Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, the president of the African Development Bank Group has shown deep admiration for President Joe Biden’s administration towards Africa. Adesina praised President Biden’s administration particularly its commitment to the development of robust infrastructure, which he described as the “backbone of every economy.”

“I commend President Biden for what he has done with the PGII (Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment) which he announced during the US Africa summit in 2022,” Adesina said.

During a meeting at the bank’s headquarters in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire, Dr. Adesina warmly welcomed a delegation from the US Trade and Development Agency (USTDA) led by Director Enoh Ebong. He commended President Biden for the PGII (Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment) initiative announced during the US Africa summit in 2022, which involves significant investment exceeding $1.5 billion in various African projects spanning digital access, agriculture, clean energy infrastructure, and the vital Lobito transportation corridor connecting Zambia, Angola, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Dr. Adesina spoke on the close working relationship between the African Development Bank and the US government, including its agencies such as USTDA, USAID, US Exim Bank, MCC, and Power Africa. Director Ebong echoed this sentiment, stating that their visit aimed to strengthen and further develop the partnership, emphasizing the US commitment to collaborating with Africa on critical global issues like climate change, infrastructure development, and conflict resolution.

“The purpose of our trip is to cement and keep the partnership growing, resetting and restarting US approach to working with Africa and its centrality as an active participant in dealing with all challenges we are facing globally such as climate change and infrastructure development and conflicts,” Enoh Ebong stated

Highlighting the importance of Africa’s perspective on climate change, Director Ebong affirmed the Biden administration’s recognition of the need to engage with the African Development Bank to inform its strategies in Africa. She reiterated USTDA’s collaboration with the Africa Investment Forum (AIF) to accelerate transactions and attract investors, citing the financing of Nigeria’s MobiHealth telemedicine project expansion to other African countries as a significant achievement.

“Climate change cannot be talked about without the continent’s views and voice. The Biden administration appreciates the need to engage “with the Bank to help inform its work in Africa,” Ebong said.

Dr. Adesina outlined potential areas of collaboration in the health sector, including investment in improving primary healthcare access and quality through standardization and digitization, as well as the provision of health insurance services in rural areas. He elaborated on the Bank’s efforts to ensure health security post-Covid-19, including a $3 billion program for quality health infrastructure and another $3 billion program over seven years to bolster Africa’s pharmaceutical industry.

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In June 2022, the African Development Bank launched the African Pharmaceutical Technology Foundation to enhance the continent’s access to pharmaceutical manufacturing technology, including medicines, vaccines, and other essential products. Dr. Adesina talked on the significance of these initiatives in advancing healthcare and promoting economic growth across Africa.

Dr. Akinwumi Adesina also made mention of the vast investment opportunities in infrastructure, highlighting projects like the $15.6 billion corridor from Abidjan to Lagos, which he proposed should have a dedicated session at the upcoming Africa Investment Forum Market Days to attract more attention and investment from the US.

He also discussed the significant work carried out by the Alliance for Green Infrastructure in Africa (AGIA) to mobilize $10 billion for green infrastructure, along with Africa50’s efforts to raise $1 billion for project preparation.

In terms of empowering women in business, Adesina emphasised the impact of the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA), an initiative by the African Development Bank Group aimed at bridging the $42 billion gap in access to finance for women-owned businesses. By the end of 2023, approvals for disbursement to women-owned businesses had exceeded $1.2 billion. Additionally, the establishment of Youth Entrepreneurship Investment Banks was highlighted as a means to provide financial and technical support to young African entrepreneurs.

Furthermore, Adesina in a bid to shed more light outlined the Bank’s collaboration with other development partners to establish Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones aimed at boosting food and agricultural production, thus potentially transforming rural life across Africa. Currently, the Bank is supporting up to 25 such zones in 11 countries.

The meeting between the African Development Bank and the US delegation included key figures such as Vice President for Private Sector, Infrastructure, and Industrialization Solomon Quaynor, along with members from the Bank Group president’s Cabinet, including Director General and Chief of Staff Alex Mubiru, Director and Senior Advisor Gauthier Bourlard, and Director of Strategy and Delivery Josiah Maximilian Bankole Jarrett.

Director Enoh Ebong and her delegation engaged in a two-day workshop with senior management from the African Development Bank to explore innovative financial investment opportunities, particularly focusing on the green growth sector. The delegation from the US Trade and Development Agency included Chief of Staff Heather Lanigan, Regional Manager for Finance and Implementation Sarah Whitten, US Executive Director Alex Severens, Advisor Anush Avetisyan, and Trade Officer at the US embassy in Abidjan.