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African Economic Conference (AEC) will hold its thirteenth edition from 3-5 December 2018 in Kigali Rwanda

African Economic Conference (AEC) will hold its thirteenth edition from 3-5 December 2018 in Kigali Rwanda

The African Economic Conference (AEC) will hold its thirteenth edition from 3-5 December 2018 in Kigali Rwanda, under the theme: Regional and Continental Integration for Africa’s Development.

The conference, which is held annually, convenes key development actors, academics, researchers, development partners, politicians and financiers. This year, Paul Collier, Professor of Economics and Public Policy at the Oxford University Blavatnik School of Government, will give the keynote speech.

Bank Director for Regional Integration, Moono Mupotola, said the meeting would build on the Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) signed by 44 African nations in Kigali in March 2018.

“This, not only signified African unity but also the possibilities of what Africa could become from a developmental perspective. The possibilities of larger markets attracting investment, improvement in Africa’s productive capacity due to economies of scale and the possibilities of increased movement of goods, services and people across borders,” Mupotola highlighted.

This year’s meeting will focus, among others, on initiatives for accelerating progress in infrastructure integration, including the removal of barriers for movement of people goods and services across borders. Experts will share views, best practices and lessons on transforming regional institutions for more effective policy and institutional harmonization in the context of the new Africa Continental Free Trade Area, and other continent wide agendas including Africa’s Agenda 2063 and the global Agenda 2030.

The information, technology and digital revolutions are vital to transforming the way of doing business across the continent, thus the need for experts to examine how to better integrate public and private efforts to improve the environment for conducting business in Africa. The meeting will also examine way to reduce the cost of business and building viable value chains for agriculture, commodities and services.

“Our job as the African Development Bank is to make the AfCFTA a reality by helping our regional member countries implement the agreement. The Bank has already provided an initial grant of about US$5 million to support the Africa Union Commission in making the AfCFTA a reality,” Mupotola underscored.

The African Economic Conference is jointly organized by the African Development Bank, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The AFDB recently design integrated pest and disease management mechanisms for controlling the spread of the Fall Army Worm in East Africa.

African Development Bank leads pan-African campaign against Fall Army Worm

The AFDB recently convened a meeting of experts and stakeholders in the agricultural sector to design integrated pest and disease management mechanisms for controlling the spread of the Fall Army Worm in East Africa.

The Fall Army Worm or Spodoptera frugiperda is an invasive insect threatening food supplies and incomes of millions of African smallholder farmers. The multi-stakeholder, regional action plans to stop the menace of the worm in Africa falls under the Bank’s Technologies for African Agriculture Transformation (TAAT) agenda.

Held 11 and 12 October 2018 in Nairobi, Kenya, the meeting brought together government representatives and fall army worm response coordinators from Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, the Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Uganda.

Also in attendance were representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock & Fisheries, regional and international stakeholders in the Agriculture sector. The United States Agency for International Development, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, the African Agricultural Technology Foundation and Syngenta Foundation were also represented at the meeting.

In his opening remarks, Joseph Coompson, the African Development Bank’s Regional Manager for Eastern Africa said: “Reports have shown that if no appropriate action is taken, fall army worm could cause maize yield losses of 21-53 percent – valued at US$2.48 to 6.187 billion, in 12 African countries within five years.”

This trend, if unchecked, “could significantly affect African countries which are already importing food estimated at US$35 billion annually and set to outstrip US$100 billion by 2026,” Coompson added.

Other speakers and participants addressed ineffective chemicals and cultural control methods to reduce the fall armyworm threat. “We look forward to leaving this meeting with technology options to deploy to farmers in the coming season,” said David Mwangi, Head of Plant Protection Services with Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture’s State Department for Crop Development.

Researchers from the FAO, the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology, the African Agricultural Technology Foundation and the Centre for Agriculture and Bioscience International, Syngenta, Corteva and Bayer also presented current initiatives and technologies for controlling the fall army worm.

Country focal persons outlined their plans, including financial, policy and regulatory reforms required for achieving quick wins in the fight against the worm in East Africa. They also discussed options for providing effective technologies for combating the worm to smallholder farmers. They observed that in Southern Africa, Fortenza Duo, a seed treatment pesticide from Syngenta Foundation, proved effective against the worm in the first 30 days after crop emergence.

“The submission of national and regional action plans to target millions of farmers shows the degree to which our “plan to action” approach against the fall army worm threat is being taken seriously and is galvanizing governments and farmers to protect not only fields, but livelihoods too,” said Chris Akem, TAAT Coordinator at IITA.

The Government of Rwanda has signed a €229.20 million funding agreement with the African Development Bank

Rwanda and African Development Bank sign €229 million loan agreements to finance electricity projects

The Government of Rwanda has signed a €229.20 million funding agreement with the African Development Bank to support the country’s program to improve electricity supply and expand access to electricity under the Scaling Up Electricity Access Program Phase II (SEAP II). This operation builds on the successful implementation of the Scaling Up Electricity Access Program (SEAP) approved by the Bank in 2013 with a combined estimated €39.74million loan and grant.

The operation involves a €165.59-million loan from African Development Bank and €63.61 million from the African Development Fund, the concessional arm of the Bank group. The two loans represent 8.2 percent of the Government’s estimated €2.85 billion budget for the Energy Sector Strategy Plan. It is the biggest single operation of the Bank to enable the government achieve its National Strategy for Transformation that among other objectives seeks to ensure that by 2024 all Rwandan households, health centers, schools and business enterprises are connected to reliable electricity.

The Bank’s contribution to SEAP-II will be for three fiscal years ending in 2021/22 and will be disbursed using the Results Based Financing (RBF) instrument, which ensures better risk management and the country’s highly developed results-driven approach.

The funding will support construction of 795 kms of Medium Voltage and 7,317 kms of Low Voltage lines, boosting nationwide connectivity and lighting up previously unserved communities. The program is expected to result in significant reductions of time and frequency of service interruption to customers and network losses and will ultimately contribute to ensuring financial sustainability of the country’s energy sector.

In the last seven years, overall access to electricity in Rwanda has more than doubled from 18 percent to 44 percent at the end of June 2018. The country has also shown strong commitment to achieving universal electricity access by 2024, using a combination of on-grid and off-grid solutions like solar home systems.

“The approved program will enable the Government to add over 193,000 new on-grid and over 124,000 off-grid connections,” said Amadou Hott the Bank’s Vice President for Power, Energy, Climate Change and Green Growth.

The Bank’s intervention will improve reliability of electricity supply, increase on-grid and off-grid access to renewable energy for households and commercial usage, and strengthen institutional capacity to deliver on the ambitious government energy program. Slightly over 4,000 people, 30 percent of them women, will receive technical, financial management and safety training. The Government of Rwanda welcomed the timeliness of the Bank’s support towards the county’s universal electricity access goal by 2024, and has committed to allocate the necessary resources for the successful implementation of the operation.

This support will be extended to the Energy Development Corporation Limited and Energy Utility Corporation Limited — subsidiaries of Rwanda Energy Group Limited, the government-owned utility which manages and operates the country’s energy infrastructure.

The SEAP II loan is aligned to the Bank’s 10-year strategy (2013-2022) and current Country Strategy Paper for Rwanda. It also supports three of the Bank’s High 5 priorities namely Light up and power Africa, Industrialize Africa and Improve the Quality of life for the people of Africa. Following the signing of this facility, the Bank’s Country Manager for Rwanda, Martha Phiri said that “the Bank’s energy portfolio in Rwanda will increase from €158.95 million to €388.74 million, supporting eight operations, three of which are being implemented jointly with neighboring states”.