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African Development Bank supports development of satellite observations for African early warning systems

The recently released Hydromet Gap Report highlighted weaknesses in Africa’s weather and climate observation systems that contribute to a lack of climate data and inadequate early warning systems. The report calls for the establishment of ground and upper air stations for basic observation and satellite data coverage to strengthen forecast and early warning mechanisms for extreme weather events.

Some advances have been made. As a result of African Development Bank support, Africa now has direct access to satellite data to produce forecasts and prediction models that are more responsive to natural and climate disasters. 

Under the Satellite and Weather Information for Disaster Resilience in Africa (SAWIDRA) program, the Bank provided €20 million for the installation of four regional advanced retransmission service (RARS) stations in Gabon, Niger, Kenya, and South Africa. The stations provide hydro meteorologists high-resolution satellite data that can be readily assimilated into computer models to enable early warnings.

“The RARS stations download observational data directly from several meteorological satellites from Europe, USA, and China when they orbit over Africa,” said Vincent Gabaglo (EUMETSAT), SAWIDRA’s Technical Facilitator. “Our cooperation with the African Development Bank focuses on ensuring that the African meteorological community has capacities to access the satellite data directly and process them so that they can answer the needs of their users.”

Since 2016, the Bank has supported SAWIDRA by investing in the establishment of the African Centre of Meteorological Application for Development (ACMAD) as well as the four regional climate centers.

The project has equipped ACMAD with supercomputers that are helping to monitor locust invasion – which can contain up to 150 million locusts per square kilometer and travel 100 to 150 kilometers a day, consuming crops sufficient to feed 35,000 people.

The Bank has also helped develop ACMAD’s capacity to provide prediction outputs and guidance to the climate centers and the National Meteorological and Hydrological Service (NMHS) for farmers and local communities.

“The SAWIDRA program has helped farmers make informed decisions on optimal planting times,” said Dr. Andre Kamga, Director General of the African Center of Meteorological Applications for Development.

Dr. Abubakr Babiker, a climate information expert with the East Africa region center, noted that the Kenya RARS station has been gathering high-resolution satellite data to improve severe weather forecasts. “These forecasts are increasingly being used by various sectors, including agriculture,  water, disaster risk management, conflict, and health as well as communities for contingency planning and resilience building,” he said.

SAWIDRA laid the ground for the recent launch of the state-of-the-art East Africa Hazards Watch System, said Dr. Babiker. This is an interactive, web-based, color-coded multi-hazards warning system that facilitates decision-making and early action that support resilience against severe weather and climate events.

By advancing the development of prediction models that are best suited to Africa’s weather systems, the SAWIDRA program has transformed hydrometeorological service delivery on the continent.

The Bank has been extending financing to the SAWIDRA program and other innovative programs to improve access to quality climate data through the Climate for Development Africa Special Fund (CDSF). This multi-donor trust fund supports African countries, institutions and communities to build resilience to the impacts of climate change.

RARS station built at ICPAC’s premises (Kibiko Ngong – Nairobi, Kenya)

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Hundreds gather for Third Japan-Africa Business Forum, prelude to TICAD 8

Around 1,600 people from all over Africa and Japan gathered over six days to explore closer business ties at the Third Japan-Africa Business Forum, which this year attracted the highest number of participants since its launch.

The conference was organized by the Asia External Representation Office of the African Development Bank, in coordination with the African Diplomatic Corps in Tokyo, the Japan External Trade Organization, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, the United Nations Development Programme and United Nations Industrial Development Organization. It took place in a hybrid format between 29 June and 8 July. This year’s theme was “Shaping a New Africa in the Era of Covid-19.”

Koji Yonetani, a senior official in the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, delivered a speech on issues to be addressed at the 8th Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD8) next year. Yonetani, Director General in the African Affairs Department, identified two major themes that should be addressed at TICAD 8. Firstly, the solidarity of the international community to overcome the Covid-19 pandemic. Secondly, a “better recovery” in Africa by utilizing the power of the private sector. He said “public-private dialogue will be an indispensable and important element of TICAD 8 next year, in order to harness the power of the private sector.”

