By Josephine Akaerr
The African Development Bank hosted its second virtual business opportunities seminar in 2020 (BOS) between October 13 and 14.
The BOS offers a one-stop shop for individuals and consulting firms, civil contractors, manufacturers, suppliers, and diplomatic commercial attachés from the Bank Group’s regional and non-regional members seeking to provide goods and services to projects or to the Bank, or otherwise partner with it.
During the seminars, participants are informed about the Bank’s strategy for supporting economic growth, its priority areas and rules and procedures for project and corporate procurement.
This month’s edition was held over two days, to allow for participation from different time zones, with the added innovation of thematic breakout sessions replacing the business-to-business (B2B) sessions which took place during physical meetings before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an opening address, a Manager in the Bank’s Resource Mobilization and Partnerships Department, Valerie Dabady welcomed participants, highlighting the opportunities the seminar provides to external partners eager to know more about the Bank’s processes and procedures, as well as to strengthen virtual networks.
“We believe there are opportunities for all of you…The important thing is to make the connections,” Dadaby said.
The Resource Mobilization and Partnerships Department, organizes the BOS events to enable the Bank to grow a pool of high-quality providers to compete for its projects, boosting its own service delivery and achievement of the Bank’s overall development initiatives.
During the presentations, Bank staff laid out five key sectors that offer opportunities for partners and suppliers: climate change; human capital, youth and skills development; infrastructure, cities and urban development; financial sector development; and industrial and trade development.
In one presentation, Bank partner, Clementine Umugwaneza, a project implementation unit coordinator and Director of Planning at the Rwanda Energy Group, spoke on the construction of the Gihira Water Treatment Plants Project, under the Rwanda Sustainable Water & Sanitation Programme.
Vice President of Culligan Rwanda, an international water treatment company, Chris Smith shared his experience working with the Bank on a project to upgrade an existing water treatment plant and build a new one in Rwanda.
The presentations were the opportunity for invaluable first-hand lessons, enriching the experience for participants.
“Thank you for the opportunity. I have a better understanding of the AfDB Group and how it works with its partners to bring about development in Africa,” said an individual consultant from Kenya, Judy Oduori
Since 2017 and until the advent of COVID-19, the Bank held two in-person business opportunity seminars each year – in Abidjan (headquarters) and in a regional member country. Tunisia, South Africa and Kenya have already hosted seminars which have drawn more than 1,500 participants from 55 member countries.
In 2019, the African Development Bank Group supported 172 projects valued at close to US$10 billion.