The African Development Bank (AfDB) today held a workshop to convey the continent’s immense investment and partnership opportunities to Asian business leaders, particularly as the continent seems poised to return to economic growth in 2021 following the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The two-hour virtual event, held in English, Korean, and Chinese, offered participants an opportunity to learn more about the Bank and its operations.
The webinar came on the heels of the recently launched African Economic Outlook 2020 -Asia Supplement, which revised growth projections and outlook for Africa for 2020 and 2021.
“I take this opportunity to strongly encourage Asian private sector entities gathered here today, to partner with the Bank to take advantage of the multiple investment opportunities that exist on the continent,” said Samuel Higenyi Mugoya, the Bank’s director for syndication, co-financing and client solutions department, which co-organized the event, together with the Bank’s Asia External Representation Office.
While introducing the Bank, Takashi Hanajiri, head of the Asia External Representation Office, provided an overview of the bank and its history and components before providing a summary of its flagship Africa Investment Forum (AIF) initiative and the opportunities it offers.
Referring to the AIF event held in Johannesburg in 2019, he said “So far the largest deal was a LNG project in Mozambique with a total cost of $24.6 billion,” adding, “many Asian institutions, both public and private, are sponsoring the project.”
Following a discussion of the bank’s responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, Hanajiri concluded on a positive note that “Africa’s growth will rebound to 3 per cent in 2021 from -3.4 per cent in 2020.”
Bank staff presented on the bank’s non-sovereign operations and financial product offerings.
sessions covered Africa’s immense potential in energy, particularly renewable energy, as well as agriculture, which remains the continent’s most important economic sector.
Meanwhile, Director Mugoya praised Asian countries’ ongoing support for the AfDB and Africa’s development.
“There are four Asian member countries in the Bank, namely China, India, Japan, and Korea, that have been long-standing and strategic partners for almost 40 years.
The Asian member countries have consistently contributed to the Bank’s capital requirements and supported the African Development Fund’s successive replenishments,” the director said.
The African Development Fund is the Bank’s concessional window.
The webinar, which drew around 300 participants, closed with a question and answer session, according to information in a press statement shared by the African Press Organisation (APO) on behalf of the AfDB.