In her keynote speech at the opening session, Acting Senior Vice President of the Bank, Bajabulile “Swazi” Tshabalala, underscored the Bank’s strong partnership with Japan, citing examples such as the Enhanced Private Sector Assistance or “EPSA” Initiative. She stressed the reasons why Japanese businesses are increasingly attracted to Africa. “The opportunities are tremendous, and Africa, with its growing population and demographic dividend, is the next new frontier in the global economy.” Tshabalala also called on the Japanese business community to join the Bank’s Africa Investment Forum in November 2021.

Five of the six days were dedicated to the Bank’s High 5 strategic priorities, namely Light Up and Power Africa, Feed Africa, Industrialize Africa, Integrate Africa, and Improve the Quality of Life for the People of Africa. One session focused on start-ups.

Takashi Hanajiri, Head of the Bank’s Asia External Representation Office, explained the Bank’s role as an investment facilitator.

“There are risks in African business. However, the risks are challenges to be controlled and are proof of the opportunities on the other side of the coin. The key to doing business in Africa is to meet good business partners and utilize the support tools of our Bank.”

The Forum was accompanied by a three-week online business matching platform, which attracted 375 people from African, European, and Japanese companies. The participants exchanged 503 messages and held 59 business-to-business meetings virtually. 

To promote Africa as an investment and trade destination, the Forum brought together African ministers, Japanese government officials, senior officials of the Bank, and business executives from both Japan and Africa. TICAD8 will take place in Tunisia, in 2022.

More details: https://www.jabf2021.com/

The 3rd Japan-Africa Business Forum

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Tanzania: FAPA launches franchising project to bolster small enterprises

The Fund for African Private Sector Assistance launched its Africa Franchise Accelerator Project in Tanzania. The project will promote and model franchising as part of a national enterprise development strategy to stimulate economic integration, job creation, skills transfer and wealth creation.

FAPA, a multi-donor trust fund that finances technical assistance to advance the African Development Bank’s private sector development strategy, provided a $799,800 grant for the project.

The grant will support technical assistance to the Franchise Association of Tanzania to boost the transformation of 90 indigenous small and medium enterprises and 10 aggregated micro operators into franchise brands and sustain a thriving franchise system.

“This project offers a timely boost to Tanzania’s micro enterprises, which will gain access to growth-fueling intellectual property and an established brand name. Success here will also inform initiatives to scale up the franchising model across Africa,” said Omowunmi Jonah, task manager of AFRAP Project.  

Franchising is a business arrangement in which an entrepreneur or small company—the franchisee— gains access to the brand power, operational systems and intellectual property of a more established entity, or franchisor, to conduct business.  

The project is expected to diversify the economy by strengthening the competitiveness of Tanzania’s SMEs, which form a sizable proportion of the economy, as in most African countries.

Representatives of the Tanzania Private Sector Foundation attended the launch event held in Dar es Salaam on 9 July.  

FAPA, managed by the African Development Bank with support from the Governments of Japan and Austria, has provided over $66 million in financing to 82 projects in over 38 African countries. The Fund’s portfolio includes regional and national projects to improve the business environment, strengthen financial systems, build private sector infrastructure, and promote trade and the development of micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises.

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Kenya : Last Mile Connectivity Project

In 2017, the Kenyan government, supported by the African Development Bank, launched the “Last Mile Connectivity Project.” Its objectif? To connect the 47% of the population remaining in the darkness to the national electricity grid. Low-income populations are particularly targeted. Without electricity, future prospects are limited, and that’s why this project seeks to limit poverty and improve the living conditions of everyone, such as Peter Muthoka, a farmer, and Joel Nzuki Kanga, a barber.

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African Development Bank Group, Ethiopia, sign $118 million in grant agreements to support agro industrial park, youth employment and Ethiopia-…

The African Development Bank Group and the Government of Ethiopia have signed two separate grant agreements for new projects to boost youth employment and electricity trade between Ethiopia and Djibouti.

The grants fall under the Bank Group’s concessional lending window, the African Development Fund, and will go towards the Productivity Enhancement to Support Agro Industrial Parks and Youth Employment Project worth $47 million, and the $71 million Ethiopia-Djibouti Second Power Interconnection Project, which aims to boost electricity trade between Ethiopia and neighbouring Djibouti.

The industrial parks and youth project will see the development of irrigation and water management infrastructure around the Integrated Agro-Industrial Parks, offering opportunities for graduate “agri-preneurs” to establish agro-related, commercially viable businesses. The $102 million venture is being co-financed with the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA), with a $5.25 million contribution by the Ethiopian government.

