costs; and the number of people experiencing hunger has increased by 46 million in Africa.
“This ‘toxic mix’ of challenges persists even as the continent recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic’s devastation. The spread and scope of these challenges require collective and coordinated action at the regional level if Africa is to overcome them. In the AfDB, we have a well-positioned institution with a convening power and network of technical and financial resources to significantly contribute toward finding robust solutions.
“Therefore, we must take advantage of this seminal AGM to advance discussions on building resilience, addressing financing gaps, and narrowing the continent’s physical and digital infrastructural deficits,” he said.
The finance minister further expressed his delight that Ghana is the host of this meeting, saying it is long overdue.
“This is the first time Ghana will be hosting this event (in-person) in our history after we signed on as a founding member state on 14th August 1963 in Khartoum, Sudan, and attended the Bank’s inaugural Board Meeting in November 1964 in Lagos, Nigeria. Indeed, we had a Ghanaian, Dr. Kwame Donkoh Fordjour Kantinka, as President of this Bank between May, 1976 and July, 1979.
“These facts, together with our championing role in setting up what has become Africa’s premier bank, suggest that hosting this event now seems long overdue. As is often said, however, it is better late than never – especially now that the continent is charting a new path toward building forward better. We have an opportunity to host the Annual Meetings of the two main entities which make up the AfDB (that is, the African Development Bank and African Development Fund),” he said.
The Annual Meetings, under the theme ‘Achieving Climate Resilience and a Just Energy Transition for Africa’, provide Ghana with an opportunity to advance discussions on building resilience, addressing financing gaps, and narrowing its physical and digital infrastructural deficits in tandem with those of other African countries.
It will be attended by Ministers for Finance, Governors of central banks, leaders of local and international finance and development organisations, captains of industry and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) from the 81 member-states of the AfDB; made up of 54 Regional and 27 non-regional member-countries.
The meetings which will be held from May 23rd to 27th 2022 are the first in-person meetings in two years since the COVID-19 pandemic hit Africa.
Schedule for AfDB Annual Meetings
President Nana Akufo-Addo will deliver the keynote address and closing ceremony (which will be web-streamed and televised). There will also be a Presidential dialogue on ‘Africa: Development Challenges and Opportunities’ (to be web-streamed and televised); and four (4) statutory sittings of the Board of Governors (closed sessions).
There will also be four (4) Knowledge events (open sessions) on: launch of the African Economic Outlook Report, 2022; Building Resilient Digital Economies for Africa; Africa Day Event (coinciding with the 50th Anniversary of the passing of Dr Kwame Nkrumah); Climate Resilience and Africa’s food systems; Green Jobs for Youth and Women in Post-COVID Africa; seminar on Special Drawing Rights (SDRs); and a visit by the spouses of participating Governors to the Osu Children’s Home.
Ghana has a strong partnership with the AfDB. Through this enduring partnership, the country has undertaken significant infrastructural development including: construction of the Pokuase Interchange; construction of Terminal 3 at the Kotoka International Airport (KIA); construction of the Awoshie-Pokuase road, Fufulso-Sawla road and the Northern Corridor roads among hosts of projects in education, skill training, sanitation and agriculture.
Mr. Ofori-Atta is confident that the high-level event in Accra will help convey the country’s collective appreciation to the AfDB as a long-standing strategic partner, and lead to deliberations over potential new projects which will benefit the Ghanaian people.