Uhuru in Zambia for annual AfDB meeting

Tuesday May 24 2016

President Uhuru Kenyatta at JKIA shortly before

President Uhuru Kenyatta at JKIA shortly before his departure to Zambia for an official visit on May 24, 2016. PHOTO | PSCU 

By MICHAEL CHAWE in Lusaka

President Uhuru Kenyatta arrived in Zambia Tuesday to attend the African Development Bank (AfDB) 2016 annual meeting.

The gathering opened Monday in Zambia's capital Lusaka, bringing together several delegates from around the world.

Mr Kenyatta is one of three African heads of state expected to attend the five-day meeting alongside Chad's Idriss Derby and Rwanda's Paul Kagame.

Organisers say many former heads of state were also expected at the meeting taking place at the Mulungushi Conference Centre.

This year's meeting will focus on energy, climate change and ways to tackle growing youth unemployment in the region.

Regional shocks

AfDB has launched the African Economic Outlook 2016 report, which has indicated that the continent’s economic performance held firm in 2015 amid global headwinds and regional shocks.

The continent remained the second fastest growing economic region after East Asia, it said.

According to the report’s prudent forecast, Africa's average growth was expected at 3.7 per cent in 2016 and pick up to 4.5 per cent in 2017, provided the world economy strengthens and commodity prices gradually recovers.

Financial flows

In 2015, it said, net financial flows to Africa were estimated at $208 billion, 1.8 per cent lower than in 2014, due to a contraction in investment.

Launching the report, the AfDB acting director, Development Research Department, Mr Abebe Shimeles, said that to make any real impact at ending poverty, Africa needed to grow at a rate of seven per cent per year.

And during a panel discussion on sustainable cities and structural transformation in Africa, the UNDP assistant administrator and regional director, Mr Abdoulaye Mar Dieye said Africa had made some gains in human development, especially in education.

Major bottleneck

Mr Dieye said one of the major challenges facing African cities was governance as local administration was neglected by national governments.

UN Habitant executive director Aisa Kirabo Kacyira said African cities needed to rethink their land administration, which she said was the major bottleneck to sustainable growth.

She said at the moment the distribution of land in most African cities was not equitable.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development director, Mr Mario Pezzini, said Africa was urbanising fast, but there was slow infrastructural transformation to support their sustainable existence.