31 August 2017 | Foreign Affairs.
Opening Session of
The 33rd Annual Meeting of the TDB Bank of Board of Governors
31st August 2017
His Excellency Rupiah Banda, Former President of the Republic of Zambia
Your Excellencies, Ministers of Finance of the Eastern and Southern African Region
His Excellency Admassu Tadesse, President and CEO of the Trade and Development Bank
His Excellency Sindinyo Ngwenya, Secretary-General of COMESA
Special Guests of the Trade and Development Bank
Representatives and Delegates of Member States
International Partners of Trade and Development Bank
A very good morning to you all
It is an honor to personally welcome you all to Seychelles on this occasion of the 33rd Board of Governors Meeting of the Trade and Development Bank of Eastern and Southern Africa.
We are very pleased to have the Annual Meeting of TDB take place here in Seychelles this year.
Seychelles has had a long and growing association with TDB which we are very pleased to see rising up rapidly toward the vision of its founders. Listening to Ambassador Gatete and TDB President and CEO, Mr. Tadesse, this morning, I am proud that the story of success continues. Our Bank has come a long way from its humble beginnings. Today, it is a world class development financial institution with 21 member States, facilitating trade and economic development in the region.
The bank owes its beginnings to the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, COMESA. COMESA, as you all probably know, is one of the eight Regional Economic Communities recognized by the African Union. The promise of regional trade is as relevant today as it was when the AU’s Abuja Treaty of 1991 was signed. Facilitating trade between ourselves through lower tariffs carries an estimated boon of 30% expansion according to some estimates, and allow us all better access to the production of higher value-added goods.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Unlocking the potential of regional trade requires more than just tariff elimination. Improved connectivity between ourselves – to the level we afford connectivity to the rest of the world for example – will remove distortion between our potential clients and open our eyes to our neighbours.
TDB has the potential to assist us with financing for infrastructure to improve communications between members states, and WITHIN member states.
So far, such projects have proved both developmental AND viable – growing the balance sheet of the bank to more than USD 5 billion. So attractive has been the performance, that we have seen several African pension funds and African insurance companies buy into the bank, including our own Pension Fund here in Seychelles. The value of these investments have gone up by some 60% since the pension funds made their investment about 3 years ago.
This is heartening because it shows that the region is really beginning to harness and reward Africa’s own capital.
The strong reforms, institution building and drive for excellence that has been underway for several years at TDB has undoubtedly transformed our institution for the better. It is not surprising therefore that our Bank has been topping the charts of the African development banking industry and gaining widespread recognition as a leading financial institution in our region. We are proud of our Bank, and salute the TDB team for its achievements, which includes mobilizing unprecedented volumes of long, medium and short term funding. All these projects and developments help improve the lives of our people – the ultimate aim.
These types of success stories will help our populations see that collectively, we can achieve great things. We have so much wealth amongst ourselves that can be tapped into if we dedicate more time, effort and resources to working together. We need more institutions that give confidence and keep Africa’s capital in Africa to finance our trade, our infrastructure, our industry, our agriculture, our development – all towards serving the interest of our citizens. We just need to have trust in the institution we have created.
In Seychelles, the two projects that have benefited from TDB financing – Eden Island and Ephelia Resort – have ended up creating numerous jobs both directly and indirectly, and contribute significantly to tax receipts to help the Government implement our programs.
We are not alone as beneficiaries. Other Member States have also been able to use TDB financing for their development through trade, infrastructure, agribusiness and industrial development projects.
Like many in the region, Seychelles believes in the promise of regional integration. Together we need to create a more competitive and attractive economic landscape for investment and job creation. Regional financial institutions are important in this context, as they can pool limited human and financial resources, create strong capabilities and build the confidence of other international investors and financiers. They reinforce the values of unity and people-centred development, essential for our continent’s economic and political revival.
This is why as Member States and stakeholders, we need to ensure that our regional financial institutions are supported as they play an increasingly greater role in our drive towards Africa’s bold new Vision 2063. The future of Africa is up to Africans.
As I mentioned before, ultimately, it is about creating an environment which leads to an improvement in the lives of all our citizens.
Seychelles will continue to support and work closely with TDB, and give it every consideration, alongside our fellow member states and investors, over the next 5 year corporate plan, which will be tabled for adoption in the meetings today.
I wish you fruitful deliberations at today’s 33rd Board of Governor’s meeting.