Adesina Sees AfDB Growing Trade Finance, African Exports

Adesina Sees AfDB Growing Trade Finance, African Exports

Akinwumi Adesina

Akinwumi Adesina, new president of the African Development Bank. Photo: Sia Kambou/Getty Images

Akinwumi Adesina, the former Nigerian agriculture minister, takes over this week as president of the African Development Bank.

He layed out his vision for the bank, which includes providing rapid assistance to African nations hit hard by the slowdown in China’s economic growth, WallStreetJournal reports. Expectations are high for Adesina, who has a reputation for tackling ambitious projects.

“Africa must think big,” he said. “We can’t afford to have low aspirations for Africa.”

From WallStreetJournal. Blog by Dan Keeler.

WSJ: Do you plan any structural or operational changes at the bank?

Adesina: We will make sure we can leverage our balance sheet more, in particular creating risk guarantees that will enable the private sector to deploy capital. We’ll do more in terms of equity investments that will allow us to push the envelope on investment from the private sector. We will continue to make sovereign loans, but also help our countries to mitigate the risks of exposure they have from our giving them these loans.

Most of the money that will push these things is actually in the countries. Africa has total discovered natural resources worth $82 trillion. Money is there, it’s really how we harness those resources.

WSJ: How concerned are you about the turmoil in China and the decline in prices of oil and other commodities—and what can the AfDB do to help?

Adesina: The tumble in China’s stock market has brought down the price of industrial commodities on which a lot of African countries depend for exports. Clearly this will have an impact on their revenues. We can help them to manage volatility and provide them fiscal support. We have to prioritize that very quickly.

We should also help them diversify their economies. I see the bank getting more involved in trade finance, to help facilitate the growth of exports to other countries.

You will see a lot of effort from us in helping countries to strengthen their public financial management and revenue generation to broaden their fiscal space.

…A key focus is financial inclusion. Promoting innovations that allow us to build credit, savings and insurance products for low-income households will help drive inclusive growth. We’ll also focus on regional financial market integration and advancing Africa’s financial market architecture to ensure we harness private capital and (strengthen) bond and equity markets.

Read more at WallStreetJournal.