African Development Bank Group President Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina will attend the sixth European Union-African Union (EU-AU) summit in Brussels this week. He is expected to call for greater access to Covid-19 vaccines and the reallocation of $100 billion in International Monetary Fund Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) to Africa. The Bank Group chief will urge that these SDRs be channeled through the African Development Bank, as a prescribed holder of SDRs.
Fresh from the recent 35th African Union summit in Addis Ababa, which passed a resolution supporting the African Development Bank’s position, Adesina will join African and European heads of state and government to discuss measures, including an investment package to address the urgent challenges of climate change and insufficient healthcare in Africa.
The EU-AU summit, taking place on 17 and 18 February, will also feature dialogues on closer cross-continental partnerships to address security, governance and prosperity.
Summit speakers will include Akinwumi Adesina, Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund, World Trade Organization Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus and Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank.
Addressing last week’s African Union Assembly, Dr Adesina decried Covid-19 vaccine inequality. He stressed that citizens of industrialized countries had secured as many as four or five Covid-19 shots, while no more than 11% of Africans had received any vaccination at all.
Adesina described healthcare as “a national security issue” for Africa and called for a cross-continental healthcare defence system based on strong infrastructure, domestic pharmaceutical industries and Africa-based vaccine manufacturing know-how and capacity.
The African Development Bank Group has committed to spend $3 billion over the next 10 years to support pharmaceutical and vaccine manufacturing capacity on the continent.
Last month, French President Emmanuel Macron told the European Parliament that he expected the meeting to produce a vaccine deal that would resolve intellectual property and technology barriers to the production of vaccines in Africa.
Adesina gained strong support among African leaders in Addis Ababa and renewed calls for the reallocation of $100 billion in SDRs to African countries via the African Development Bank, a prescribed holder of SDRs with a triple-A credit rating.
In Brussels, the Bank chief is also expected to raise the matter of establishing an African financial stability mechanism, modeled on the existing European Financial Stabilisation Mechanism. This will better protect African economies from such external shocks as the Covid-19 pandemic.
Another potential agenda item in Brussels is the 16th replenishment of the African Development Fund, the African Development Bank Group’s concessional window. A replenishment will take place later in 2022. While lauding the African Development Fund’s achievements, Adesina has proposed reforms to make it more effective in driving the development of low-income African countries.
Participants of the Brussels summit are also expected to jointly issue a declaration expressing consensus on a vision for 2030.
Adesina and members of his delegation will also attend the Investing Together, for a New Alliance between Africa and Europe conference in Paris. The forum is organised by the French development agency, Agence française de développement, and the French government.
Adesina will join European Development Finance Institutions (EDFI) President Bruno Wenn to declare that joint efforts since last year have successfully mobilized $5.5 billion for African small and micro enterprises through the end of 2021, exceeding a target of $4 billion.
Also taking place in Brussels this week – from February 14 to 17 – is the 7th EU-Africa Business Forum. It is organized by the European Commission, the African Union Commission, and EU and African business organizations. This forum has brought together political and business leaders from a range of sectors and countries to discuss partnership and investment opportunities.
Senior African Development Bank personnel are taking part in events on the side-lines of the business forum. Senior Vice President Bajabulile Tshabalala will engage in a debate about relations between Europe and Africa. Acting Vice President for Regional Development, Integration and Business Delivery Yacine Fal will discuss supply chains, and Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate and Green Growth Kevin Kanina Kariuki will participate in an energy session.