ABIDIJAN – The African Development Bank (AfDB) has deployed over $11 billion across the continent to bolster economic growth and transform lives, west African governors heard on Monday.

AfDB governors are Finance and Economic Planning Ministers in their countries.

The governors called for AfDB’s greater involvement in global issues to boost foreign direct investment into Africa, while the region rolls out strategies to boost integration and improve digital connectivity, according to a statement released after the meeting.

It said governors’ position had merged out of the realisation that AfDB was the economic arm of the African Union that needs to act in the interest of the region’s one billion citizens.

The statement said the US$11,3 billion released between 2010 and 2017 involved 300 projects that have transformed communities and changed lives.

“Three hundred and seventy transformative bank projects valued at US$11,3 billion between 2010 and 2017 in the region, are changing lives and making a difference,” AfDB said.

AfDB’s west African governors met for consultative meetings with the institution’s president and senior management in Abidjan, Cote ‘d Ivoire.

The consultative meetings are called for sharing views with governors.

Adesina said despite many challenges that continue to confront the continent, Africa was transforming.

“Across the continent, despite challenges, you can see a rising determination to turn things around,” he said.

“But the needs in Africa are high and we still have a long way to go. The ministers urged for greater focus on women to close the gender gap, address climate change, and increase attention to development in fragile states,” he said.

He spoke as AfDB reports indicated that economic growth trends were positive, with the west African region’s gross domestic product growth projected at four percent this year and are forecast to increase by 4,1 percent in the coming year.

AfDB forecasts that 45 percent of west Africa’s states will grow at above five percent this year, after a strong 2018.

The bank’s flagship projects and innovative financial instruments involving 65 projects in 15 countries, were approved for west Africa.

The projects were valued at US$2,8 billion.

“The Senegambia Bridge financed solely by the bank was inaugurated in January. The Regional Express Train, the first speed train in West Africa, financed by the bank was inaugurated in Dakar, Senegal. The bank also financed the construction of a modern international airport in Ghana. Ghana’s national Cocoa board received a financing plan of US$600 million to enable measures to improve productivity and build warehouses,” AfDB said.

It said the Desert to Power Initiative, which will develop 10 000 MW of solar across the Sahel, will provide electricity for 250 million people, 90 million of them via off-grid solar systems.

The project has already started in Burkina Faso, with the Yelen solar project, said the bank. “Infrastructure is very critical. We hope the bank will continue to support and add value to our one government data platform,” Liberia’s Minister of Agriculture Mogana Flomo said.
Ministers from Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea and Guinea Bissau called for increased support for institutional capacity building.