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During a meeting held at Abidjan on the 29th October 2021, Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesini, the Group President of the African Development Bank stated that the bank will mainstream the African Continental Free Trade Area into its country and regional integration strategies.
The meeting was attended by several senior management officials including Senior Vice President (Bajabulile ‘Swazi’ Tshabalala), Vice President of Regional Development, Integration, and Business Delivery (Khaled Sherif), Vice President for Private Sector, Infrastructure, and industrialization (Solomon Adegbie-Quaynor), Special Advisor to the President on Industrialization Professor (Banji Oyelaran-Oyeyinka), and Director of the Industrial and Trade Development Department (Abdu Mukhtar).
Also in attendance was the Secretary-General of the AFCFTA Secretariat, Mr. Wamkele Mene. Dr. Adesini assured Mr. Mene of the Banks long-term support for the continental initiative. He said the bank would work closely with the AFCFTA to ensure that Africa produces at scale. Dr. Adesini also said that it would provide institutional support, particularly in the areas of industrialization, finance, infrastructure, and logistics.
Mr. Mene stated that the secretariat would help member states remove trade barriers to boost Intra-African trade. He believes that this initiative cannot be achieved without the support of the African Development Bank.
Mr. Mene said that the AFCFTA would provide Africa with a great opportunity to develop the necessary infrastructure to support trade and benefit small and medium enterprises. ‘We want the initiative to run as an African initiative supported by our Heads of State and our development finance institutions,’ he said.
The leaders of the AFCFTA Secretariat and the AFDB agreed to sign an MOU to strengthen their relationship and facilitate effective collaboration.
The African Development Fund, the concessional lending arm of the AFDB, provided support for the establishment of the AFCTFA Secretariat in Accra through a $5million institutional grant to the African Union.