Africa worries it still footnote despite G20 pledge

African Development Bank president Donald Kaberuka, speaking on the periphery of a conference, said despite the decision at the G20 summit in Pittsburgh, low-income countries may still be sidelined.

“One of the most important successes of Pittsburgh is that that the G20 is the most qualified forum to deal with global issues,” Kaberuka said.

“The way it is now structured...the low-income countries’ priorities are still an appendix, a footnote,” he added.

The AfDB president had made a plea to the G20 leaders earlier this week not to remove the stimulus packages too soon as the green shoots of recovery were very short.

Many African economies have boomed in the past decade as economic reforms combined with rising demand for natural resources created ideal conditions for growth.

The global financial crisis hit the continent hard, however, once demand for commodities and energy started to dry up.

Annual economic growth is expected to be in the 2.8-percent range, less than half the rate forecast before the crisis began.

This week Kaberuka said the AfDB was seeking a capital increase to $96 billion from its current $32 billion.

It has raised its borrowing program in international capital markets to nearly $10 billion for 2009, and had already completed $6 billion, compared with less than $2 billion in 2008, in order to provide more funds for disbursement.

The AfDB priced a $1 billion global bond on Thursday and Kaberuka said more bond issues would follow.

“There is still a lot of appetite for AfDB paper,” Kaberuka said. Without giving more detail, he said he would use this window to issue more bonds.

Editing by Michael Roddy