To help unlock economic growth, the African Development Bank is coordinating the implementation of an integrated development strategy for Portuguese-speaking countries in Africa.
In preparation for the rollout of this initiative, the Bank and the Government of Portugal have signed an agreement to provide language training to African Development Bank staff interested in learning Portuguese, as well as professional conference translation services.
The language-learning cooperation agreement, signed by the Institute for Cooperation and the Portuguese Language (Camões – Instituto da Cooperação e da Língua, I.P.) and the Bank at the African Development Bank headquarters in Abidjan, also provides conditions for the translation and dissemination of the Bank’s standard project procurement and financial management documents into Portuguese.
“The Lusaphone countries are not one contiguous group. What we are talking about here has a cultural, linguistic, political and economic perspective. I believe Portugal will play a key role in bringing about greater integration,” Bank President Akinwumi Adesina told the visiting Portuguese delegation led by Teresa Ribeiro, Portugal’s Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.
“As a Bank, we are committed to this. We are also delighted about the Portuguese training agreement we have signed,” Adesina said.
Teresa Ribeiro commended President Adesina for his vision and the Bank’s support to Lusaphone countries. She welcomed the possibility of a compact that could respond to challenges facing the Portuguese-speaking countries.
“What we want to achieve with the African Development Bank is a very ambitious programme that responds to critical issues. The countries need the compact to enable investors,” she said.
As part of the Bank’s catalytic role, it is relying on the historical, cultural and language bonds that unite Africa’s Portuguese-speaking countries with Portugal and Brazil, to help stimulate greater economic ties, private-sector business growth and trade opportunities.
The Bank has also initiated a Compact for Development for the Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP) with the Government of Portugal to help unlock growth opportunities, develop the potential of untapped natural resources and create local capacity to design and manage projects.
The compact is expected to be signed at the Bank’s Annual Meetings, taking place from May 21-25, 2018 in Busan, Korea.
President Adesina spoke about the planned introduction of de-risking instruments to help attract private investors to Portuguese-speaking African countries. He thanked the Government of Portugal for its support and for the deposit of its paid subscriptions to the African Development Fund, the Bank’s concessional window.
The President stressed the crucial role the private sector could play in enhancing growth, and described the Africa Investment Forum (AIF) as the Bank’s strategy to leverage capital, global pension funds, and capital funds to invest in Africa in a very smart way.
The Bank is planning to have a special session for Lusaphone investors at the inaugural Africa Investment Forum, scheduled for November 7-9, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Adesina underscored the importance of the Portuguese Technical Cooperation Fund, which Portugal has put in place for the Bank’s use. The Fund, he said, has been instrumental in enabling the Bank to provide technical support to Lusophone countries on the continent.
The Community of Portuguese Language Countries (CPLP) of Africa include Angola, Cabo Verde, Equatorial Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique and São Tomé and Príncipe.