The European Business Council for Africa

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group has approved a $47.09 million grant for the first phase of Mozambique’s Pemba-Lichinga Integrated Development Corridor, a Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone.

The grant, from the African Development Fund, will help improve agricultural productivity and agribusiness development in the Niassa province by advancing institutional capacity, skills, and entrepreneurship to spur agricultural value chain growth.

The project will pilot improved policy and development coordination between the Niassa province and national departments, especially with the Ministry of Industry and Commerce and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank has approved a loan of $170 million to finance a digital and creative enterprises program in Nigeria.

The investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises Program (i-DICE) is a Federal Government of Nigeria initiative promoting investment in digital and creative industries. It is part of Nigeria’s efforts to build back better, greener, and more inclusively, to create more sustainable jobs for the teeming youthful population.

The program targets more than 68 million Nigerians aged 15 to 35 years who are recognized as leaders of innovative, early-stage, technology-enabled start-ups or as leaders of creative sector micro, small and medium sized enterprises. The program is co-financed by the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB).

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group has approved a $1.5 million grant to assess policy gaps in the digital trade and e-commerce ecosystems in 10 countries in Africa.

The funds, sourced from the African Development Fund, the Bank’s concessional window, will go to the Smart Africa Alliance, an alliance of 32 African countries, international organisations and global corporations with a vision to create a single digital market in Africa by 2030.

A $210 million loan approved by the African Development Bank’s Board of Directors on Monday could impact the lives of millions of people in Africa’s most populous country. The loan will co-finance Phase 1 of the Nigeria Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone Program. The program will help to unlock Nigeria’s agriculture sector potential. It will promote industrialization through the development of strategic crops and livestock.

African Development Bank financing for this program represents one of the Bank’s most ambitious operations in terms of scale and scope to date. It is made up of an African Development Bank loan of $160 million and an Africa Growing Together Fund loan of $50 million. Phase 1 of the project will target seven Nigerian states and the country’s Federal Capital Territory.

The project will support Nigeria’s efforts to raise agricultural productivity, promote investment, create wealth and jobs, and transform rural areas into corridors of economic prosperity. Its first phase will be implemented with co-financing from other partners in the amount of $538.05 million.

The Commission has adopted the Global Europe Civil Society Organisations programme worth €1.5 billion for the period 2021–2027. Funding will specifically support civil society organisations outside of the EU, as independent actors of governance and development in their own right and their engagement to contribute to inclusive and participatory democratic processes and better development outcomes.

Civil society organisations are vital to the attainment of human rights, the rule of law, democracy, and stability. They help devise and implement external EU policies and programmes so that they meet people's needs, reduce inequalities, and fulfil the central commitment of the 2030 Agenda to leave no one behind.

High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell said: “Civil society organisations play an essential role in protecting human rights, exposing their violations, and demanding action from governments to protect their citizens. Sadly, their work is under threat in many parts of the world. We are not just aware of the challenges they face, we are listening and we are taking action. This new programme is proof that we will support and stand by their courageous daily work.”

Militaries in West Africa’s unstable Sahel region are being outmanoeuvred by tech-savvy militants, with access to new technological advances, Niger’s president Mohamed Bazoum
warned this week.
Among the factors making it hard to keep up are the use of satellite phones, advanced weaponry smuggled from fragile Libya, and the use of motorcycles for increased mobility, he
said, giving militants the upper hand and requiring a new strategy to ‘make the war less
unbalanced’.
His comments are worrying.

At today's Nutrition for Growth Summit in Tokyo, the Commission announced a new pledge of €2.5 billion for 2021-2024 to reduce all forms of malnutrition. This contribution covers humanitarian assistance to address urgent needs as well as support to tackle the underlying causes of malnutrition, including a longer-term food systems transformation in EU partner countries.

Speaking at the Summit, Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen said: “The COVID-19 pandemic is compounding the global nutrition crisis. The need for more equitable, resilient, and sustainable food and health systems has never been as urgent. Today's pledge will contribute to addressing malnutrition in a comprehensive manner, by supporting sustainable and resilient food systems. We want to create a healthy future, free from hunger and malnutrition, for all”.

Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič said: “Nutrition is an important aspect of EU humanitarian aid. From helping children in their first years of life to supporting those affected by crises, which have left them without food, good nutrition is a basic essential. We will strengthen our support to ensure malnutrition treatment reaches the most vulnerable, helping millions to have healthier lives.”

Sovereign wealth funds are gaining ground in Africa, although urgent financial reforms are needed to boost foreign investment following the Covid-19 pandemic. This is according to economic experts speaking during the second day of the 2021 African Economic Conference in Cabo Verde.

Studies presented during one of the sessions on Friday highlighted the progress made in some countries over the past few decades to improve policies. Experts argue that more work is needed to diversify and deepen financial markets so as to expand beyond commercial banks.

Munashe Matambo, Associate Research Scientist at the Zimbabwe-based Scientific and Industrial Research and Development Centre, said there are at least 117 sovereign wealth funds currently operating or in the pipeline around the world, managing $9.1 trillion – 10% of global GDP.

A common crypto currency and an integrated capital market could boost trade in Africa and sustain growth after the Covid-19 crisis, experts said at the 2021 African Economic Conference on Friday.

But the continent first needs to harmonise national rules and protocols governing the financial systems of individual countries to make the reforms workable, panellists said during a discussion on reforming Africa’s financial system.

Anouar Hassoune, Professor of Finance and CEO of the West Africa Rating Agency, believes that a common crypto currency will ease the cost of doing business and give the continent an identity.

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group has approved $217 million in loans to fund a project that will improve road transport services in Kenya’s northeastern region.

The loans comprise $75 million from the non-concessional window of the Bank Group and $142 million from the concessional lending division, known as the African Development Fund. The Kenyan government will contribute $6.3 million. The $223.3 million project covers the 740 km Isiolo-Mandera corridor and will enhance regional integration and trade between Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia. About 867,000 people who reside around the project area are expected to benefit from the initiative.