The African Development Bank has contributed $1.5bn towards advancing the export of value-added agricultural products through the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones initiative.
The President of the Bank, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina said this at the 2023 Africa Investment Forum Market Place in Marrakesh, Morocco, themed “Unlocking Africa’s Value Chains.”
The SAPZ Programme which was also launched in Nigeria solely aims to boost household incomes, facilitate job creation in rural agricultural communities—especially for youth and women—and strengthen food and nutritional security.
Adesina emphasised the pivotal role of exporting value-added agricultural products in Africa’s wealth creation during the inauguration of the Alliance for SAPZs.
He said, “Africa must end the export of raw agricultural commodities. We must recognise that the fastest way to poverty is via the export of raw commodities, while the highway to wealth is from the export of value-added products.
“And that is why SAPZs are important. They provide critical infrastructure to support agro-industrial development in Africa.
“Our valued partners include the Islamic Development Bank, the International Fund for Agricultural Development, the Arab Bank for Economic Development, the European Union, and the Korean Export-Import Bank.”
“We are also working with the African Union to support the Common Africa Agro-Parks Programme. Our collective effort has mobilized $1.5bn in support of the establishment of 25 SAPZs in 11 African countries,” he said.
He emphasised the need for countries to enhance resources, partnerships, and alliances to expand Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones across Africa, leveraging the opportunities presented by the Africa Continental Free Trade Area.
“The Alliance will raise funds through various investment windows for project preparation, project development and construction, and financing for tenant companies,” Adeshina said.