Minister of Finance, Hon. Ken Ofori-Atta has commend African Development Bank for its massive contributions in Ghana’s development as he addressed journalists at a press conference to launch the institution’s annual meetings on Thursday.
Ofori-Atta described the meetings as seminal, in the context of a world seeking to re-balance in the wake of Covid-19 and the Russian-Ukraine invasion.
“The hosting is long overdue. Forty-one African economies are severely exposed to at least three concurrent crises – rising food prices, rising energy prices and tightening financial conditions – what finance ministers now call the dreaded three F’s,” Ofori-Atta said.
Throughout Africa food prices are currently around 34% higher, crude oil prices 60 % and global inflation is affecting all countries, the minister said, with inflation in Ghana standing at around 23.6%.
“The newly poverty in Africa has increased by 55 million and approximately 35 million formal jobs are at risk,” the Minister said. “This toxic mix of challenges exists even as we try to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.”
“In the African Development Bank, we have a well-positioned institution with the convening power and a network of technical and financial resources to significantly contribute toward finding robust solutions to some of these intractable problems that we are experiencing,” Ofori-Atta stated.
The annual meeting has scheduled from 23-27 May in the Ghana’s capital city, Accra. There would be a showcase of products and services of 13 indigenous industrialists and 5 fintechs on the sidelines.
The Miniater also touched on the replenishment of the African Development Fund (ADF), the African Development Bank Group’s concessional lending arm. This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Fund.
“One of the key issues is how to push our non-regionals to accept ADF going to the capital markets to leverage the $25 billion equity so we can get more resources,” Ofori-Atta narrated.
He added that, the ADF would benefit from cheaper interest rates, should it turn to the capital markets. Donors and multilateral institutions cannot meet the development demand Africa has.
Speaking of the cocoa value chain, Ofori-Atta noted the importance of adding value to boost the incomes of the country’s farmers in the lucrative cocoa industry. He said an emergency food plan proposed by the African Development Bank is designed to assist farmers, especially with fertilizers.
The plan, which hinges on providing certified seeds of climate-adapted varieties to 20 million African farmers, would see the rapid production of 38 million tonnes of food across Africa over the next two years. With the disruption of supplies arising from the war in Ukraine, Africa is facing a shortage of at least 30 million metric tonnes of food, especially wheat, maize, and soybeans imported from Ukraine and Russia. The Bank has pledged to invest $1.3 billion in the plan’s implementation.
“Through our enduring partnership with the Bank, Ghana has undertaken significant infrastructure development,” the minister said. He also noted other areas of collaboration, including education, modernization of agriculture and financing for small businesses.
“It is a good time for this AGM to happen. It could lead to some really important change in how the global financial architecture is tackled so that we can get the resources we need to be able to transform the continent,” Ofori-Atta said.
About the African Development Bank Group.
The African Development Bank Group is Africa’s premier development finance institution. It comprises three distinct entities: the African Development Bank (AFDB), the African Development Fund (ADF) and the Nigeria Trust Fund (NTF).
On the ground in 41 African countries with an external office in Japan, the Bank contributes to the economic development and the social progress of its 54 regional member states.