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African Development Bank’s First Virtual Business Opportunities Seminar Of 2021, Draws 450 Global Partners And Suppliers

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By Josephine Akaerr, Special Correspondent

The African Development Bank (AfDB) hosted its first virtual business opportunities seminar (BOS) of 2021 on 6 and 7 April.

The BOS seminars offer a one-stop shop for companies, civil contractors, manufacturers, consultants, and suppliers from the Bank Group’s regional and non-regional members seeking to provide goods and services to projects or to the Bank.

Held virtually as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, delegates were informed about the Bank’s strategy for supporting economic growth, its priority areas, rules and procedures for project and corporate procurement, and ongoing public and private sector operations.

During the sessions staff discussed the sectors that offer opportunities for partners and suppliers: climate change; infrastructure, cities and urban development; industries and trade; finance and SMEs; agriculture; health, human capital, youth, and skills development.

“The Bank’s 2021 Business Opportunities Seminar was an impressive learning experience and an open door to interact virtually with different experts and gain insights into best practices and directions for conducting effective business approaches within the Bank,” said Senior Business Development Specialist at Catalonia Trade and Investment Promotion Agency, David Andrés Rojas Mejía.

Private sector partners contributed richly to the discussion, sharing their experience around partnering and contracting with the Bank. They included country director of TechnoServe Inc., Kwame Boate (Ghana) and Cletus Kayenwee of the Rural Enterprises Programme at the Ghanaian Ministry of Trade, who shared their experience contracting with the Bank on Ghana’s “One District One Factory” Enable Youth Programme. The program aims to build the entrepreneurial capacity of graduate youth. Participants also heard from Deputy General Director of TEKCIM, Abdelillah Zenjari. He shared his experience partnering and obtaining a loan of €45 million(US$53,566,650.00) to build a cement factory with a capacity of 1.4 million tons in the region of d’El Jadida in Morocco.

Over the years, the seminars have hosted approximately 2,500 delegates from 55 countries, with an average of 75 per cent of delegates from non-regional member countries and 90 per cent from the private sector.

For the Bank, the seminars increase interest in Bank-financed projects and enhance competition, thereby promoting higher-quality offers that deliver optimal value for money for its regional member countries.

“The sessions have also helped me to understand how to find opportunities for my firm by being better able to navigate your procurement framework and processes,” said Business Development Manager at Beale &Co, a participant, Dede Watkin.

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