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AfDB Reports Healthy Growth in 2006
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The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) achieved excellent operational and financial results in 2006 as overall approval of loans and grants by the group increased to US$3.9 billion from US$3.3 billion in 2005, the AfDB said yesterday.


Aggregate approvals from the non-concessional AfDB window rose by 20.3 percent while the African Development Fund, the concessional arm of the Group registered an 8.6 percent increase in approvals in 2006, (excluding approvals for the Highly Indebted Poor Countries Initiative (HIPCS), Thierry de Longuemar, Vice-President for Finance said yesterday.


The bank's annual meetings will take place tomorrow and Thursday in Shanghai.


De Longuemar said that 2006 was a good year for both the bank group and Africa. "While the bank group registered excellent operational and financial results, Africa continued to grow at over 5 percent for the third consecutive year," he said.


According to the vice-president, a new organizational structure was implemented in July 2006, in a bid to strengthen the bank's operational capacity.


By the end of 2006, 21 country offices out of 25 planned, had been established and these offices increased the banks' visibility and its ability to work better with partners.


Meanwhile, the AfDB has appointed an independent high-level panel to advise on its strategies.


"The ongoing bank-wide reforms would enable the institution to better deliver on its development mandate by channeling resources to operations, building capacity in line with greater decentralization," de Longuemar said.


During the year in review, policy-based lending from the AfDB window shot up by 178 percent while private sector operations rose by 55 percent, according to the vice president.


In terms of the major sectors funded by the bank, finance recorded an increase of 53 percent while infrastructure and multi-sector operations went up by 23.9 percent and 7.8 percent respectively.


The African Development Fund (ADF) intervened in 80 operations in 32 countries and 20 multinational projects in 2006, where a total of 2.22 billion Units of Account (UA, 1UA=US$1.46) were committed under the 10th replenishment of the ADF.


"Development assistance from the bank group was leveraged more than 4.2 times through assistance from donors," de Longuemar said, adding further that enhanced emphasis on multi-sector operations indicated the importance of public sector management and institutional support.


During 2006, AfDB approved seven private sector operations and one loan guarantee for US$418.97 million, almost doubling the amount approved in the previous year.


(China Daily May 15, 2007)


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