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02 August 2017

Akufo-Addo has “first rate team” – AfDB boss – Starr Fm

The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Mr. Akinwumi Adesina, has commended the significant strides chalked in the management of Ghana’s economy by the 7-month old government of the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo.

Mr. Adesina also congratulated President Akufo-Addo for the clarity of his vision and direction in which the country’s economy is headed, which, according to him, has enhanced the image of the country and its standing with the global, international financial community.

“I must commend you for the growth that I am beginning to see. The economy is going to grow this year at 6.3%, and next year at 7.4%. The medium term outlook is great, at about 9.2%. You (President Akufo-Addo) have always said you wanted Ghana back, and a Ghana Beyond Aid. This kind of growth trajectory is exactly what is needed for a Ghana Beyond Aid,” he said.

The AfDB President also commended the Akufo-Addo government for the efforts at stabilising the country’s macroeconomy.

“The results are quite evident. If you look at the inflationary rate, it has gone down to 12.1%. The debt stock in relation to the size of the GDP has also gone down to 67%, from what you inherited. These are all great signs of your stewardship in the few months that you have taken over. That is a very good tone,” he said.

Mr. Akinwumi Adesina made this known on Wednesday, 2nd August, 2017, when he paid a courtesy call on President Akufo-Addo, at the Presidency, as part of his 3-day working visit to Ghana.

With Ghana in recent years dealing with the concessionary arm of the Bank, Mr. Adesina noted that “with the rapid economic growth that we have seen, and with the macroeconomic stabilisation that you are having, and your Minister of Finance is doing an incredible job, we will work with you to move Ghana towards the commercial window of the Bank.”

What that means, he said, “is that Ghana will be able to access $500 million a year, over a three-year period, for developmental programmes. I just want to assure you that we will provide the maximum amount support for you and your government to succeed. You have put together an excellent team, a first rate team, and I have every confidence that it will succeed.”

Pledge of AfDB support

Ghana and the AfDB, Mr. Adesina noted, have “been in marriage of development since 1973, and it has been a really great one because during that time, we have made investments of $3.2 billion. We currently have investments of $950 million in different sectors – infrastructure, energy, agriculture, and private sector. These are areas of importance to you.”

Outlining some of investments undertaken by the Bank in Ghana, the AfDB President noted that the Fufluso-Sawla road project, which won the African Development impact award, and the Northern Rural Development Project (NRDP) are examples of initiatives that have impacted the lives of hundreds of thousands of Ghanaians.

On NRDP, Mr. Adesina noted that the project has helped to develop almost 4,000 hectares of irrigated land, led to the construction of warehouses and a significant increase in yields of staples such as maize and soya beans.

The AfDB President also expressed his delight at the stability the Akufo-Addo government has achieved in the energy sector, stressing that “we will continue to be supportive especially on renewable energy in Takoradi TII.”

He assured further that the Bank will support Ghana “in trying to deal with the issue through partial credit guarantees and partial risk guarantees to reduce the debt levels, because the power sector has to work very well.”

Touching on cocoa, Mr. Adesina described the leadership and President Akufo-Addo and that of President Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire as crucial.

“As both you mentioned to me, it does not make sense for Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire to produce 64% of the world’s cocoa, and, yet, be at the short end of the stick of not being able to control the market. So you have given us specific instructions of what you wanted and we’ve moved on that,” he said

To this end, the AfDB President noted that, “We (AfDB) have received a request for $1.2 billion from Ghana’s Minister of Agriculture and from the Cocoa and Coffee Board of Cote d’Ivoire, and we will be looking at building warehouses so you can store the cocoa and not have to sell immediately after harvest.

Secondly, Mr. Adesina noted that a Stabilization Fund has been set up to “make sure we are able to deal with downside risk in terms of the volatility of prices. The third is to recapitalise the cocoa plantations because they are quite old, and it requires an injection of money by the state to do that.”

Mr. Akinwumi Adesina assured President Akufo-Addo and the government and people of Ghana that “the Bank is very strong solid as ever. Last year, $10.5 billion dollars of approvals, which is highest in the history of the bank, and we also did $6.5 billion of disbursements, again the highest in the history of the Bank. So the bank is very strong to support you realise your vision.”

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