African Development Bank

African Business, May 1998 | Go to article overview

African Development Bank


BUILDING A FUTURE FOR AFRICA

The current development priorities of the African Development Bank Group are based on Africa's development objectives. These include promoting sustainable development through production growth acceleration and social development support.

The ADB Group keenly recognises the central role of poverty reduction in the quest to improving socio-economic conditions in Africa. In addressing the objectives of growth and poverty reduction, Bank Group operations give priority to investments in rural and social development, as well as those addressing cross-sectoral concerns, such as gender mainstreaming, environmental management, economic integration and private sector development.

Strategic Areas of Focus of the Bank Group include:

Agriculture

* To increase and diversify agricultural production, generate supplementary revenues and employment and attain food self-sufficiency.

Transport

* Create new infrastructure; rehabilitate and maintain existing infrastructure.

Public Utilities

* Strengthen the telecommunications, energy and water supply sub-sectors.

Energy

* Ensure power supply and exploitation of mining resources.

Health & Education

* Ensure rehabilitation and creation of health centres, hospitals, supply of medicines, medical research; strengthening of educational structures.

Industry

* Support industrialisation efforts and domestic processing of primary products through lending to financial intermediaries.

Environmental Management

In the area of environmental management, the ADB Group acts in conformity with a number of sectoral guidelines related to forestry, industry, energy and mining sector, maritime and coastal resources protection. Environmental protection is therefore a major area of the ADB's special initiatives. With respect to the integration of environmental concerns into Bank Group operations, considerable progress has been made toward implementing the Environmental Policy. Guidelines for the environmental impact assessment (EIA) are being developed for several new areas of assessment, in-depth training has been provided to managers and professional staff in the area of environmental analysis and preservation. Training has been offered to officials of the Bank's regional member countries too. This is to make them familiar with Bank Group policies and procedures on the environment and environmental impact assessments, and to improve project quality and sustainability.

Private Sector Promotion

Recognising the crucial role of the private sector in contributing to sustained economic growth, the ADB Board of directors has approved a strategy aimed at expanding the scope and effectiveness of the Bank's private sector operations. The strategy goes beyond traditional direct project lending by exploiting new possibilities for promoting private sector development in the continent. This strategy is being implemented in close collaboration with bilateral and multi-lateral development institutions operating in Africa. The Bank's private sector promotion strategy consists of five major planks:

1) The creation of enabling environments through policy reforms. In this regard, the Bank has stepped up its collaboration with other institutions in facilitating the appropriate economic, financial, institutional and regulatory environment by promoting the growth of institutions like stock exchanges and diversifying the range of instruments available for mobilising resources for investment.

2) Consolidate traditional areas of support for financing projects and equity participation, and introducing new investment instruments such as guarantees, quasi-equity instruments, and lines of credit to private financial intermediaries.

3) Explore the possibilities of playing a more catalytic role in mobilising private resource flows through such mechanisms as co-financing for infrastructure investments.

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