African Development Bank: One billion opportunities for Africa

Mohamed Salah
5 Min Read

The African Development Bank (ADB) held consultations with stakeholders from five north african countries on its human capital development strategy in the region, on the first and second of November.

The approach paper drafted by the ADB (One Billion Opportunities: Building Human Capital for Inclusive Growth in Africa) provides a framework for the bank’s investments in human capital development within the context of the Mid-Term Strategy (MTS) and forthcoming corporate Long Term Strategy (LTS).

The report that served as a discussion paper focuses on areas where the Bank can exploit its comparative advantages, in a flexible yet selective way enabling it to respond to new and emerging challenges in Africa.

The Casablanca consultations are the latest  in a series of discussions that took place in different African cities; Nairobi, Lusaka, Ouagadougou and Pretoria receiving partners from neighboring countries to discuss the bank’s work plan in education, health, social protection and other human development issues.

For two days, delegations from Morocco, Tunisia, Mauritania, Algeria and Egypt convened in Mohammed VI Foundation for Solidarity and Microfinance, the representatives – who work in various fields related to human development – raised issues concerning the situation of human capital in their countries and their organisations.

During the first day, the organisers explained the bank’s strategy and how they intend to use the outcome of the meeting to polish it. Adel Ben Youssef the moderator of the conference and the professor of Economics at Nice Sophia Antipolis University identified the objectives of the talks; to check the validity of the strategy and to make it operational. He clarified that more than 20 consultations were and will be held in all African hubs, as well as special consultations with young students in the concerned countries.

The director of the Microfinance observatory Mohamed Asri spoke of the microcredit as a tool to fight against exclusion and poverty and the role of his centre in supporting small projects, through a multitude of studies, and a set of programs tailored to serve this purpose.

The chief economist on Education at ADB Morocco Mohamed Gueye gave a diagnostic of the situation. He said Africa will not reach the majority of the millennium development goals set for 2015, especially eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health and ensuring environmental sustainability.

According to Gueye there are major obstacles standing in the way, low growth elasticity of poverty among poor populations, an inherited growth with no value added, strong inequalities in the distribution of goods and the access to services, and a low services quality.

The education economist spoke also of potential opportunities for the continent, the galloping demographic growth, the rapid economic growth, the technological revolution, the political transformations and the young populations were seen by him giving hope

He said that six of the 10 countries with highest growth rates belong to Sub-Saharan Africa, they are: Angola, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Chad, Mozambique and Rwanda, also six of the 10 most unequal countries are from the same region, e.g. South Africa and the Central African Republic.

Gueye then exposed the areas of potential actions for the bank; the first pillar is the growth, productivity and employment because, according to the bank’s vision, only a healthy and educated population can provide a productive manpower, and it is important to use the new technologies to build a knowledge based economy.

The second set of actions is related to the optimisation of resources, accountability and the citizen’s voice, to tackle the governance problems.

The last pillar of the strategy is the inclusion and social cohesion, to improve the impact of growth on poverty.

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