The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group is working with African governments to attract firms from emerging economies that are trying to relocate to the continent, Group President Donald Kaberuka said here Tuesday.
Speaking with journalists at a media breakfast on the sidelines of the Annual Meetings of the Bank, Kaberuka said many companies were trying to relocate their operations to Africa but they often faced three major obstacles – shortage of skilled labour, lack of quality infrastructure and absence of cluster industries.
“It is not possible to have these kinds of facilities at once in one country, but we have been able to work with some countries to ease these constraints,” he said.
Kaberuka said the AfDB Group had suspended its relations with Guinea-Bissau and Mali due to political instability in the West African countries.
Noting that permanent instability has characterised Guinea-Bissau, he said the measures taken by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union in dealing with the situation were the right ones.
“We have suspended our support to Guinea-Bissau because we are not persuaded that the people of that country will benefit under the current circumstances,” Kaberuka said, adding that the Bank had taken the same measures for Mali due to the ongoing turmoil in the country.
Although the Bank had planned to support what was going to be one of the largest African sugar industries in Mali, it had to stop the support until the situation stabilised.
“But, two days ago, I received a note that the South African investor for the project [in Mali] is pulling out,” Kaberuka disclosed.
On the AfDB’s return to its official base in Abidjan from its temporary relocation in Tunis, Tunisia, he explained that the principle that had always guided the Bank Group is that Abidjan remains its headquarters.
“We are currently renovating our buildings in Abidjan but that work will take some time,” he said, adding that the issue was due for discussion at the Bank’s governors meeting later Tuesday in Arusha.