The African Development Bank (AfDB) is committed to supporting the Eritrean government in the development of its blue economy, industrial zones, financial markets, as well as its agriculture and energy.
AfDB President, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, stated this recently during his visit to Eritrean President, Isaias Afwerki. Adesina said he was impressed by the country’s sense of purpose, direction, commitment, determination to develop, nationalism, patriotism, autonomy and self-sufficiency as well as its talents, skills and innovations.
He said the bank will ensure that the country reaps benefits in the blue economy, particularly through aquaculture, marine resources as well as the fisheries sector.
Adesina said the bank would also help the Eritrean president develop special agro-industrial processing zones, develop infrastructure and food and agricultural businesses to enable him process packaged foods and fruits for export.
Adesina commended the country for its investments in livestock with many dairy farms as well as plantations for fruit growing and coffee production.
He said the bank would also boost horticultural production, particularly flower production for regional and export markets. Adesina further listed other supports of the bank to the country including investments in energy, solar and wind power. He welcomed the 33 million cubic meters of water and the 10,000 hectares that the country wants to irrigate, of which 1,000 hectares have already been achieved.
“I was impressed by the density of the infrastructure. President Isaias Afwerki took me to see an area where they were doing irrigation and instead of doing the usual pivot irrigation, there is one that you can do from the top. Once again, we must recognize that they are innovating themselves. They don’t copy others,” he said.
The ADB boss said the Eritrean dam is being built by local engineers from research institutions, unlike other countries which outsource it to foreign contractors.
He also welcomed the level of talent and skills in Eritrea, pointing out that the tanks to pump water for irrigation and for households are built by students, which he said in other countries would have been carried out by large engineering companies.
Adesina pledged the bank’s support to develop the country’s skills and capabilities to help other countries in Africa, especially in the field of engineering.