The African Development Bank (AfDB) plans to spend an additional two billion dollars on infrastructure targeted at promoting the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The President of the AfDB, Akinwumi Adesina, said this in a virtual media briefing at the end of its 2021 Annual Meetings of the bank on Friday.

Mr Adesina said the infrastructure development plan would be executed over the next two years, adding that the AfCFTA initiative has enormous potential to develop economies across Africa.

“For the potential to be realised fully, it is very important for the private sector to play a big role and the AfDB is supporting the AfCFTA to do that,” he said.

“You cannot trade if there is no infrastructure to trade; roads, rails, ports, highways. Those are the things the AfDB has been doing. We did not wait for the AfCFTA.

“The work of the bank is at the core of driving regional integration for Africa. In the next two years we expect to spend an additional two billion dollars on AfCFTA related infrastructure to further deepen regional integration.”

Mr Adesina explained further that the AfDB was driving its industrialisation strategy to support value chains and help Africa build its manufacturing capacity.

Mr Adesina, who served as Nigeria’s minister of agriculture between 2011 and 2015, added that the AfDB is investing in the pharmaceutical industry and the work on textile and garments supported by its private sector group.

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“We are supporting the development of the special agro industrial processing zones that will allow African countries industrialise their agriculture and add value to every product they produce,” he said.

“Regional value chains that are well supported with infrastructure and will allow Africa unlock its capacity in all of those areas.”

AfCFTA is a trade agreement aimed at creating a single market for the movement of capital, goods, people and investments in order to deepen economic integration across Africa.

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