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WBAF Announces AfDB As Board Member3 minutes read

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The World Business Angels Investment Forum (WBAF) has announced the African Development Bank (AfDB) as its newest Board Member.

In this capacity, AfDB will represent Africa’s early-stage equity markets, entrepreneurship and startup ecosystems, small and medium enterprises and high-growth businesses, angel investors, and private equity funds.

Abdu Mukhtar, the Bank’s Director of Industrial and Trade Development, will occupy the Bank’s Board seat.

“We are delighted to have the African Development Bank Group as a global board member of the World Business Angels Investment Forum,” said Baybars Altuntas, WBAF’s Executive Chairman.

“I am confident that by including AfDB, WBAF will be able to provide a wide range of opportunities for start-ups, scaleups and high growth businesses in Africa—ones that will open the doors for economic development. By working together across borders, with a common vision, and with these smart dynamics in mind, we are well placed to bring about positive change in Africa and global economy.”

WBAF promotes access to finance for businesses from start-up to scale-up, with the goal of generating more jobs and social justice worldwide. The Forum engages with a wide range of institutions to help shape the global agenda.

AfDB is Africa’s preeminent Development Finance institution, and the only one with a Triple A credit rating. The Bank fights poverty and works to improve living conditions on the continent by promoting public and private capital investment in projects with the potential to drive regional economic and social development. The Bank has 81 shareholders: fifty-four regional member countries and 27 non-African countries. As of November 2019, the bank had a capital base of $208 billion.

“I am excited about joining the WBAF Board and am quite impressed by its vision. Support for innovation, entrepreneurship and SME development is very important to us, especially since these areas are directly linked to some of our development objectives, including job creation and women empowerment, said Director Mukhtar.

“I look forward to working with the experts on the WBAF Board to advance these objectives. I am sure WBAF and AfDB will create a great impact in the startup, angel investment and SME markets of Africa. The ultimate goal is to produce more jobs and social justice in Africa.”

WBAF is a partner of the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion (GPFI), a platform for G20 members, interested non-G20 countries, and relevant stakeholders to advance financial inclusion, and implement the G20 Financial Inclusion Action Plan. Other board members include Abdulaziz N. Al-Khalifa, Chief Executive Officer of Qatar Development Bank; Dr. Abdul Malek Al Jaber, President, Middle East Business Angels Network (MBAN) ; Dr. Hashim S. Hussein, Head of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization – Investment & Technology Promotion Office (UNIDO-ITPO) and Prof Dr Inderjit Singh, Co-president, World Entrepreneurship Forum (WENF).

“I welcome Dr Abdu Mukhtar to the Board, and I look forward to working with him in our mutual efforts to ease access to smart finance to create more jobs and more social justice worldwide. I believe AfDB’s efforts to convert the world and Africa economy to a smart economy in cooperation with the World Business Angels Investment Forum will be very productive,” said Altuntas.

He added, “WBAF is committed to collaborating globally to empower the economic development of the world by fostering innovative financial instruments for startups, scaleups, innovators, entrepreneurs and SMEs and to promoting gender equality and women’s participation in all sectors of the world economy.”

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AU, Estonia Launch Hackathon To Develop Digital Solutions For Africa’s Post-COVID Recovery

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African Union and Estonia, in cooperation with Finland, Ireland, Luxembourg and Poland, with the implementing partners Garage48 and Smart Africa are organizing an online cross-continental hackathon “EU-Africa: The Post Crisis Journey” on 10-13 December 2020.

The online hackathon is seeking innovative solutions to socio-economic problems in Africa, exacerbated by the COVID-19 crisis.

The event builds on AU-Estonia cooperation agreement in December 2017 and the recommendations of the AU-EU task force report in 2018. It is to be noted that spurring digitalization in Africa and seeking innovative development solutions is at the heart and spirit of the AU Digital Transformation Strategy approved in 2020 and in line with Agenda 2063 which gives a prominent place to youth empowerment and participation.

Dr Amani Abou-Zeid, African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy, highlighted the timeliness of the event: “The AU Digital Transformation Strategy, approved in 2020, sees digitalization as springboard to rethink African development models and develop new solutions to socio-economic problems. The post-COVID-19 era offers Africa an important opportunity to revitalize our economies under a green and smart framework that supports health and prosperity embracing new technologies. We are confident that youth shall put their creativity, innovation and ingenuity using digital skills into providing solutions that help Africa recover better and faster”.

According to H.E. Andres Rundu, the Foreign Ministry’s Undersecretary for External Economic Policy and Development Cooperation, Estonia has considerably expanded its contacts with the countries and organizations of the African continent in recent years. “Organizing a hackathon with such a level of ambition is a clear demonstration of how Estonia can use its digital strengths to advance the cooperation between the European Union and Africa in several ways. Even before the pandemic, the rapid development of Africa was spurring on a great interest in digital services, and now the digital transformation has gathered even more speed. This hackathon enables us to join the forces of Europe and Africa for a successful digital transformation,” Rundu said.

