AfDB set to invest US$2bn that will boost the African Continental Free Trade Area

AFRICA – The African Development Bank (AfDB) is set to spend a sum of US$2 billion in the next 3 years to support infrastructure development which will boost the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

“For the potential to be realised fully, it is very important for the private sector to play a big role and the AfDB is supporting the AfCFTA to do that,” AfDB President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, said.

“You cannot trade if there is no infrastructure to trade; roads, rails, ports, highways. Those are the things the AfDB has been doing. We did not wait for the AfCFTA. In the next two years we expect to spend an additional US$2 billion on AfCFTA related infrastructure to further deepen regional integration,” he said.

He added that the AfCFTA must be an industrialised and manufacturing zone for high valued manufactured products for wealth creation, stating that the AfDB would drive its industrialisation strategy to support value chains and help Africa build its manufacturing capacity.

“Regional value chains that are well supported with infrastructure and will allow Africa unlock its capacity in all of those areas.”

Dr Akinwumi Adesina – President, AfDB

“We are supporting the development of the special agro-industrial processing zones that will allow African countries to industrialise their agriculture and add value to every product they produce.

“Regional value chains that are well supported with infrastructure and will allow Africa unlock its capacity in all of those areas,” he said.

He also recalled the US$40 billion that the bank had spent on infrastructure development across Africa from 2016 to 2019.

“That made it possible for that regional integration to happen. The work of the bank is at the core of driving regional integration for Africa. AfDB was set up to drive regional integration and we have been doing that since 1964. We are working towards a common market eventually,” he said.

This comes days after Adesina stated that the US$430 million highway connecting the South East region of Nigeria from Enugu to Bamenda, in Cameroon will be finished before the end of the year.

He added that the Enugu-Cameroon highway would improve trade in West Africa, as it is also currently rounding up feasibility studies for an Abidjan-Lagos corridor by the end of 2021.

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