He says the very essence of ongoing integration efforts which are also confronted by enormous infrastructural gaps demand that nations redouble efforts to achieve this, stressing that the continent cannot afford to be apologetic about the need to recapitalize the AfDB.
He gave the assurance that Ghana is ready to lead the charge.
In his address as a governor of the AfDB at the Bank’s recent 54th Annual Meetings in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, Ken Ofori-Atta said confronting the structural and institutional networks challenges on the continent, which are at the core of integration efforts, is an urgent need.
He said poor infrastructure is understood to cut-off up to two percent of Africa’s average per capita growth rates, however, new estimates suggest that the continent’s infrastructure needs amount to $130–170 billion a year, with a financing gap in the range $68–$108 billion, calling the situation as a matter of human rights and social justice.
He said while Africa is not unique in its infrastructure investment gap, given that there is a global need for $3.7 trillion in infrastructure investment each year, with only $2.7 trillion of which is invested, “Africa’s unique potential in terms of demographic and institutional changes requires of us to address this issue with urgency.”
Integration must succeed
The Finance Minister said Ghana is already “scaling up and offering infrastructure development a big-push.”“Our efforts toward constructing the ‘Central Spine’ railway that runs from the port cities of Accra, Tema and Takoradi through the heart land of Ghana to the borders of Burkina Faso is illustrative of our commitments in this direction.
“However, and as it will be readily admitted here, the scope of some projects are so costly that national balance sheets alone may not make them viable. Seen from that perspective, supporting the institution of both regional and sub-regional risk sharing schemes that leverage financing for infrastructure would be essential. This could unlock significant flows of over US$40 trillion of private capital from the rich countries for infrastructure improvements on the continent,” he said.
Ken Ofori-Atta said achieving this would be a key breakthrough for infrastructural and institutional integration that supports transformation for wealth creation across the continent.
“In previous meetings, I proposed, among other things, the need to consider the recapitalization of our Bank in order for it to play these key roles that meet the aspiration of all members and partners. Today, I urge member states to re-double their efforts to pay-up and to support strongly the Bank in its current drive to increase its capital even as we encourage non-regionals to strongly support us. Ghana is committed to putting AfDB on the path to be the largest provider of capital on the continent. An Africa Beyond Aid cannot be achieved if we do not bring the full brunt of our history and legacy of resilience to bear on this most crucial continental need,” he said.
He stressed that having voiced support for promoting the African dream to integrate, there is need to optimize and marshal the tools and knowledge to change the usually unfavourable narrative on the continent in our life time.
“This is the charge we have … A continent to transform. This is doable and we cannot fail. The world needs and as it is said, “to bend the arc of history … Africa must succeed”. May God continue to sustain this dream and give us courage, strength and direct our efforts. God bless us all.”