The road connecting Ethiopia and Kenya has raised trade by 400 percent between the countries, according the African Development Bank (AfDB).Speaking to journalists on Wednesday, AfDB President Akinwumi A. Adesina said the bank is financing transport and energy infrastructures and building new agro-industrial parks to promote Ethiopia’s economy.
AfDB is delighted to have funded the road that actually links Ethiopia all the way to Mombasa, Kenya, he added.
“That road alone has allowed trade between Ethiopia and Kenya to rise by 400 percent and that has also provided Ethiopia with an access to port,” Adesina pointed out.
According to him, the bank is also financing Ethiopia’s hydropower generation, power transmission lines, and infrastructure linking Hawassa Industrial Park to Djibouti as well as the new agro-industrial parks to promote value addition.
The government of Ethiopia has been doing very well in investing in hydroelectric power, the president said, describing the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam as “a major accomplishment.”
Adesina expressed his amazement by saying, “I have never seen any other African country invest more in infrastructure than this country.”
“This is the country that has experienced economic growth rate over 10 percent for over a decade and even last year (it) had 7.7 percent GDP growth rate which is amusing against the context of the global growth rate of about 3 percent. This is a phenomenal performance that you have in Ethiopia,” the president stated.
According to him, Ethiopia is using debt very well and the quality of debt is very well. “We do not have any problem with that. What we have got to do is help Ethiopia to diversify its economy and add value to the things it is exporting.”
“I will tell you one thing that never makes me nervous about Ethiopia. If you ever watch Olympics and you see people that run long distances without getting tired, they are Ethiopians; right? So I think Ethiopians always know how to face challenges; and I am sure that is one you will cope with as well.”
Obviously, given the history of Ethiopia, where a lot of things are done by the public sector, the president stated that “with the bold move of opening up the economy for private sector, the economy will even grow faster with liberalization.”
Describing the private sector as key potential to economic growth, Adesina noted that it is critical to unlock the potential through creating good environment as well as right business and investment regulatory bodies.
Furthermore, he pointed out that AfDB will invest in transforming Ethiopia’s rural economy into zones of economic prosperity.
“All in all, we are great partners with Ethiopia but most importantly Ethiopians by themselves are doing great all by themselves. We can only help to support what they are doing,” President Adesina concluded.