By Mary Hearty

Regional integration is high-priority to a new step in African prosperity. This was concluded during the annual meeting of African Development Bank (AfDB) in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, to discuss various ways to quickly improve regional integration.

During the meeting, the Board of Governors discussed the Bank’s performance, outlook and a proposed General Capital Increase (GCI).

“We have had an excellent exchange with all of our shareholders. They were extremely impressed by the work achieved by the Bank, particularly in terms of regional integration,” said African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina at the closing press conference of the meeting.

Adesina applauded the Bank’s shareholders “solid support”, who gave the permission to proceed with further discussions around a GCI.

Responding to a question on the Bank’s support to fragile nations, Adesina said: “Every dollar that the bank spent in GCI led to US$17 of benefit to low-income countries. So the GCI is not just for rich countries, it lifts everybody up.”

Adesina said the Bank’s transition facility continued to assist countries emerging from conflict, while its investments played a strategic role in helping countries that find themselves in the “triangle of disaster” of unemployment, poverty and environmental degradation.

Cesar Mba Abogo, the Minister for Finance Equatorial Guinea positively expressed himself that the annual meeting had allowed its country to showcase its opportunities.

“This has been a great moment for us. It fits in with our development plan and our investment needs. This is a country that is open for business and open to everyone. We are extremely happy to showcase what we have to the world,” he said.

The next annual meeting will be held in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, in May.