- AfDB president Akinwumi Adesina, said Africa’s economic trajectory was compelling, a reason to attract more Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs).
- To address the challenge of illegal migration from African countries, Adesina reiterated that it was critical to continue to support economic growth and development.
Kenya is among countries set to benefit from the $6 billion (Sh963.4 billion) plan unveiled by Italian government to support African countries’ development.
The Italian government noted that the funding seeks to strengthen its bilateral tie with Africa, while curbing African emigration to Europe.
This was during the one-day Italy-Africa summit that took place in Rome, Italy, bringing together several African heads of state and high profile global leaders in the development space.
The initial pledge of €5.5 billion ($5.95 billion), also includes guarantees, according to Italian Prime Minister Georgia Meloni.
“We believe it is possible to envision and write a new chapter in the history of our relationship, a cooperation among equals, far from any predatory imposition or charitable stance towards Africa,” she said.
“There is a natural inclination for Italy to be a bridge between Africa and Europe. The whole world cannot think about the future without Africa.”
African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki welcomed the pledged support, while noting that prior consultation with the African continent would have been desirable, particularly when the ‘Mattei’ Plan was being drafted.
He said the plan, nonetheless, aligns with Africa’s priorities.
Although the specifics of the plan remain undisclosed, some experts believe that among its goals, is Italy's need to enhance energy cooperation with African countries, and help African countries in different areas including health and education.
Others have argued that the main purpose is to address the root economic causes of mass migration from Africa.
Speaking at one of the sessions on economic and infrastructure cooperation, AfDB president Akinwumi Adesina, said Africa’s economic trajectory was compelling, a reason to attract more Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs).
“With a population of 1.4 billion, the largest youth population in the world, the largest renewable energy sources in the world, the largest deposits of critical minerals and metals globally, and the largest share of uncultivated arable land left in the world, Africa will determine the future of the world,” Adesina said.
He further underscored the continent’s economic resilience, noting that despite global economic headwinds of climate change, conflicts and a health pandemic, the continent had stayed strong, with real GDP growth of 4.1 per cent in 2022.
“This is higher than the global average of 3.5 per cent for the same period.”
To address a key challenge to Africa’s accelerated development, notably a large infrastructure financing gap of roughly $68–108 billion annually, Adesina told leaders that the AfDB had invested $44 billion (Sh7.1 trillion) in infrastructure over the last seven years.
He said this was for the development of ports, railways, transport corridors, energy and digital infrastructure.
Nevertheless, he commended the Italian government for the Rome Process Financing Facility, which will provide €100 million (90 per cent of which is concessional financing), towards support for infrastructure in Africa.
This is especially for renewable energy, energy efficiency projects, water and sanitation and agriculture initiatives as well as vocational training and job creation.
Addressing the challenge of illegal migration from African countries, Adesina reiterated that it was critical to continue to support economic growth and development of African nations, reduce fragility and build resilience.