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African Development Bank bolsters Central Africa presence

In a move that reaffirms its commitment to Central Africa’s development course, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has inaugurated an ultramodern regional office building in Yaoundé, Cameroon.

Joseph Dion Ngute, Prime Minister of Cameroon, and Marie-Laure Akin-Olugbade, the Bank Group’s Vice-President for the Regional Development, Integration and Business Delivery Complex, led the opening ceremony held on 12 April. It was attended by Cameroonian government officials, diplomats, representatives of international and subregional bodies, as well as the private sector and civil society.

Situated in the Golf district, the six-storey regional office building is equipped with 130 workstations, several meeting rooms, and a clinic.

Prime Minister Ngute praised the Bank’s decision to establish the regional hub in Cameroon. “This inauguration demonstrates the strength of the relationship between Central Africa and the African Development Bank. The regional office « will enable the Bank to get closer to the realities of our sub-region and to provide more than in the past a specific support in line with the expectations of our populations, » he said.

The Central Africa regional office is one of six operated by the Bank globally, including one in Asia.

Akin-Olugbade said the regional office will strengthen dialogue with regional economic communities, development partners and national authorities. “It will expedite the implementation of our regional integration initiatives in Central Africa and promote business development with the private sector, a crucial element for inclusive accelerated growth and development,” she stressed.

A historically significant region for the Bank

Many of the countries of Central Africa– Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon—participated in the Bank’s inception discussions in 1963 in Khartoum, Sudan. The Bank’s first approved operation for Cameroon was the $4 million funding of Douala Airport on 22 November 1972.

During the ceremony, Prime Minister Ngute formally handed over the indenture covering the 4,000 square meter land donated by the government for the new regional office building to Akin-Olugbade. In return, the Bank also presented a certificate to Cameroon’s Minister of Economy, Planning and Regional Development, Alassane Alamine Mey, for his contributions to the Youth Employability Support Programme, which offers one-year work placements to young graduates on Bank projects in Cameroon.

In May 2019, the Bank Group approved a Central Africa Regional Integration Strategy Paper (2019-2025) aimed strengthening regional infrastructure and intra-regional trade and building the institutional capacities of regional economic communities.

Currently, the Bank’s Central Africa portfolio comprises 121 operations valued at $6 billion. It has approved roughly 600 operations across the region, totalling $18 billion. Between 2019 and 2024, the Bank approved 20 regional operations, totalling $824.41 million, for Central Africa.

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