Friday, December 10, 2010

ECOWAS Bank Board of Directors Meets in Banjul

June 8th, 2010 

The board of directors of the ECOWAS bank for investment and development (EBID) has opened its 8th annual meeting in Banjul on Monday 7th June 2010.
The day-long meeting is meant to take stock of the Bank’s financial activities and to discuss ways of making it a more effective vehicle for financing the investment requirements of countries in the sub-region.
The EBID meeting came hot on the heels of the recently concluded annual general meeting of the African Development Bank (ADB) in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, where the ADB says the continent’s economy is set to rebound from the global financial crisis, with 80 percent of African economies expected to grow this year.
The ADB officials say real gross domestic product on the continent is expected to reach 4.5 percent this year, well above the global average. “Growth could top five percent by 2011, putting African economies back on a 10 year track that was disrupted by last year’s global economic crisis. But the recovery will be uneven,” economists said.

EBID was established in 1999 and started operations in 2004 as the holding company for the ECOWAS regional development fund and the ECOWAS investment bank (ERIB) for financing investment and development in West Africa.
The authorised capital of the group is 603 million UA or the equivalent of US$750 million and 402 million UA subscribed with a called-up capital of 147 UA and out of which 24.2 UA stands unpaid.
Foreign donors have widely praised African Development Bank’s efforts to soften the impact of the financial crisis by more than doubling concessionary lending, which has led donors to triple their capital base to $100 billion.
“Expanding the current capital of EBID is a major issue which requires our urgent attention to allow the Bank to continue to serve our needs towards the realisation of the vision as the premier funding agency for sub regional and national projects,” the Finance Minister Momodou S. Foon said.
According to him, EBID should maintain its core activities including medium and long-term loans for commercial projects in all sectors, loans to national financial institutions or for on-lending to SME/SMI’s under refinancing agreements and lines of credit.
He also said the Bank should maintain participation in equity capital and providing quasi capital; issuing and guaranteeing borrowings, national, regional or international bonds and securities; financing feasibility studies of investment projects; and providing financial engineering.
The vice president of The Gambia Madam Isatou Njie-Saidy said 2008/9 has been difficult years for developing countries as the severe financial crises spread across the world. “The continued economic recession in the developed world for much of 2008/9 led to sluggish export growth and a slow down of financial flows like remittances, foreign capital and investment into the developing countries,” she said.
However, she argued that the good performance of agricultural production supported by bumper rice harvest and good performance by electricity, telecommunication and financial sectors, the growth rate of real GDP improved from 6 percent in 2007 to 6.3 percent in 2008.
She noted that the figures released by the Gambia Bureau of Statistic in 2009 shows that the growth rate in 2009 is estimated to be 5 percent supported by a growth rate of 5.5 percent in agricultural production, 3.5 percent by industrial production and 5.7 percent in services production.
According to her, recent developments in the economic sector indicated that Gambia’s growth was mainly agriculture driven. This she said emphasizes the critical role of agriculture development in boosting the overall economic growth and ensuring food security thereby reducing reliance on food imports, generating employment and eradicating poverty and hunger.
He indicated that the poor performance of the manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade sectors during the crisis indicated the need for long term development financing strategies that would address the needs of the productive sectors of our economies.
“Therefore, there is need for real for EBID to play a proactive and supportive role in the productive sectors of the economy,” she charged.
She said there was a significant deceleration of inflation rate during 2009 and noticeable improvement in balance of payments situation, due to the sound fiscal and monetary policies adopted by the Government of The Gambia.
“I am happy to note that both food and non-food inflation rates have declined significantly during the last one year, which is important for ensuring sustainable poverty reduction,” she said.
she also note that the point to point annual inflation rate in terms of the consumer price index (CPI) declined from 6.8 percent in December 2008 to 2.7 percent in December 2009, while the inflation rate is currently running around 3.5 percent compared to 7 percent a year ago.
She said they are confident that this country has the economic fundamental rights as exemplified by the stable macroeconomic conditions.

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