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Ride the wave of the African Continental Free Trade Area, says AfDB president

Africa is on the cusp of unmatched economic transformation, and the United Kingdom (UK) must engage in a “partnership of change,” African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina said in a keynote address at a UK Parliamentary Symposium.

The Bank’s chief argued that Africa and the UK should be significant trading partners. “The reality, however, is that UK’s trade with Africa is trending downwards. From a USD49-billion peak in 2012, trade decreased to USD30.6-billion in 2018,” he noted.

The decline in UK trade and investment in Africa is against a backdrop of projected business-to-business and consumer-to-consumer expenditures of $5.6-trillion by 2020, and a food and agriculture market worth $1 trillion by 2030. The African Development Bank has been a major investor in infrastructure development in the electricity, transport, and water sectors across Africa.

Cumulative Bank funding for infrastructure on the continent rose by 22% from $66.9 billion in 2016 to $81.6 billion in 2017. During the same period, the value of infrastructure projects with private sector participation has increased from $3.6-billion to $5.2-billion. The Bank has established several project preparation facilities to address the lack of bankable projects and ensure a robust pipeline of projects. These facilities collectively provide $30-50 million annually in support for project preparation.

Source: African Development Bank

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