On its 50th anniversary, the African Development Fund draws accolades, gratitude, for its achievements in Africa
Panel of donor countries representatives during the 50th anniversary celebration of the African Development Fund.
The African Development Fund (ADF) has celebrated 50 years of driving socioeconomic development in Africa’s most fragile countries.
Held during the African Development Bank Group’s Annual Meetings—23 to 27 May—the event brought together beneficiaries and donors to speak about the impact and performance of the Fund. It also featured live performance and video.
Ana Monteiro, an environmental project coordinator from Cabo Verde, testified to the African Development Bank Group’s role as anchor investor for Cabeólica Wind Power, a public-private project to harness the country’s abundant wind power. The company currently operates 30 wind turbines that generate nearly 30% of the island country’s energy needs.
Selina Avevor, a member of Kobiman women’s association in rural Ghana, appeared in person to discuss the training centre, water tank and 20-bed accommodation financed by the African Development Fund. Owing to this support, women in the community have gained the skills to produce liquid soap, bags, jewellery and other products and to earn a livelihood.
During a panel discussion, donors to the Fund expressed consensus about the importance and strategic impact of the Fund.
“The ADF has produced tremendous development results for the continent over the past 50 years. It’s been a critical partner for the United States and other donors who want to come and be partners in Africa and an African-led vision for stable, sustainable growth,” said Jessica Isaacs, Senior Advisor to the U.S Director, African Development Bank.
Phil Stevens, Head of International Financial Institutions for the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said: “Multilateral funds like this one are really essential to solve the global challenges we face like climate change and pandemics.” He commended the Fund as a great source of innovation, citing the Africa Disaster Risks Financing Programme as an example.
"We have always supported the ADF and will continue to do so because we appreciate the work it does,” said Mmakgoshi Phetla-Lekhethe, South Africa Director for the African Development Bank’s Board. South Africa and Botswana were the first African countries to contribute to the Fund.
“We will work alongside the ADF,” said Christophe Borries, Assistant Director in charge of Multilateral Financial Affairs and Development at the French Ministry of Economy and Finance. He also praised the Fund’s innovative spirit at its inception, which “first and foremost emphasised fragility.”
Via a video link, Vice President of Cote d’Ivoire Tiémoko Meyliet Koné issued a call on behalf of President Alassane Ouattara, for “a larger mobilisation of donors for a strong replenishment of ADF16, to broaden the gains made of the past 50 years.”
Adesina offered closing remarks. He welcomed the commitment of African Development Fund donor countries to the proposition that “all lives have equal dignity and every woman, or man, has the right to a decent life. The African Development Fund has given hope and opened up opportunities for millions of people. On behalf of all those people who now have access to water, electricity, health, and better living conditions, I would like to thank the ADF, “ he said.
He enumerated projects that have been game changers in several countries: The four-tier Pokuase interchange in Ghana, the first of its kind in West Africa; and the regional express train in Senegal, have significantly increased mobility. He also cited the Desert to Power initiative, which aims to provide 10 GW of electricity to 250 million people in the Sahel region by 2050.
Established in 1972, the African Development Fund is the concessional financing window of the African Development Bank Group. Thanks to the ADF, in the last five years, 15.5 million people have been connected to electricity; another 74 million have gained access to improved agriculture; and 42 million citizens have benefited from better water and sanitation services.
The Fund will hold its 16th replenishment meetings later in 2022.