By Lucy Ogalue
The African Development Bank (AfDB), and Eritrea have strengthened their partnership to support the country’s growth.
The aim is to place it on a more sustainable development path in the coming years.
The President of AfDB, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, in a statement said the bank had committed to supporting Eritrea’s development, including its goal of self-reliance.
Adesina said the bank as an important partner of Eritrea, was currently supporting the country in energy, water and sanitation, agriculture, skills and capacity development, and economic and financial governance.
“I had an excellent visit to Eritrea. I came away highly impressed by the passion to develop and the incredible resilience and self-reliance of the Eritrean people.
“ The best part was when I was told by a United Nations (UN) senior level official that in Eritrea, corruption is zero per cent.
“Another UN senior official said Eritrea’s capacity for pharmaceuticals meets all World Health Organisation (WHO) global standards.”
Adesina said the Eritrean president, Isaias Afwerki, had been consistent with his engagement with AfDB since Eritrea joined the institution nearly 30 years ago.
“The capacity and first-rate skills of Eritrean engineers are amazing and should be shared with other African countries.
“President Afwerki is so passionate, determined very simple. Eritrea and its highly committed people have all it takes to rapidly grow and thrive in the years ahead.
“As president of AfDB, I can assure you that under my leadership, the bank will be there to support Eritrea’s drive to transform its economy.
“It can only get better with all the projects we have talked about today. If we work together, I know that Eritrea will be a much better country in many ways,” he said.
The AfDB boss highlighted the need to prioritise agro-industrialisation to further grow the agriculture sector and ensure food stability.
He also proposed the AfDB’s Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones initiative as a model for transforming Eritrea’s rural communities into prosperous economic zones, harnessing the power of commercial agriculture and food production.
The Eritrean president thanked Adesina for the strategic role the bank was playing in improving the lives of the Eritrean people.
Afwerki said the country had identified the AfDB Group as the partner of choice to drive rapid socio-economic development and to move its economy “from subsistence to industrialisation.”
According to him, Adesina is the first AfDB president to visit Eritrea, which joined the institution in 1994.
“We have had fruitful engagements with the bank and want to do more with the institution on a sustainable level.”
Afwerki called for more resources for the bank and for it to be strengthened to support Africa’s development priorities.
He also called for additional support in other critical areas, including fishing communities, agriculture, skills and capacity development to increase self-sufficiency, and integrated infrastructure.
He said these would enable the country to make the most of its large potash deposits.
In April, the AfDB’s board of directors approved a 49.92 million dollars financing grant for the construction of a 30-megawatt solar photovoltaic power plant in Dekemhare.
This is the Bank’s largest investment in the country. The project will have a transformative impact on improving access to energy in Eritrea.
It will contribute to the Eritrea’s target of generating 360 megawatts of electricity by 2030.
In 2018, Eritrea signed a peace and cooperation agreement with its neighbour, Ethiopia. This milestone marked the end of 20 years of conflict that had hampered economic development.
The agreement and the lifting of United Nations and United States sanctions ended a decade of international isolation for Eritrea. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Ese E. Eniola Williams
By Lucy Ogalue