AfDB decentralizes operation

Harare – The African Development Bank (AfDB) has opened a regional development and business delivery office in Pretoria, South Africa, which will be responsible for the institution’s operations in the Southern Africa region.

Apart from South Africa, the office will serve 12 other countries including Zimbabwe, Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Madagascar and Zambia as well as the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) Secretariat.

Speaking at a host signing agreement with South Africa’s Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba, AfDB president Akinwumi Adesina said the development was part of a drive to move the bank’s operations closer to its clients so as to improve delivery.

He said it was also in line with the bank’s development and business delivery model and a decentralization action plan launched last year.

“Our goal is to get closer to our regional member countries, decentralise decision-making and accelerate project and program development, financing and disbursements,” he said.

“In short, we wanted to play on the front lines, not from the headquarters in Abidjan, so we can score more developmental goals for Africa.”

Adesina said the decentralisation approach had yielded results in other regions, with the period between approvals and first disbursement declining by 41 percent.

“We believe that the location of the bank group’s Southern African Regional Development, Integration and Business Delivery Office in South Africa will help both the bank and the government to accelerate economic development and poverty alleviation in South Africa and the region.”

By the end of 2016, the AfDB had availed funding amounting to $10 billion to the SADC region, including Zimbabwe.

The African Development Bank has over the years provided significant development financing in the form of loans and grants to support Zimbabwe’s development agenda.

For example, Zimbabwe has received funding from the AfDB for the Urgent Water Supply and Sanitation Rehabilitation Project implemented under the auspices of the Zim-Fund.

Zim-Fund, established in 2010, is a multi-donor trust fund created to support priority recovery activities of the Government of Zimbabwe and is managed by the AfDB on behalf of the parties involved. – New Ziana.

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