The African Development Bank (AfDB), has held a Business Opportunity Seminar (BOS), focused on strengthening and fostering the engagement of the business sector and of other stakeholders, to effectively support investment in infrastructure and human development projects.
Seeking strategic alliances and potential business opportunities with the Bank, participants, including private-sector representatives, civil works contractors, local manufacturers, suppliers, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and government representatives, took part in presentations and interactive sessions on the Bank’s vision for Africa’s economic development, operational priorities, business processes and procurement guidelines.
Bank officials at the two-day seminar also facilitated dialogue sessions on ongoing projects, financial products, business opportunities and programmes available to public, private, and social enterprises.Delivering the first presentation on the Bank’s strategies and policy parameters for partnerships and project financing, a Senior Policy Specialist, Hassanatu Mansaray, said: “In every investment we make, the Bank’s due diligence teams look at the economic viability and development impact of the project or programme.”
Manager, Resource Mobilisation and Partnerships, AfDB, Valerie Dabady, said the institution’s capacity to link public-sector needs with private sector expertise, technology and resources was unrivalled on the continent. “The African Development Bank Group has funded 4,391 projects since its inception. These include 1,166 projects in West Africa with total commitments of $23.5 billion. In 2018, the Bank’s total approvals and disbursements stood at $8.90 billion and $6.02billion, respectively,” Dabady said.
The Bank’s non-sovereign investments also continue to grow, Dabady remarked, with investments in private sector transactions growing from $250 million in 2005 to $2.29 billion in 2018.She listed many prospective opportunities for private sector partners in the infrastructure space, including the $371.22 million Abidjan urban transport project to finance work on a fourth bridge in the Abidjan metropolis, the Dakar – Lagos Highway rehabilitation project, and Yeleen Rural Electrification Project In Burkina Faso.
Participants at the seminar affirmed that the Bank’s ethical business model is responsible for the successful financing, execution and delivery of its infrastructure and human development projects.
However, Finance Controller, Johannesburg-based, AGCO Corporation, an agriculture equipment maker, Oladipo Ajayi, urged the Bank, “to get more private sector players plugged into its investment plans and priorities, and its business development and investment framework for key sectors like infrastructure and agriculture.”
Convened twice a year, the Abidjan BOS was attended by about 200 delegates from Algeria, Angola, Austria, Canada, Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, France, Nigeria, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, and Turkey. The second 2019 seminar is scheduled for the fourth quarter, and will be hosted by the Bank’s Field Regional Resource Centre in Tunis, Tunisia.
By Victor Uzoho