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UK to counter Covid delays in African Development Bank funds

23 July 2021

The government has agreed with a recommendation from MPs to speed up the delivery of UK funds to the African Development Bank (AfDB). The government also said it would encourage other international shareholders in the Bank to do the same, to counter the negative impact on the Bank’s capacity due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The UK is a major shareholder in the AfDB, an institution that specializes in large infrastructure investments on the continent and welcomes African and non-African participation in its projects. The Abidjan, Ivory Coast-headquartered Bank is the biggest lender on the continent that has a significant African shareholding.

The MPs’ recommendation to speed up the delivery of UK capital lent to the Bank came in a report by a Sub-Committee of the House of Commons International Development Committee. The Sub-Committee looks specifically at the work of the independent government aid watchdog called the Independent Commission on Aid Impact (ICAI).

The Sub-Committee of MPs said one of the key challenges facing the Bank is obtaining private finance for its infrastructure projects - a situation exacerbated by demands on resources caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. The MPs therefore urged the government to improve infrastructure development on the continent by faster disbursement of UK capital funds to the Bank.

The Chair of the Sub-Committee on the work of ICAI, Theo Clarke MP said:

“We’re very pleased the government has agreed to this sensible speeding-up of the delivery of seed capital to the African Development Bank. It’s not extra money but it is delivering our contribution faster, to counter Covid delays.

“The UK has worked well with the African Development Bank over the years.

“We’re glad the government has also agreed to encourage other shareholders to speed up their capital contributions so the valuable investments the Bank is making in infrastructure and other projects can continue”.

The MPs on the Sub-Committee also made recommendations on filling staffing gaps at the Bank, a situation which the government said it would monitor closely.

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