Sweden assures AfDB of continued support

Sweden has reassured the African Development Bank (AfDB) of the country’s continued support for the African continent.

In a statement issued on the website of the AfDB on Wednesday, the reassurance was made when the CEO of AfCDB, Mr Akinwale Adesina paid a two-day official visit to Sweden.

Sweden is one of the bank group’s non-regional member countries.

During his visit, the AfDB president met with various senior officials, including Jenny Ohlsson, State Secretary and Governor of the Bank for Sweden.

He also met with Helen Eduards, Director-General for International Development Cooperation at Sweden’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and Carin Jämtin, Director-General of Sweden’s International Development Agency (SIDA).

He further met with Pernilla Meyersson of the Swedish Central Bank.

There was broad agreement that the bank shared common strategic priorities, such as, sustainable development, climate change, food security, and the promotion of a productive private sector.

The importance of education and gender equality were also agreed.

Adesina spoke of the strategic initiatives the bank had launched to promote gender equality and access to financing for women entrepreneurs.

He spoke on the bank’s Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) programme as one of the platforms that was financing the initiative.

He further said the bank monitored and tracked  the impact of each of its investments on gender through a gender-marker system.

Adesina also said the institution was promoting jobs for young people through its Youth Entrepreneurship and Innovation Trust Fund.

He said it had proposed a novel network of youth entrepreneurship investment banks, which would be presented before its executive board for approval.

He said the youth banks could be launched before the end of 2022.

Adesina further said the bank, with the International Labour Organisation, was designing a tracking and monitoring system that would identify the impact of all the bank’s operations on job creation.

Adesina said that building climate resilient agriculture would be an activity with high potential for development and business opportunities.

He said the bank was promoting this through Technologies for African Agricultural Transformation (TAAT) and its Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones.

The AfDB president said the bank’s African Investment Forum, scheduled for early November, would be an ideal platform through which to promote private investment in Africa.

He invited Swedish companies and institutional investors to consider attending the upcoming boardrooms of the forum that are scheduled to be held in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.

SIDA and the AfDB agreed to work towards mobilising Swedish institutional investor interest in projects through a possible dedicated session of the Africa Investment Forum.

Also meeting with IKEA Chief Executive Officer Per Heggenes, Adesina invited IKEA to join the TAAT platform and be part of other bank-driven initiatives to bring about sustainable development in Africa.

Heggenes welcomed the AfDB president’s plans to address Africa’s development challenges with initiatives of scale.

He further said IKEA had contributed to the climate and planet fund with the Rockefeller Foundation.

Furthermore, he said it was important to focus on things that could bring about demonstrable change, including support for small-scale energy projects, with a realistic approach on gas.

He said it was important to create entrepreneurial jobs, especially with a view to addressing the issue of migration.

It was agreed that the bank and IKEA would explore ways of working together.

There was also a general agreement on the need for continued cooperation in the promotion of renewable energy.

Sweden expressed its support to the Climate Action Window that the AfDB would create to help low-income African countries access additional resources.

Furthermore, there was agreement on the need to spur private investments toward Africa, a goal to which SIDA was keen to contribute.