About 1.5 billion dollars has been provided through the Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zones (SAPZs) program, by the African Development Bank (AfDB) to advance the export of value-added farming products. This was revealed by Dr Akinwumi Adesina, the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) at the Africa Investment Forum (AIF) Market Place in Marrakesh, Morocco, with the theme “Unlocking Africa’s Value Chains” which is presently ongoing.
He further went to say that the continent’s route to wealth is through the export of value-added farm products. He added that “Africa must end the export of raw agricultural commodities. We must recognize 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.
Dr. Adeshina further explained that nations must upgrade alliances, resources, and collaborations in widening the SAPZs initiative across the continent and leveraging on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).
However, he conveyed joy at the speed at which the SAPZs initiative was advancing through collaborations. He quoted that “The Alliance has the goal of mobilizing at least two billion dollars in financing and investment commitments from Alliance members and partners over the next five years. Meeting this financing goal will deliver 15 to 20 SAPZ projects in various countries across the continent.” Adeshina said.
Dr. Benedict Oramah, the President of the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), pointed out that the political unrest in the continent poses a major barrier to funding milestone projects.
Despite this, Dr. Oramah still appealed for a detailed project funding initiative and plan for Africa. He also highlighted that the main challenge to funding and execution of projects was budgetary restriction, which defeats the purpose of resource allocation.
The Afreximbank president concluded saying, “There should be continental regulations that countries should respect and justice for anything good for business. It is important to sign constitutional agreements and concessions. It is also important to support products with high profitability”.
During the SAPZs program, a whooping sum of 3 billion dollars commitment was given by the partners.