By Kunle Aderinokun
The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group has said it had approved about $8.5 billion as loans in 2011, representing 36 percent increase over about $6.2 billion in 2010.
This was disclosed at the financial presentation of the AfDB’s results and operations for 2011 at its annual meetings in Arusha, Tanzania.
Infrastructure, the largest area of operations accounted for 38 per cent of the loans and grants , followed by multi-sector loans and grants which came to almost 21 percent of the total.
The multi-sector category covers public sector management, including good governance and anti-corruption programs, industrial import facilitation and export promotion.
Finance, which is another large sector was finance, accounting for just over 19 percent of the total. The finance operation includes financing to development banking, commercial banking, non-bank financial intermediation, reinsurance and microfinance funds.
Infrastructure is one of the four main pillars of the AfDB’s strategy for assisting the development of the African continent. The other three are investing in the private sector, education and promoting good governance.
The AfDB’s Treasurer, Pierre Van Peteghem, while making the financial presentation, described some of the outcomes of the bank’s infrastructure investments.
He pointed to $23million Rural Electrification Project in Guinea which is boosting electrification from 3 percent to a target of 20 percent by 2015.
Peteghem said $82 million Kazungula Bridge project between Zambia and Botswana would significantly reduce the border transit time from 30 hours to just six hours on completion in 2018.
The treasurer however noted that between 2009 and 2011,12.5 million people benefitted from new or improved access to water and sanitation. Almost 11 million people enjoyed better access to transport over the same period.
Those years saw the construction, maintenance or rehabilitation of 25,000 km of roads and feeder roads.
In the same period, almost 15,000 km of power transmission lines were installed or rehabilitated, and 6.7 million people gained access to electricity.
On the private sector, Peteghem said the AfDB’s operations would make long-term positive impacts across Africa.
According to him, the private sector accounted for 25 projects approved by the AfDB in 2011, or 15 percent of Group approvals.
He said that over the next 20 to 30 years those projects were expected to raise $3.5 billion in taxes for governments in Africa.
The projects, he added, are also expected to create 86,600 permanent and temporary jobs. Another outcome would be credit or business opportunities for 1,160 women-led businesses.
As for higher education, technology and vocational training, the bank’s treasurer said there had been five approvals in 2011 totalling $79 million.
Peteghem stated that the AfDB had approved 19 operations in the sector over the last three years, with total funding of USD 461 million.
The expected outcomes from those interventions, he said, were 6,000 classrooms built, 107,000 teachers recruited, 4.25 million textbooks supplied and three million scholars and students benefitting.