AfDB Moves To Address Infrastructure Challenges In Africa | Independent Newspapers Limited
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AfDB Moves To Address Infrastructure Challenges In Africa

Posted: Jun 29, 2015 at 12:22 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Sola Alabadan Lagos

In view of the infrastructure challenges facing Nigeria and most African countries, the president of African Development Bank (AfDB), Donald Kaberuka, will be attending the meeting of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) in Beijing, China today June 29 to discuss strategies that would ensure the proposed bank focus its attention on the continent.

He will be discussing with the representatives of 57 prospective founding countries of the AIIB, who will be signing the constitution of the bank, creating a legal framework for the existence of the entity.
Kaberuka informed that the AfDB has spent $28 billion on infrastructure investments in the past 10 years under his tenure, which translates into $80 billion equivalent to the benefit of local economies.

However, Africa needs $95 billion for investments in new roads, railways, electricity and ports every year, but lacks dependable local sources of funding for these initiatives.

“We have been working with Asian countries to ensure the AIIB future investments benefit African countries,” Kaberuka, told Xinhua in Nairobi, Kenya at the weekend.
China first proposed the AIIB in 2014 with the aim of financing infrastructure as many countries do not have the capacity to fund the infrastructure upgrades they need. So far, 57 countries have agreed to join the AIIB, including Britain, Germany, France and Italy. It will have authorised capital of $100 billion and the initial subscribed capital is expected to be around $50 billion.

“This bank will invest Asian savings on profitable ventures. We highly support this initiative because it would be another vehicle for investment. We are creating more investment vehicles to enable Africa benefit from such ventures,” Kaberuka said.

He added that “We would work with the Asian countries to see how to extend some of these major infrastructure investment programmes to Africa. I am traveling there to discuss this strategy.”

There are also growing Chinese and Asian investments in construction, power infrastructure, tourism and telecommunication sectors, aimed at empowering African economies.

China built 86 economic infrastructure projects in African countries from 2010 to 2012, according to a white paper released by the Information Office of the State Council in 2014.

Chinese companies brought capital and technology into Africa, lowered construction costs and promoted the image of “Constructed by China.”

“As infrastructure construction to improve regional inter-connectivity is vital for Africa’s economic integration, China, with a competitive advantage in this regard, will eye deepening cooperation on road, railway, port, aviation, electricity and communication,” Chinese Premier, Li Keqiang said during his visit to Africa in 2014.
Kaberuka said he also planned to use his Asian mission to discuss strategies that could make it possible for the African countries to benefit from the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road.

Proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2013, the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road, which are later dubbed as the “Belt and Road” initiative, is aimed at reviving the ancient trade route between Asia and the world.