By Adedapo Adesanya
The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group, Mr. Akinwumi Adesina, has called on the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to consider Africa as an important investment partner, as it tries to attract the country as a member of the bank.
Mr. Adesina made the call during his three-day official visit to the kingdom, which covered engagements in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
The visit, which took place alongside the World Government Summit and the final days of Expo 2020 Dubai, explored potential partnerships for strategic investments in Africa between the lender and the UAE, in renewable energy , agriculture and food production.
Speaking about the exceptionally visionary leadership of the UAE, Mr. Adesina said, “Africa can learn a lot from the remarkable success of the UAE. What the United Arab Emirates has done, using its resources, drive and determination to make the country what it is today, is very impressive.
“We look forward to the UAE becoming an even more valuable and important investment partner in Africa.
“The UAE is a valued participant in the African Development Fund, the concessional lending arm of our Bank Group that has supported low-income countries since 1978.
“I hope that at some point we can welcome the United Arab Emirates as a member of the African Development Bank,” he said.
During the visit, Sheikh Maktoum Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance of the United Arab Emirates, and the head of multilateral lenders based in Abidjan, discussed strategic opportunities that would strengthen the economic links between the United Arab Emirates, the Bank and Africa. .
Mr. Adesina also held a series of bilateral meetings with other senior government officials and heads of UAE parastatals.
Discussions on meaningful partnerships also took place with Minister of State for International Cooperation, Ms. Reem Al Hashimy – who is also Chief Executive Officer of Expo 2020 Dubai – and Minister of State for African Affairs, Sheikh Shakhbout bin Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan.
Receiving Mr. Adesina, Minister of State for African Affairs, Sheikh Shakhbout, spoke of the UAE’s willingness to help African countries diversify their economies and provide value-added support to small and medium-sized enterprises .
They also discussed how to explore potential social housing investment opportunities and connect African fintech start-ups to innovations that would allow them to grow and thrive on the continent.
Mr. Adesina and the Managing Director of the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, Mr. Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, also signed a Memorandum of Understanding for closer collaboration, on behalf of their respective institutions.
Mr. Suwaidi said, “We see the African Development Bank as the continent’s think tank. We believe that Africa is the next frontier of global growth and we don’t want to miss it.
Mr. Adesina and Mr. Sultan Bin Sulayem, CEO of Dubai Ports World, the largest port operator in the world, with 78 sea and inland terminals in more than 60 countries, had substantive discussions and discussed cooperation in investment that would link African ports to renewable energy and industrial hubs. including food production and agro-industry.
Equally fruitful discussions were held with Mr. Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, CEO of Masdar, an innovative renewable energy company in Abu Dhabi; with Mr. Ahmed Saeed Al Calily, CEO and Chief Strategy and Risk Officer of Mubadala, a sovereign investor managing a diversified portfolio of UAE and global assets; with senior officials from TAQA, a major UAE energy company; and with the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA).
Investment synergies between the UAE’s Etihad 7 Energy Initiative and the African Development Bank’s Desert to Power Initiative were at the forefront of discussions, with a combined potential to provide 350 million people with energy. renewable.
As a keynote speaker at the annual Dubai Investment Forum and in meetings with key government, business and investment leaders, the AfDB chief highlighted the continent’s largely untapped potential in several sectors , the bank’s unrivaled knowledge of the African development and investment landscape, and institutional risk. Management Tools.