BY CHARLES ABUEDE
The African Development Bank (AfDB), has said a total of $45 billion has been invested by the African Development Fund (ADF) into 2,750 operations across 40 African countries since the fund was created in 1972.
The bank, in an information sheet titled, ‘50 Voices, 50 Stories: Celebrating the impact of the African Development Fund over five decades’, said the fund has been an important source of concessionary resources and technical support to low-income African countries.
The AfDB also stated that over the last five decades, the fund has been able to connect 15.5 million Africans to electricity while also supporting 74 million individuals with improved agriculture and food security plus the building or the rehabilitation of 8,700 kilometres of roads, enabling 50 million people to gain access to transport and 42 million people to access better water and sanitation.
The continent’s leading development bank in the brochure published on its website on Tuesday, said, “50 years ago, the ADF was founded on one fundamental principle to promote economic and social development in the lives of people in low-income and fragile African countries.
“Today, the fund remains a staunch partner of these countries, touching the lives of millions of people across the continent. A people-first approach remains at the core of the fund’s priorities. As it celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, the AfDB Group is launching 50 Voices, 50 Stories: a series which highlights the fund’s life-changing impact in 37 beneficiary countries,’’ the bank said.
Recounting some of the worthy achievements of the AfDB through the fund, it said benefitting countries have been supported by the fund through the 2008 and 2009 global financial crisis and the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa while further citing that the support came to the countries during frequent and intense droughts, floods and other natural disasters.
More so, it said the COVID-19 pandemic has caused the fund to demonstrate its ability to respond rapidly, reprioritising its operations and targeted programmes to mitigate the impacts of the pandemic through the COVID-19 Response Facility; as the fund was investing in building up a deep understanding of the drivers of conflict and fragility across Africa to address the root causes of poverty and conflicts.
Meanwhile, it also assured benefitting nations of its continuing efforts to play a fundamental role in their lives. “As the beneficiary countries continue to bear the brunt of the most devastating impacts of COVID-19, rising debt, climate change, and more recently the prospect of a food crisis triggered by the conflict in Ukraine, the fund will continue to play a fundamental role in the lives of people in these countries,” it said.