Dr Blade Nzimande, Minister of Higher Education, Science and Innovation of South Africa, current Chair of the African Union, emphasized the role of science and innovation at the forefront of the response to COVID-19 in both Africa and Europe: “Cooperation between African and European scientists, innovators and entrepreneurs can make a decisive contribution, not only to defeat the pandemic but crucially also to accelerate economic recovery. This hackathon will make an important contribution to enable such partnerships and it is, thus, an initiative, South Africa is delighted to support.”

The online hackathon plans to engage 10000 tech-savvy and socially conscious participants, 300 mentors and at least 100 community building organizations from both the Africa and Europe. The hackathon is open to African and European youth to submit innovative ideas that can contribute to mitigating the COVID-19 aftermath.

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AFC, TDB, Africa50, Others Partner To Promote Bankable Projects

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Africa’s largest development finance institutions said they would use their cooperation with development partners to promote bankable projects in the continent.

They made this known during a panel to discuss their organisations’ roles in a post COVID-19 environment, according to a statement from African Development Bank (AfDB) on Wednesday.

The institutions are Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank (TDB) and Africa50.

It said AfBD’s acting Senior Vice President, Bajabulile Swazi Tshabalala, was joined by Samaila Zubairu, President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of AFC; Admassu Tadesse, President and CEO of TDB, and Alain Ebobissé, CEO of Africa50 for the session.

The statement said the session, organised by the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and the Atlantic Council, was moderated by Edward Burrier, DFC’s Executive Vice President of Strategy.

The DFC, inaugurated in 2019, with an investment cap of 60 billion dollars had selected Africa as a priority region for future investments.

The finance institutions noted that a sustained and collaborative approach among development partners would among others scale up project development activities and boost the number of bankable projects in the continent.

They added that the projects would attract investors’ interest and contribute to closing the infrastructure finance gap in Africa.

The panellists highlighted the importance of project development and a supply of bankable projects as being key for private sector investors.

They said that the project development required an active approach in investing capital into the early stages of project preparation and accepting the risk.

They identified these elements as one of the most important deterrents to attracting foreign investment into Africa.

They also said that most of the participating institutions offered a wide variety of financial instruments and products to help de-risk such investments.

Zubairu spoke of the AFC’s Kigali Innovation City (KIC) technology hub project which was already changing the narrative about Africans only consuming technology rather than being developers.

“Its risky business, but extremely impactful,” Zubairu said.

Tadesse also added that the “blended” returns of dividends and the development impact of some of these projects made any risks worthwhile.

Also, Ebobissé said: “we develop very close relationships with our government shareholders and as a result project implementation is speeded up, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic”.

Africa50’s unique niche is focused on solving Africa’s infrastructure gap through a strong emphasis on both the project development and project financing of infrastructure projects.

“The institution ensures a healthy supply of bankable projects through the mainstreaming of project preparation activities.’’

Tshabalala, however, spoke on how the AfDB’s High 5 priorities represented a significant investment opportunity for U.S. investors in a variety of projects spanning several sectors.

The sectors included energy, agriculture and food security, regional integration and private sector.

She noted that AfDB and DFC were currently collaborating on energy projects in Senegal and Madagascar.

“We see that as the beginning of our stronger engagement and partnership,” she said.

Tshabalala also highlighted the growing partnership on the Africa Investment Forum with the other institutions represented on the panel and their collective efforts to bring bankable projects to private sector investors.

She further added that sovereign lending was crucial “especially in the development of basic infrastructure that is a pre-requisite for development’’.

According to the statement, this also includes the provision of concessional financing to transition countries through the African Development Fund.

The bank also engages in enhanced policy dialogue and provides knowledge products which enable governments to create the right environment for private sector investment.

Tshabalala added that the bank had “over the years been increasing our direct investment in the private sector which has grown to become a significant component of our overall lending portfolio.’’

In an earlier panel moderated by DFC’s CEO Adam Boehler, African Heads of State shared their insights on opportunities for trade and investment.

The panel included Presidents Macky Sall of Senegal, Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique, and Mahamadou Issoufou of Niger, who was represented by his Chief of Staff.

The statement said no fewer than 2,000 participants were in attendance.

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Botswana’s Thapelo Tsheole Re-elected CoSSE Chair

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Thapelo Tsheole, Chief Executive Officer of the Botswana Stock Exchange, has been re-elected as Chairperson of the Committee of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Stock Exchanges (CoSSE).

CoSSE, in a communique said Tsheole, whose new tenure would run until March 2022, said “the development of regional securities exchanges remains high on the committee’s agenda.’’

Tsheole further said “it is the collective effort of exchange members to collaborate and work together to foster synergies that will serve to promote harmonisation in a bid to promote cross-border listings amongst members.

“We will encourage the transfer of security markets’ intellectual capital and technical expertise among member exchanges, increase liquidity for regional exchanges and strive towards development of efficient, fair and transparent securities markets within the SADC region.

“I am confident that with the support of the members, we can achieve our goals.’’

According to CoSSE, during Tsheole’s last two-year tenure, there has been significant improvement in market and product developments in the SADC region.

Formed in 1997, CoSSE has become a collective body of 14 stock exchanges from 13 SADC countries.

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