Vincent Nmehielle Secretary General African Development Bank Group
I am delighted to welcome you all to the Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank Group here in beautiful Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.
At these Meetings, our Boards of Governors review the activities of the Bank and the Fund during the previous financial year and provide direction and guidance for the next. They will make key decisions and conclusions. Significantly, they will also consider the meaning and application of regional integration within the Bank’s mandate as a catalyst of Africa’s socio-economic development.
The Meetings provide excellent opportunities for knowledge generation through several knowledge and side events; as well as meaningful participant networking, development and business opportunities, and social interaction.
Our Annual Meetings theme this year is both appropriate and timely: “Regional Integration for Africa's Economic Prosperity". Through regional integration lies the quickest and surest political guarantee of the economic transformation of Africa. Regional integration also fuses together the many continental activities and endeavours that express the common destiny of our regional member countries.
2018-19 has already been decisive in terms of Africa’s progress towards integration. The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) was launched in March 2018 and the key 22nd ratification was received in April 2019. The next step is for African ministers of trade to work on how to facilitate the launch of the AfCFTA during a summit meeting on 7 July, 2019.
We are creating the Africa we want – an integrated and prosperous Africa, growing and using its wealth, employing its youth in sustainable jobs, with a high level of social, health and educational achievement. Let’s get to this Africa quickly: with courage, confidence, cooperation and dignity.