By Asmau Ahmad
The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group has provided about 42 million people with access to improved water and sanitation through its African Development Fund (ADF) initiative.
President of the AfDB Group, Dr Akinwumi Adesina said this at an event to mark the ADF at 50 on Thursday in Accra, Ghana.
ADF is the concessional financing window of the Bank Group that provides low-income Regional Member Countries (RMCs) with concessional loans and grants.
The fund also provides guarantees as well as technical assistance for studies and capacity building in support of projects and programmmes that spur poverty reduction and economic development.
He said the fund had also financed no fewer than 2,750 projects in the last five years on the continent.
According to him, ADF has connected 15.5 million people to electricity, supported 74 million people with improved access to agriculture, 50 million people with access to transport.
“Life is not equal, yet all lives must be equal. Everyone has a right to a decent live. ADF has been expanding the lives of the people.
“The fund has been working to reduce inequality, access to electricity. The most important part of the bank is the development. I believe that you put us here to fast-track Africa’s development, because we are way too behind,” Adesina said.
Some of the ADF beneficiaries said the fund has assisted them to improve their standard of living.
Ms Selena Avevor, Chairperson of the Obiman Women Association, a smallholder empowerment association in Ghana, said the fund had assisted them to empower about 50 rural women.
Avevor said the association had trained women on different skills such as soap making and baking with the assistance of the ADF.
“We had 20 women that we were training before but when the fund started supporting us, we increased the number to 50 rural women.
“ADF built a hostel for us, sunk borehole and helped us to have an office. We are looking that we will get more women to train, have higher markets with the support of the ADF,” she said.
Ms Clara Shuaibu, also a benefiary of the Savannah Investment Programme (SIP) funded by the ADF, said the fund provided birds and feeds for her to start a poultry business.
Some of the ADF contributing countries commended the Bank for utilising the fund.
Mr Kentaro Ogata, the Deputy Vice Minister for International Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Japan, commended the passion of the AfDB toward addressing Africa’s challenges.
“We will like to see African countries grow and achieve sustainable future. We may be able to contribute the funding but we don’t have the expertise, we will work together with those with the knowledge like the AfDB”.
Ms Jessica Isaacs, Senior Advisor USA, AfDB, said that “we want to partners with Africa for stable and sustainable growth. That is why we choose to partner with the ADF because we believe in resilient, inclusive Africa.”
Ms Sigrid Schenk-Dornbusch, the Head of Division, Regional Development Bank, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, Germany, said the country would stand fast with the fund to make the continent better.
ADF was created in 1972 and became operational in 1974.
Some of the ADF eligible countries are Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Madagascar, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau and Burundi, among others.