Under the scheme, 12,607 ha of irrigated land would be developed and about 3,000 youths will receive both agronomic/agriculture and business development training. Bank financing is expected to cover 4,607 ha and BADEA financing another 8,000 ha.

The irrigation infrastructure will strengthen water users’ associations; protect the water-shed areas around the irrigation schemes; go towards training farmers and youth agri-preneurs on soil and water conservation practices, agricultural production, value addition and marketing; and support established youth SMEs to access credit.

The project will be implemented over a five-year period (2021-2026) under the supervision of the Ministry of Water, Irrigation and Energy and the country’s Irrigation Development Commission.

The Ethiopia-Djibouti Second Power Interconnection Project follows an earlier Bank-financed power interconnection project between the two countries, and builds on its accrued benefits over the last 10 years. It will enable the construction of about 300 km of interconnector lines, 170 km of transmission lines to reinforce the network within Ethiopia, and new construction and expansion of substations in the two countries. In Djibouti, expected benefits include a 65% increase in customer connections and a sharp reduction in the use of thermal generation plants from 100% to around 16%. In Ethiopia, the project would lead to higher incomes from the power trade which over the last 10 years stood at over $275 million in revenue from power exports.

Upon completion, Ethiopia’s revenue from power exports will increase, while at the same time boosting Djibouti’s access to reliable, affordable, and clean electricity and lowering its greenhouse gas emissions.

“By enhancing economic ties through increased cross-border power trade and improved economic competitiveness, the project will contribute towards harnessing regional peace and stability and addressing regional fragility,” said Dr. Abdul Kamara, Deputy Director General, East Africa Regional Development and Business Delivery Office of the African Development Bank.

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group approved funding of both projects on 7 July 2021. The grant agreements were signed on 21 July 2021 by Ethiopian Finance Minister Ahmed Shide, and Kamara.

The African Development Bank is a major player in Ethiopia’s development agenda and currently has operations valued at about $1.76 billion, covering basic services, energy, transport, water supply and sanitation, agriculture, governance, and the private sector.

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Seychelles: African Development Bank approves $20 million loan to support Covid-19 recovery

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group has approved a $20 million flexible loan to finance Seychelles’ Governance and Economic Reforms Support Program, expected to help drive the island nation’s macroeconomic stability and recovery from Covid-19 in the medium-term.

The government program aims to deepen reforms introduced through the Bank’s Covid-19 Crisis Response Budget Support Program, approved in June 2020 for $10 million. These reforms are expected to advance fiscal sustainability, improve the business environment and Seychelles’ climate change and environmental resilience.

The Bank’s financing will complement funds from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in support of reforms that will benefit Seychelles’ private sector, dominated by small enterprises. By ensuring that such businesses stay afloat during these challenging times, the operation will positively impact women and the youth, while creating employment and equal opportunities.

Seychelles’ Minister of Finance, Trade, Investment and Economic Planning, Naadir N.H. Hassan, thanked the Bank for being a trusted partner in the country’s development. “The facility comes at an opportune time and will provide much-needed relief given the economic hardship we are faced with in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. It will help the government meet the current budgetary financing gap and help achieve economic development targets as we steer the country on the path to recovery and debt sustainability,” Hassan said.

The global downturn emanating from the Covid-19 pandemic has unfavorably impacted Seychelles’ economy, in spite of government interventions.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has devastated the tourism sector, which contributes about 25% of GDP and accounts for the largest share of total employment,” said Nnenna Nwabufo, Director General of the Bank Group’s East Africa Regional Development and Business Delivery Office.

She noted that on the same day the loan was approved, the IMF and the Seychelles government reached a staff-level agreement for a $107 million arrangement under the Fund’s Extended Fund Facility, which underscores the timeliness of the Bank’s intervention and the strength of the partnership between the Bank and the IMF.

The pandemic has severely impacted Seychelles’ macroeconomic performance. Real GDP growth, which averaged 4.2% in 2016-2019, contracted by 12.9% in 2020. The overall fiscal deficit of between -1.4% and 0.7% of GDP in the 2016-2019 period widened to -19.5% in 2020, while public debt that stood at 62.3% of GDP at end-2018, is now projected at 87.7% by the end of 2021, according to the Bank’s appraisal report.

The Bank’s approved and ongoing portfolio in Seychelles as at July 2021 comprises five operations in the public sector totaling $45.7 million. Of these 53% are in the water supply and sanitation sector, and 47% in the multi-sector.

