For African countries to continue to remain resilient, they must not get into a debt crisis, the President of the African Development Bank, (AfDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina, has said.
Speaking at the opening session of the annual meetings of the bank in Lusaka, Zambia, yesterday, Adesina warned that, “Increasingly, many African countries, taking advantage of the low global interest rates, have rushed to the international capital markets by issuing bonds.
“Between 2006 and 2014, African nations issued $26 billion in Eurobonds. In 2015 alone, a total of $12 billion of Eurobonds were issued. With rising interest rates, African countries now face a challenge of high cost of financing the foreign currency denominated debt.”
He said the focus of the annual meetings on energy and climate change was for good reason. Africa, which contributes less than 3% of the global greenhouse emissions, now suffers disproportionately from the negative impacts of climate change.
On the energy crisis, the AfDB boss said, Africa is simply tired of being in the dark. “Our goal is clear: universal access to energy for Africa within 10 years; Expand grid power by 160 gigawatts; Connect 130 million persons to grid power; Connect 75 million persons to off grid systems; And provide access to 150 million households to clean cooking energy,” he said.
“We are matching our words with action. Our lending reached its highest ever by the end of December 2015, with $9 billion. In 2015, the bank provided $1.3 billion for energy projects. The bank has continued to lead the way and financed renewable energy projects, including the 300 MW Lake Turkana wind power station – the largest wind power plant in Africa,” Adesina said.
The meeting will end on May 27.