Tanzania: Samia Drums for Stronger AfDB

PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan has appealed to multilateral financiers to allow the African Development Bank (AfDB) to access Special Drawing Rights (SDR), which will benefit African countries in development.

“We have to raise our voices to ask multilateral financiers to allow AfDB to access SDRs because these are going to benefit Africa.

“Africa will be close to getting funds from our own bank for our own development,” Ms Samia told delegates during a dialogue at the annual meetings of AfDB and Africa Development Fund (ADF) taking place in Accra, Ghana.

“The funds have to go through our own bank (AfDB) for our own development,” Ms Samia said during her second day of her three-day working visit in Ghana.

Ms Samia congratulated AfDB for its 50th anniversary and extended appreciation to the lender for supporting execution of development projects in Tanzania. Apart from attending the AfDB meetings, Ms Samia is also slated to receive the Africa Road Builders Babacar Ndiaye Trophy 2022 in recognition of her commitment in develop- ment of transport infrastructure.

The SDR is an international reserve asset, created by the Interna- tional Monetary Fund (IMF) in 1969 to supplement its member countries’ official reserves.

To date, a total of SDR 660.7 bil- lion (equivalent to about 943 billion US dollars) have been allocated.

This includes the largest-ever allocation of about SDR 456 billion approved on August 2, 2021 (effective on August 23, 2021).

This most recent allocation was to address the long-term global need for reserves, and help countries cope with the impact of the Covid-19 pan- demic.

The value of the SDR is based on a basket of five currencies namely the United States’ dollar, the Euro, the Chinese Renminbi, the Japanese yen, and the British pound sterling.

The Tanzanian leader further stressed that most global programmes and plans should go in line with what Africa is planning.

President Samia told the delegates that apart from some challenges which she has encountered as being the first female president in Tanzania, the country has made significant achievements in many socio- economic fronts.

“I assumed office when the world was grappling with Co- vid-19 and the growth of our economy declined from 6.8 per cent to 4 per cent last year.

“However, through vari- ous interventions, the economy has rebounded to 5.2 per cent this year and we expect it to grow to 6.8 per cent by the year 2025,” she stated.

Ms Samia further noted that she assumed the mantle of leadership when water sup- ply was at 72 per cent but the rate has now increased to an average of 80 per cent countrywide.

“Our target is to increase water supply to 95 per cent and 85 per cent in urban and rural areas, respectively, by the year 2025,” Ms Samia told the del- egates.

President Samia on the other hand explained that unlike other countries, Tanza- nia has made best use of the 1.3tri/- Covid-19 Rapid Credit Facility from the IMF to im- prove education, health and water sectors.

“Among others, the funds were used to construct additional classrooms and this helped to decongest the number of pupils per class from between 100 and 120 to between 45 and 50,” she boasted.

The credit facility was also used to construct 350 new health centres with modern equipment at regional and district levels.

Officiating at the meeting earlier, the President of Ghana, Mr Nana Akufo-Addo, pointed to the fact that the AfDB annual meetings are being held at a critical period in history as Africa and the rest of the world are dealing with effects of Co- vid-19 and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Nevertheless, President Akufo Addo praised the AfDB group for being a globally reputable bank which has managed to maintain its stellar AAA rating even in difficult times and thus making it the only financial institution in Africa with triple A credit by all major global credit rating agencies.

Speaking earlier, the AfDB’s Group President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina outlined the Bank’s plans to address the looming food crisis threatening Africa as a result of the conflict between Ukraine and Russia.

“I’m optimistic. Africa will not experience a food crisis. We have the means to overcome this challenge” Adesina said.

“Africa needs only to produce its own food. It should not have to be begging for food. There is no dignity in begging for food,” he said during the AfDB annual meetings in Ghana which started on May 23 and slated to end on May 27, this year.

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