African Development Bank Group (AfDB) President Dr Akinwumi A. Adesina wrapped up an official three-day visit to the UAE covering engagements in Dubai and Abu Dhabi on Friday
The visit, which took place alongside the World Government Summit and the closing days of Expo 2020 Dubai, explored potential partnerships for strategic investment in Africa between the AfDB and the UAE, in renewable energy, agriculture and food production. HH Sheikh Maktoum Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Dubai’s deputy ruler, deputy prime minister and minister of finance of the UAE, and the AfDB chief, discussed strategic opportunities that would strengthen economic ties between the UAE, the Bank, and Africa.
Adesina said, “There is a lot that Africa can draw from the UAE’s remarkable success. What the UAE has done, using its resources, its drive and determination to develop the country into what it is today is highly impressive. We are keen to see the UAE become an even more valued and significant investment partner in Africa. The UAE has been a highly valued participant in the African Development Fund, our Bank Group’s concessionary lending arm supporting low-income countries since 1978. Hopefully, we may at some point be able to welcome the UAE as a member of the AfDB.”
Adesina also held a raft of bilateral meetings with other senior members of government and heads of UAE parastatal companies. They included discussions with the minister of state for International Cooperation, HE Reem Al Hashimy, also the managing director of Expo 2020 Dubai and the minister of state for African Affairs, HE Sheikh Shakhbout bin Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan. Receiving the AfDB head HE Sheikh Shakhbout, spoke about the UAE’s desire to help African countries diversify their economies, provide value-added support for small and medium-sized enterprises, explore potential social housing investment opportunities, and connect young African fintech companies to innovations that would allow them to grow and thrive on the continent. The AfDB President and the director general of the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, HE Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for closer collaboration, on behalf of their respective institutions.
Adesina and HE Sultan Bin Sulayem, CEO of Dubai Ports World held substantive discussions. The bank has actively financed port infrastructure projects in Africa. Adesina and Sulayem, discussed investment cooperation that would link African ports to renewable energy and industrial hubs including food production and agro-processing. Equally productive discussions were held with Dr Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, CEO of Masdar, an innovative Abu Dhabi renewable energy company; with HE Ahmed Saeed Al Calily, CEO and chief strategy and risk officer of Mubadala, a sovereign investor managing diverse portfolio of UAE and global assets; with senior officials of TAQA, a leading UAE energy company; and with the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA).
Prominent in discussions were investment synergies between the UAE’s Etihad 7 energy initiative and the AfDB’s Desert to Power initiative, with a combined potential to provide 350 million people with renewable energy.