Swiss govt donates funds for urban, climate dev’t in Africa
The Swiss government has agreed to make available the sum of 3.2million Swiss francs for funding of African initiatives through the African Development Bank.
The agreement which was signed by the continental bank and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs of the Government of the Swiss Confederation, will help African cities plan and manage urban growth and climate - resilient development by improving governance and basic services.
A statement said SECO and AfDB signed two agreements to fund African initiatives on the sidelines of the Bank’s 2019 Annual Meetings.
SECO contributed three million Swiss francs to the Entrepreneurship Lab for innovative young entrepreneurs and 200,000 Swiss francs to the Urban and Municipal Development Fund for Africa,
The statement described the E-Lab as a component of the AfDB’s ‘Boost Africa’ strategy, that aims to provide innovative young entrepreneurs with financing, technical assistance and broader ecosystem support through incubators , accelerators , fund managers and others .
According to the statement, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa had been named as countries that would participate in the pilot of the initiative.
“These days, it’s important that partners work together to put talents together in a complementary fashion. These are two areas which are forward -leaning and positive for the African continent,” Bank Governor for Switzerland, Raymund Furrer, was quoted as saying.
Furrer signed the agreements on behalf of SECO at the Sipopo Conference Centre in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea while the bank’s Vice President for Finance and Chief Finance Officer, Bajabulile Tshabalala, signed on behalf of the bank.
Meanwhile, AfDB said it is rolling out an affirmative action to leverage about $3 to $5billion for women businesses in Africa.
Speaking at AfDB’s Annual Meetings in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, the bank’s President, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, said the regional integration drive aimed at enhancing Africa’s economic prosperity will be meaningless unless women are adequately financed.
He said to advance opportunities for women, the bank’s Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa, AFAWA, was being rolled out to leverage $3-5 billion, specifically for women businesses in Africa.
“I am delighted that the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) has just invested over $68 million in AFAWA. This is very exciting for women across Africa. When women win, Africa wins!”
He said the future of the continent is getting brighter as the 2019 African Economic Outlook of the AfDB shows general economic performance has continued to recover.
“Growth is projected at 4% in 2019 and 4.1% in 2020. This is a strong momentum, from the growth of only 2.1% posted as recently as 2016.
“It is worth noting that 40% of African countries are projected to see growth of at least 5% this year, as commodity prices recover and domestic demand and infrastructure investments boost growth.
“There’s excitement in the air on Africa’s economic opportunities. And those opportunities are boundless. The newly minted Africa Continental Free Trade Area will make Africa the largest free trade zone in the world, with a combined GDP of over $3.3 trillion. Pulling down tariff barriers alone, will spur trade by at least 53%, and with the elimination of non-tariff barriers, trade could potentially double.”