African Development Bank president calls for collaboration to tackle global pandemic

“Our collective humanity is at stake and every life matters” - Adesina

African Development Bank Group President Akinwumi Adesina has called for a collective effort to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic.

Adesina was speaking during a Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) webinar titled “Navigating the Impact of Covid-19”.

The US based business association platform was established to promote business and investment between the United States and Africa and address the health as well as the economic impact of Covid-19 in Africa.

Mr Adesina used his address to issue a call for action.

He said: “We need collaboration now more than ever. Africa is the latest continent to face the dire health, economic and social consequences of this pandemic.

He said the crisis threatens to erase the unprecedented growth the continent has experienced over the last decade.

"Our collective humanity is at stake and every life matters. Nations will always go through shocks. Systems will always come under pressure.

"The issue is to understand the shocks and how it affects resilience, the resilience of individuals, the resilience of communities, the resilience of local and national states,” Adesina said.

Answering questions from participants, Adesina recalled the bank’s $3 billion fundraising social bond and a $10 billion Response Facility to assist governments and businesses.

The response package includes $5 billion that will go to governments, $3.1 billion to countries that fall under the bank’s concessionary African Development Fund and $1.4 billion to the private sector.

Adesina urged multilateral institutions to align their efforts regarding debt re-profiling, which would ensure that their ratings were not affected.

“One of the hardest things for me to watch is the announcement of deaths. It reminds us of the deadly race we are in.

Adesina said that it was a time for even greater partnerships, partnerships that build resilience, partnerships that will endure long after the coronavirus is gone.

I’m hoping that out of this situation, we will all now come and say, let’s make sure Africa has the first-rate healthcare infrastructure that its people need and pharmaceutical products.”

Meanwhile, Florie Liser, CCA president and CEO said in her opening remarks that the African Development Bank has been a global leader in responding to this emerging crisis in Africa.

The webinar was moderated by Peter Sullivan, Managing Director, Public Sector Head, Citi Bank, who said the pandemic was “unprecedented in terms of its health and social impact, its economic impact and its financial impact.

"The crisis has significantly hurt economic activity across multiple sectors, including tourism, transportation and commodities," he said.

The webinar was attended by US and African government officials and private sector executives, as part of CCA’s series of virtual conferences that will maintain engagement and dialogue between the private sector, multilateral agencies and US and African governments particularly as the world tackles the coronavirus pandemic.