AfDB optimistic about economic prospects for Southern Africa Region
The Southern Africa region’s investment opportunities and prospects for economic growth are encouraging despite recent headwinds of a global pandemic and food crisis, the African Development Bank’s, Senior Vice President Swazi Tshabalala has said.
Tshabalala attended the 42nd Ordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) which closed in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s capital, Kinshasa last week.
She was accompanied by bank officials Solomane Kone, deputy director general of the Central Africa Region; Jean-Guy Afrika, acting director of the bank’s Regional Integration Coordination Office; and Dr. Lufeyo Banda, chief regional operations officer.
Tshabalala said, “The African Development Bank Group is highly optimistic about the future of the SADC region. Although the pandemic and food crisis challenged the region in ways no one expected, regional cooperation in investment, security, infrastructure, health, climate, agriculture, and trade is accelerating at an impressive pace. Those trends are creating new opportunities to strengthen the region’s productive systems and to upgrade urban and regional infrastructure.”
The senior vice president held fruitful discussions with several ministers and heads of state, including President Hakainde Hichilema of Zambia and President Lazarus Chakwera of Malawi. Both presidents expressed their gratitude for the support provided by the bank group over the years. They emphasized the critical role of the African Development Fund—the bank’s concessional lending window—in supporting their countries’ development efforts. Presidents Hichilema and Chakwera spoke of the urgent need to mobilize additional concessional resources. They called on the African Development Bank Group to accelerate the implementation of its flagship financial initiatives, especially the amendment of the charter of the African Development Fund, to enable it to access the financial market.
The delegation discussed and received feedback on some of the African Development Bank Group’s flagship financial initiatives including the recently launched African Emergency Food Production Facility, the 16th replenishment of the African Development Fund, and related efforts to access the financial market, the proposed reallocation of International Monetary Fund (IMF) Special Drawing Rights through the African Development Bank Group, and the Security-Indexed Investment Bonds initiative.
The bank officials also met with DRC’s finance minister, Nicolas Kazadi, and Mozambique’s deputy finance minister, Amilcar Paia Tivane. Discussions centered on the bank’s active portfolio in both countries and possibilities for mobilizing additional resources to plug infrastructure gaps, support agricultural transformation, promote industrialization and trade, and help the two countries address pressing security and climate-related concerns.
The SADC Heads of State Summit is organized annually and represents the body’s highest policy organ and decision-making body. All 16 SADC member states attend the summit. Regional leaders also reviewed the status of the implementation of SADC’s flagship initiatives and programs and discussed pressing climate and security concerns.