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African Development Bank postpones investment forum due to Omicron variant

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Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group, attends a meeting of the 2020 African Economic Outlook report in Abidjan, Ivory Coast January 30, 2020. REUTERS/Luc Gnago

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ABIDJAN, Nov 29 (Reuters) - The African Development Bank (AfDB) has postponed to an unspecified date its planned Dec. 1-3 investment forum in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, due to health concerns and travel restrictions over the Omicron coronavirus variant, the bank's president said on Monday.

"We were looking forward to attracting more foreign direct investments in Africa, but in life man proposes and God disposes," AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina said during a news conference in Abidjan.

Several heads of state including from South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Tanzania, Rwanda and Mozambique and a delegation from the United States that included investors representing more than $1.6 trillion in assets under management, were expected to attend the forum.

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The AfDB said the forum had 118 deals in its pipeline from all eight founding members, with an investment value of over $110 billion.

Adesina said conversations around the funding of projects would continue behind the scene.

"The emergence of the Omicron variant has changed everything. Travel has been cancelled, travel restrictions have been placed here and there. The logistics of travel is very difficult. Delegations that wanted to travel, can't make it," Adesina said.

"It is very important that we put safety first, it is for that reason that with a lot of regrets ... we have decided to postpone the Africa Investment Forum," he said.

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Reporting by Ange Aboa; Writing by Bate Felix; Editing by Alison Williams and Paul Simao

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