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AfDB demands improved terms, $25 billion to prevent “lost decade”

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According to the director of the continent’s development bank, Akin Adesina, Africa needs $25 billion, faster debt restructurings, and more favourable financing terms for the Africa Development Fund to prevent a lost decade.

 

Adesina, the continent was suffering from “long fiscal COVID” and the world was not doing enough to support it in getting past the years of hardship brought on by the pandemic and interest rate spikes, which had forced many countries into default.

“The G20 Common Framework, which is the bilateral and multilateral path to do (debt restructuring), must work faster for Africa,” Adesina said in a speech on Friday at London’s Chatham House, adding: “We can’t afford to have a lost decade.”

He also demanded a $25 billion restocking of the African Development Fund, the African Development Bank’s concessional lending division that provides loans to economically disadvantaged nations. The most ever replenishment committed, at $8.9 billion, during the funding cycle spanning 2023 to 2025.

This week, Zambia became the first nation to complete a debt rework under the Common Framework, a framework created by the G20 to assist developing nations in renegotiating unsustainable debt with all creditors, including China, which has significantly increased its loans to developing nations over the previous ten years.

However, Zambia’s authorities and others have complained that the nearly four gruelling years it took were too long for the procedure. In addition, Adesina reported that 22 African nations are at significant risk of financial trouble and that debt servicing obligations will reach $74 billion this year, up from $17 billion in 2010. Ethiopia and Ghana are also in default.

“This is because concessional financing has declined,” he said, adding: “You can’t do development at commercial rates. We have to make sure that the global financing system delivers more for Africa and avoid economic divergences that are coming about because of slow economic recovery in Africa from COVID.”

Adesina subsequently to journalists that the Paris Club, the established consortium of mostly Western creditor countries, needed to be permanently enlarged and that the Common Framework needed to incorporate quicker credit committee formation.

“The Paris Club was all about concessional lenders. But the world has changed,” he said, adding that expanding it was important “because it will allow you to reach a faster dialogue and a resolution”.

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Zambia to establish unit for mineral trading, investing

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To increase its revenue from its natural resources, Zambia will establish a new company for investment and mineral trading, the cabinet announced on Wednesday following approval.

According to the statement, the government of Zambia, the second-largest copper producer in Africa, would create a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for trading and investment purposes. Through ZCCM Investment Holdings, the government currently owns many mining assets.

The new entity would help Zambia “move away from the dividend payment model for mineral resources and adopt a production-based sharing mechanism to ensure benefits accrue to the people of Zambia beyond Statutory obligations,” the Cabinet said.

 

It further stated that the new business model will guarantee accurate disclosure of mineral consignments intended for export and internal consumption, permit the government to negotiate mineral prices, and share produced minerals.

10% to 20% of mines, including those controlled by Barrick Gold, Vedanta Resources, and First Quantum Minerals, are owned by ZCCM. It recently retained the remaining 51% of Mopani Copper Mines after selling the remaining portion to a division of United Arab Emirates International Holding Company.

Paul Kabuswe, Zambia’s minister of mines, told Reuters in February that Zambia intended to negotiate bigger stakes in new mining operations to increase revenue and encourage investment in social programs.

The nation aims to produce 3 million metric tons of copper annually within the next ten years as the demand for metal rises in the building and electricity sectors. In 2023, the nation produced 698,000 metric tons of copper, down from 763,000 metric tons the year before.

The production of copper decreased from 763,000 tons the year before to 698,000 tons the following year, according to the Zambia Chamber of Mines.

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Kenya’s govt authorizes sale of its stakes in 6 publicly traded firms

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According to President William Ruto’s office, the Kenyan cabinet has accepted a government proposal to sell shares it owns in six listed companies, including the nation’s stock exchange and a cement manufacturer.

The government will sell its holdings in battery manufacturer Eveready East Africa, Nairobi Securities Exchange, HF Group, Stanbic Holdings, Liberty Kenya Holdings, and East African Portland Cement, according to a statement released late on Tuesday by Ruto’s office.

 

The National Social Security Fund owns 27% of East African Portland, while the government owns a direct 25.3% share. The government holds 1.1% of Stanbic Holdings, 0.9% of Liberty Kenya Holdings, 2.41% of HF Group, 3.36% of Nairobi Securities Exchange, and 17.2% of Eveready.

This action is in line with government intentions to sell off stakes in further state-owned businesses. After passing a bill in October to provide guidelines for the process, Ruto said in November that the government intended to privatize 35 state-owned businesses.

 

But in December of last year, the opposition party filed a lawsuit to oppose the plan, arguing that some of the enterprises being sold had vital national interest and should only be sold with public approval. As a result, the plan encountered difficulties.

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