The UK House of Commons’ International Development Committee, in a latest report has called on the UK government to support the African Development Bank (AfDB) towards faster disbursement of funds to African nations.
According to the report, a key challenge of the Bank is leveraging private funds for its key infrastructure projects. And the covid-19 pandemic is likely to worsen this problem, the report warned.
Along these lines, the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) recommended that: “One possible action that could improve the prospects for funding of infrastructure is for a faster disbursement of the Bank’s paid-in capital”. The committee further urged that, “the Government, through its position as UK Executive Director, to consider encouraging this and other possible routes to maintaining financial support for Africa’s infrastructure.”
The report revealed that the bank lacked adequate staff with expertise in areas about safeguarding and development of fragile states.
Thus, the report recommended that the UK Government should encourage sustained progress towards solving the skills gap at the Bank. While doing this, it further notes that the UK Government acknowledge and respect the independence of the bank. Thus, the UK should seek for early action and monitoring progress on the Bank’s recruitment and retention.
Furthermore, the report emphasized that UK’s support should be in line with the Bank’s key role in complementing bilateral support.
Highlights of the report
Specifically, the report highlights that this support by the UK Government is to help African nations recover faster from the impact of Covid-19 pandemic. The report was prepared by the Sub-Committee on the Work of the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI).
The UK is among one of the 28 non-regional members and shareholders of the AfDB. Furthermore, among all G7 countries with shares in the Bank, the UK has the smallest shareholding in the Bank.
That notwithstanding, over the years, its involvement has so far yielded positive results in promoting the UK’s aid objectives. Thus, the support being called for should be viewed in that light. These include key cross-cutting priorities such as fragile states and gender, Theo Clarke, Chair of the sub-Committee averred.
“However, Africa does face the major challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and the growing threat from climate change. I hope the Bank rises to these challenges, supported by its donors. Funds should be made more accessible to support recovery from covid-19.
“Following COP26 in Glasgow, eyes will be on the continent as there will be an African host of COP27. Therefore, investment in green technologies and innovation is key, and the African Development Bank can play a major role in realising this potential.”Theo Clarke, Chair of sub-committee, ICAI
Acknowledging the report, the President of the African Development Bank, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina intimated: “we welcome the positive findings of this important UK parliamentary report.”
He added that “the constructive feedback of our members and shareholders is extremely valuable to us as we continually assess the efficacy of our overall operations – especially as we strive to help our regional member countries cope with and recover strong from the pandemic.”