The president of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Akinwumi Adesina, and the president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Suma Chakrabarti met during the Africa Investment Forum (AIF) in Johannesburg, South Africa and discussed new avenues for cooperation between the two institutions.
Suma paid tribute to the excellent relationships between their country teams, saying that they reflected the common values shared by the two institutions and their complementarities, as they strive for the benefit of their member countries. Both sides also signed an agreement to implement a programme to provide sanitation to small municipalities with fewer than 10,000 inhabitants in Tunisia.
Mohamed El Azizi, African Development Bank Director-General for North Africa and Janet Heckman, Managing Director for the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, signed the agreement on behalf of their respective institutions.
The signing ceremony was attended by Zied Ladhari, Tunisian Minister of Development, Investment and International Cooperation; African Development Bank Deputy Director-General for North Africa Yacine Fal; and European Bank for Reconstruction and Development Head of Office for Tunisia Antoine Sallé de Chou.
“This programme will ensure the sustainability of water resources and facilitate the development of options for adaptation to climate change,” said El Azizi as he signed the agreement. And when the document had been signed, all those present hailed it using the time-honoured Arabic expression of “Mabrouk”. “Our signing this agreement today, through which EBRD delegates implementation of the project to the Bank is a measure of the mutual trust between our two institutions,” replied Janet Heckman.
This sanitation programme, which boasts equal co-funding amounting to €150 million, will enable the citizens of the 33 small municipalities it covers in 19 of Tunisia’s 24 governorates to enjoy a better quality of life, thanks to improved hygiene as well as environmental and economic development benefits from the programme.
As the programme includes a component to build capacities in the National Sanitation Agency (ONAS) and in the target communities, it will help Tunisia ensure long-term management of its sanitation systems and support increased involvement of the private sector in infrastructure works. The programme will form part of a new development and investment dynamic that will provide jobs for young people in priority regions.
The fruit of close collaboration between both institutions’ teams, it will be the tangible expression of the commitments both multilateral banks have made to strengthen their cooperation in North Africa, especially in the fields of agribusiness, financial inclusion of SMEs, ecosystem enterprise and public-private partnerships.
In the last three years, the two organizations have worked together to co-fund various projects: the Nador West port complex in Morocco in 2015 and three solar power projects in Egypt related to the energy feed-in tariff, in 2017. This joint effort amounted to an investment of US$415 million.
Launched at the initiative of the African Development Bank, the Africa Investment Forum is the international gathering of investment professionals in Africa – funding agencies, policymakers, project backers and investors.