Joining a trend set by its MSGBC basin neighbours in The Gambia, Mauritania and Senegal, Guinea-Bissau is growing back stronger in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, turning its 2.8% GDP dip in 2020 – the first in five years – back around to produce an expected growth of 3.9% this year.
Thus, the African Development Bank Group’s (AfDB) extension of a $30 million financial package to the nation this year, marks a consolidation of this progress and remedy for any lingering growth pains the nation faces.
The fresh finance follows a visit from Dr Akinwumi Adesina, President of the AfDB to H.E. Umaro Sissoco Embaló, President of Guinea-Bissau, in the beginning of the year, reaffirming the strong ties shared between Africa’s leading development bank and Bissau’s nation while charting a financially-backed path towards the achievement of the African Union’s (AU) 2063 Agenda within the nation.
Since 1976, the AfDB has extended $448 million in investment to the nation of Guinea-Bissau, 89% of this delivered via its concessional arm in the African Development Fund, with the remaining 11% contributed by the NEPAD-Infrastructure Project Preparation Facility, Sustainable Energy Fund for Africa and Africa Investment Facility.
Provided predominantly in the form of loans and grants, the AfDB’s national portfolio consists of 12 ongoing operations, two of them multinational, spanning five key sectors – namely, energy (40.3% of investment), transport (26.4%), agriculture (14.4%), social (12.4%) and governance (6.5%). Its five goals in the delivery of these fiscal mechanisms, advised by the AU 2063 Agenda, are to Light up and Power Africa, Feed Africa, Integrate Africa and to Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.
So, what does this mean for Guinea-Bissau’s turbocharged development? In the immediate future, the AfDB sources have confirmed that of the latest $30 million facility, $14 million will go towards building road networks between Guinea-Bissau and neighboring Senegal, $8.7 million towards budget support and capacity building and $7 million in aid of government reforms. Within the latter bracket, a National School of Administration will be created, improving the efficacy of future public administrators via targeted capacity development, with specialized training in project management and monitoring.
In-country, the AfDB will also establish a delivery unit designed to speed up its project implementation, targeting inclusive growth and infrastructure development with upcoming projects. Additionally, specifically in line with the AU 2063 Agenda, Guinea-Bissau, with support from the AfDB is targeting an energy transformation by 2030, backed to the tune of $700 million under its Sustainable Energy Investment Plan, listed in the 2021 SDG7 energy progress report among the 20 countries globally that most increased their access to electricity in the past decade.
As a nation, Guinea-Bissau was among the strongest performers in weathering COVID-19 across the African continent, achieving 70% vaccination rates among its adult population, and immediately bounding back economically from 2020’s recession to over 2% growth last year. Looking forward, its greatest economic potential lies in the energy industry – a potential which the AfDB itself recognizes, and which is shared by each MSGBC basin nation as the sub-region enters its gas rush amidst a burgeoning energy sector.
These avenues of sustainable development and opportunies will all feature prominently in the upcoming MSGBC Oil, Gas & Power Conference 2022’s agenda. The event itself will be opened by H.E. Macky Sall, African Union Chairperson and Senegalese President – a visionary leader whose vocal support of the AU’s 2063 Agenda is unparalleled. With investors flocking from across Africa, Asia, America, Australia, Europe and the Middle East to attend, the region’s multi-billion-dollar energy industry is set to become the backbone of future growth, MSGBC Oil, Gas & Power 2022 igniting potentials for an African energy future that develops Africa.