As part of efforts to boost the economic growth and enhance agricultural exports across the continent, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has committed a substantial $1.5 billion towards promoting the export of agro-products in Africa through the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZs) initiative.
According to NairaMetrics, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) made this statement at the ongoing 2023 Africa Investment Forum (AIF) Market Place in Marrakesh, Morocco, with the theme “Unlocking Africa’s Value Chains”.
Speaking at the inauguration of the Alliance for Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZs), Adeshina stated that Africa’s roadmap to wealth is from the export of value-added agricultural products.
He said, “Africa must end the export of raw agricultural commodities. We must recognize that the fastest way to poverty is via the export of raw commodities, while the highway to wealth is from the export of value-added products. “And that is why SAPZs are important. They provide critical infrastructure to support agro-industrial development in Africa.
“Our valued partners include the Islamic Development Bank, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the Arab Bank for Economic Development, the European Union, and the Korean Export-Import Bank. “We are also working with the African Union to support the Common Africa Agro-Parks Program.
“Our collective effort has mobilized $1.5 billion in support of the establishment of 25 SAPZs in 11 African countries,” he said.
Expanding Alliance to Facilitate Growth Speaking further, the AfDB President said to expand SAPZs across Africa, and take advantage of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), countries must scale up resources, partnerships, and alliances. Furthermore, he expressed excitement that the number of partners joining hands to rapidly scale up the SAPZs across Africa was expanding.
“The Alliance has the goal of mobilizing at least two billion dollars in financing and investment commitments from Alliance members and partners over the next five years. “Meeting this financing goal will deliver an additional 15 to 20 SAPZ projects in various countries across the continent. “The Alliance will raise funds through various investment windows for project preparation, project development and construction, and financing for tenant companies,”
Adeshina said. More Insights On his part, Dr. Benedict Oramah, the President of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), highlighted that political instability in Africa poses a significant hurdle to funding major projects. Oramah, however, urged the development of a comprehensive project financing idea and proposal for the continent. Moreover, he emphasized that the primary obstacle to facilitating financing and project implementation was budgetary constraints, underscoring the significance of resource allocation.
“There should be continental regulations that countries should respect and justice for anything good for business. “It is important to sign constitutional agreements and concessions. It is also important to support products with high profitability,” he added. An additional commitment of about $3 billion was pledged by the partners during the inauguration of the SAPZs.