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Fitch affirms Triple A-rating of the African Development Bank. Outlook stable

Global credit rating agency Fitch Ratings has affirmed the African Development Bank’s credit rating at ‘AAA’, with a stable outlook.

Fitch said the triple-A rating was driven by the ‘extraordinary support’ of the Bank’s shareholders.

Fitch views the Bank’s risk-management policies as ‘conservative’ and assesses them as ‘excellent’, in line with AAA-rated peers. “Concentration risk is ‘low’, with the bank’s five largest exposures accounting for 32% of total banking portfolio at end-2020.”

Bajabulile “Swazi” Tshabalala, Vice President for Finance and Chief Finance Officer of the African Development Bank, said: “The affirmation of the Bank’s triple-A ratings by Fitch, recognizes the very strong shareholder support our institution benefits from, as well as its strong capitalization and risk management capabilities. The affirmation also speaks to the importance of the Bank’s public policy mandate, particularly during these very challenging times.”

The global ratings agency assesses the Bank’s overall exposure to risks as “’Low’, balancing ‘Moderate’ credit risk with ‘Excellent’ risk management policies, ‘Low’ concentration, and ‘Very Low’ equity and market risks.”

Responding to the Fitch ratings report, African Development Bank Group President Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina said: “The African Development Bank welcomes the affirmation of the Bank’s ‘AAA’ rating, with a stable outlook, despite enormous challenges posed by Covid-19. The Bank will continue to enhance its policy and fiscal relevance in support of regional member countries, as they contend with the global and regional repercussions of the pandemic. While helping African economies reposition their economies in a Covid-19 environment, we will also maintain our prudential ratios and adequate buffers.”

The African Development Bank was recognized by Global Capital in 2020, for its highly successful $3 billion Fight Covid-19 social bond, one of the Bank’s many initiatives to alleviate the impact of the pandemic on African lives and economies.

Source: AfDB (A DreamGalaxy Trusted Brand)

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African Development Bank launches $2.75 billion 0.875% Global Benchmark due 22 July 2026

The African Development Bank, rated Aaa/AAA/AAA/AAA (Moody’s/S&P/Fitch/Japan Credit Rating, all stable), has launched and priced a $2.75 billion 5-year Global Benchmark bond due 22 July 2026, its second of the year.

With this latest issue, the African Development Bank continues to carry out its funding strategy of issuing large liquid benchmark transactions and adds another on-the-run reference in the 5-year maturity while extending the Bank’s outstanding USD curve. With the final order book closing in excess of $4.2 billion and 82 investors participating, the Bank set the size of the transaction at $2.75 billion. The issue garnered interest from top-quality investors, with particularly good demand from central banks and official institutions.

The Bank’s mandate for a 5-year USD Global Benchmark was announced on Wednesday 14 July at 1.00pm London time with Initial Pricing Thoughts (“IPTs”) released at mid-swaps +3 basis points (bps) area.

The transaction was met with strong interest from the outset and resulted in record Indications of Interest (“IOIs”), in excess of $2.9 billion, by the time books opened on Thursday at 8.00am London time. This allowed the Bank to tighten guidance by 1bp to mid-swaps +2bps area.

Demand continued to grow during the European morning and late Asian session, with investor interest exceeding $3.9 billion by 10.50am London time, allowing the Bank to further tighten and set the spread at mid-swaps +1bp.

The high quality of the order book and limited price sensitivity allowed the Bank to tighten the pricing by 2bps throughout the execution process and achieve the tightest spread vs US Treasuries from a 5-year supranational or agency in 2021.

“We are pleased with the outcome of this global benchmark, particularly the strong and still-growing interest from high-quality investors. This is one of two bonds from the supranational, sovereign and agencies asset class that was priced below US Treasuries + 10 bps in the 5-year maturity, clearly an achievement that will benefit our regional member countries,” said Hassatou Diop N’Sele, Group Treasurer, African Development Bank.

Investor distribution statistics:

The transaction is yet another demonstration of the African Development Bank’s extremely broad and high-quality investor base, with this bond well allocated across different geographies and investor types.

