Themed “A Conducive Environment for Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development, Increase Intra-trade and Job Creation,” the 39th Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Summit was held in Tanzania has been opened.
The highlight of the occasion which saw the participation of more than 100 delegates was when Akinwuni Adesina, the president of the African Development Bank (AfDB) revealed that the bank had invested USD 13 Bn in Southern Africa since 2012.
According to Adesina, the megapack of long-term investments is paying off, “delivering strong results across all the countries in the region. The bank injected USD 5 Bn in South Africa’s power utility Eskom and made a USD 114 Mn support for Mauritius’s St. Louis Power Plant which now provides 36 percent of the country’s population with reliable power.
Recently, Namibia unveiled its Walvis Bay Port expansion project, for which AfDB provided USD 300 Mn in assistance. The input is expected to double the project’s capacity from 300,000 to 750,000 twenty-foot equivalent units. The initiative is also meant to provide a more substantial port access to Zambia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe.
The bank also funded the construction of the Kazungula Bridge that is expected to connect Zambia with Botswana, and improve access to Malawi and the DRC. With USD 500 Mn, AfDB supported the Nacala corridor which holds the key for much regional integration in the SADC region, ultimately expanding trade by 25 percent and reduce transport by 15 to 25 percent.
Currently, the bank is putting hands on deck for the establishment of a USD 1.2 Bn SADC Development Fund that will support the mobilization of domestic resources for regional infrastructure and industrialization. May 2019, the Adesina-led group gave the nod for USD 2 Mn in funding to support the SADC Fund, including the preps for mining, agriculture, and pharmaceuticals.
According to Adesina, for every dollar of paid-in capital by the region, it received USD 19 Mn in investments, an impressive 19:1 leverage ratio. Thanking the heads of state for their strong support for a general capital increase (GCI) for the Bank, he noted that the proposed capital increase would help fast-track Africa’s development.
SADC’s 16 member states are Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Comoros, Lesotho, Malawi, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Seychelles, ESwatini, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
“I see a brighter future for the SADC region. Regional railways that link the whole region, regional value chains that will drive competitiveness, Special Agro-industrial zones that will transform agriculture into a major business across the region, creating millions of jobs, and regional power pools that will finally solve the energy challenge in the region,” Adesina concluded.