A report by the African Development Bank showed that the institution played a central role in 2021, providing timely investments that are helping millions of Africans overcome the unprecedented challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Published annually for 12 years, the Annual Development Effectiveness Review analyzes the Bank’s role in Africa’s development. It monitors the Bank’s contribution to the High 5s: Light up and Power Africa, Feed Africa, Industrialize Africa, Integrate Africa and Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.
Titled “Getting Africa back on its development path,” the 2022 edition of the report notes that the Bank Group continued with its plans in 2021 despite shutdowns, supply chain disruptions and a global economic crisis. Across the continent, the Bank’s investments have expanded access to electricity, improved transport, boosted agricultural productivity, fueled industrialization and integrated regions.
According to the report, however, the economic recovery remains uneven and fragile, even as the easing of Covid-19 restrictions has put many parts of the continent back on a growth trajectory.
The report estimates that persistent vulnerabilities and new health measures have pushed an additional 30 million Africans into extreme poverty in 2021. By the end of the year, the Bank had spent $4 billion to support countries’ efforts to rapidly scale up Covid testing, train health workers, provide social support to households and provide financing for businesses.
But the pandemic, and its far-reaching consequences, is not the only crisis facing the continent today. African countries are also grappling with the climate crisis, insecurity in the Sahel and the Horn of Africa and the impact of the war in Ukraine, particularly its impact on food prices. Investments must accelerate.
The report dashboard shows the results in each sector. In the area of energy, for example, the Bank’s investments have enabled the installation of 294 km of new or improved electricity transmission lines and 456 km of electricity distribution lines. As a result, approximately 1.3 million people received new power connections.
“They say that in every crisis lies an opportunity,” remarked Simon Mizrahi, Director of Impact and Development Results. “Africa and the Bank again showed remarkable resilience last year. For example, the Annual Development Effectiveness Review calculates that our projects provided over 12 million people with access to clean water and sanitation in 2021. This was three times more than our target . And our investments in the private sector have provided financial services to more than 130,000 micro, small and medium enterprises, double our target, benefiting 3.4 million people.
“We are satisfied with the results and the Bank’s teams have much to be proud of,” continued Mizrahi. “But the report also motivates us to aim higher, as ambitiously as possible, so that more Africans can prosper.”
In a foreword to the report, the President of the Bank Group, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, observed that despite remarkable progress last year, the continent needed more resources than ever.
“African countries must manage climate change, prepare for future health emergencies and face the prospects of a global food crisis,” Adesina said. “With only eight years left to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, we need more ambitious plans to mobilize resources for Africa’s development.
Dr. Adesina called on Africa’s partners around the world to join the African Development Bank in taking a bolder vision for financing the continent’s development.
“Africa will not be defined by the challenges, but by its ability to overcome the challenges. Together, we will put Africa back on a solid path of resilient growth and development,” said Dr. Adesina.