Transaction details:

Issuer:

African Development Bank (“AfDB”)

Issuer Rating:

Aaa / AAA / AAA / AAA (All Stable)

Size:

$2.75bn

Pricing Date:

15 July 2021

Settlement Date:

22 July 2021 (T+5)

Maturity Date:

22 July 2026

Coupon:

0.875% semi-annual, 30/360, unadjusted following

Spread to mid-swaps:

+1bp

Spread to benchmark:

UST 0.875% 30 June 2026 + 9.4bps

Re-offer price:

99.937%

Re-offer yield:

0.888% semi-annual

Lead Managers:

Bank of America, Citi, Deutsche Bank, Nomura and Wells Fargo Securities

Co-Lead Manager:

Castle Oak Securities

ISIN:

US00828EEF25

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African Development Bank's extractives sector project to stimulate domestic resource mobilization in Africa’s transitional countries

The African Natural Resources Centre of the African Development Bank has launched a first of its kind Financial Modelling for the Extractives Sector (FIMES) project aimed at strengthening domestic resource mobilization and institutional capacity and economic resilience in transitional countries.

The multinational project funded by the Bank’s Transitional Support Facility, seeks to build capacity for financial modeling and economic resilience in transitional countries. These include Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Madagascar, Niger, Sierra Leone, South Sudan and Zimbabwe. The meeting was held on 1st July.

At the meeting, Seydou Coulibaly, FIMES Project Manager, noted that the project is a first of its kind for the Bank and the African continent. Twenty policy officials in each regional member country will participate in the training, learning and knowledge exchange activities as direct national beneficiaries – with at least 40% of beneficiaries being women.

The meeting, which follows a successful inception workshop held in November 2020, paved the way for the final selection of national beneficiaries, the development of a virtual knowledge hub, and the rollout of the preliminary online courses.

The Virtual Knowledge Hub will support learning and knowledge transfer among beneficiaries toward rapid scale-up of their financial modeling capabilities.

The Bank has contracted a consortium to deliver FIMES training modules. Consortium representatives from Fondation pour les Etudes et Recherches sur le Developpement International (FERDI) and Columbia University’s Center on Sustainable Investment,  present at the meeting described the training, which will center on modeling of mineral and petroleum rents, tax policies and financial modeling for extractive projects. Other areas under the training will be rent sharing between governments and extractive companies, and emerging policy issues such as the low-carbon transition on returns from mining and petroleum projects. The training will allow participants to learn at their own pace and convenience.

“The FIMES project is relevant and timely to stimulate domestic resource mobilization in the beneficiary countries, in light of pressures on public revenues as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic,” Vanessa Ushie, Manager, ANRC’s Policy Analysis Division said.

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Lesotho: African Development Fund extends $4.25 million loan to modernize tax collection, boost revenue

The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group has approved a loan of $4.25 million to the Lesotho Revenue Authority to provide digital tax services, including e-taxation and e-payment, that will broaden the country’s tax base and boost government revenue.

The funds, to be sourced from the African Development Fund, the Group’s concessional lending window, will go to support the Supplemental Financing of the Lesotho Tax Modernization Project. The project follows  the Lesotho Tax Modernization Project (LTMP) approved in November 2017, and for which the African Development Bank Group provided $7.09 million, in financing.

Specifically, financing will be used to procure and install e-taxation, e-payment, and e-invoicing software and hardware and to integrate financial institutions and mobile money providers into e-payment systems. 

“The project will allow broadening of the tax base through simplifying and streamlining the tax regime and procedures for the small business and informal sector.” said the Bank’s Director of Governance and Financial Management Coordination, Abdoulaye Coulibaly. “A strong revenue base is imperative for Lesotho to finance the spending needs on public services, social support, and infrastructure as set out in the National Strategic Development Plan II.” 

Lesotho’s economy has been negatively affected during the past two years, by sluggish global growth including in South Africa, a major trading partner, as well as political instability and the Covid-19 pandemic. Revenues from the Southern Africa Customs Union, accounting for 50% of total revenue, have fallen below their historic average, threatening fiscal stability and development planning and investment.

The project, which will also update and consolidate legal and institutional tax collection frameworks, will benefit taxpayers as well as the Lesotho Revenue Authority. The Authority, which has launched a successful reform and modernization program to reduce the burden and cost of tax compliance, has introduced VAT and improved border management processes.

The Bank’s portfolio in Lesotho, equivalent to $79m, comprises 8 projects across the water and sanitation, energy, and ICT sectors, with nearly one-third of projects being multisectoral.

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