African Development Bank Group President Dr Akinwumi A. Adesina has announced a $30 million aid package to Guinea -Bissau much of it going to shore up the West African country’s budget.
In a statement on Monday, AfDB said of this amount, $14 million would be allocated to building road networks between Guinea Bissau and neighbouring Senegal, while $8.7 million and $7 million would go to budget support and capacity building, and government reforms, respectively.
The aid to Bissau comes after AfDB’s Adesina held talks in Bissau with Bissau-Guinean President Umaro Sissoco Embaló over what it called a range of strategic issues, including strengthening the already close cooperation as well as supporting ongoing and future projects to facilitate the country’s economic transformation.
Emerging from his meeting with President Embaló, Adesina told reporters that the AfDB had earmarked $30 million in financing projects in Guinea-Bissau and praised the country’s achievements in managing the Covid-19 crisis.
According to Adesina Guinea-Bissau had achieved an African record given that 70 percent of its population over 18 have been vaccinated against the virus.
President Sissoco Embaló lamented the political disruptions that have hampered his country’s development.
“This is the first time we have government stability, and we have to make use of it to accelerate economic transformation. We are grateful that the African Development Bank has always been by our side, even during difficult times. We are ready to work alongside the Bank to lead Guinea-Bissau to a new chapter of its history” he said.
The AfDB said it has plans to set up a delivery unit to speed up project implementation in the country including funding the creation of a National School of Administration to improve the performance of the economic and financial arms of public administration, as well as project management and monitoring.
Adesina’s visit to Bissau coincided with the launch of an AfDB-supported project to support the empowerment and financial inclusion of women and youth engaged in cashew nut, fruit and vegetable production.
Guinea-Bissau’s agriculture-based economy is heavily dependent on the export of cashew nut which has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic.
GDP growth in Guinea-Bissau contracted by 2.8 percent in 2020, halting the positive growth rate the country had witnessed since 2015.
Economic recovery, however, is expected in 2022, with the resumption of trade activities and large-scale vaccination against Covid-19.