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AfDB’s first virtual Business opportunity seminar draws about 300 global partners and suppliers

By Our Reporter

The African Development Bank (AfDB) hosted the first of its twice-yearly business opportunity seminars (BOS) on April 28, 2020 to provide information to potential partners and contractors on its strategic priorities and procurement procedures, and to strengthen ties to the private sector in member countries. 

According to the media statement, the seminar, held virtually as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, offered a one-stop shop for individual and consulting firms, civil contractors, manufacturers, suppliers, and diplomatic commercial attachés from the Bank Group’s regional and non-regional members that are seeking to provide goods and services to the institution or otherwise partner with it.

The e-BOS, organised by the Resource Mobilisation and Partnerships Department (FIRM), enables AfDB, Africa’s primary development finance institution, to grow the pool of high-quality providers that compete for its projects. Tapping into this pool in turn boosts its own service delivery and achievement of its development initiatives.

Participants included NEC Corporation and Sumitomo Corporation (Japan); Export Import Bank of India (India); Satellite firm Türksat and Demes Kablo (Turkey); Korea Overseas Infrastructure and Urban Development Corp (Korea); Water treatment firm Ion Exchange Safic (South Africa), ECG Engineering Consultants Group (Egypt); and consulting firm WSP (France), to name a few of the 290 entities that took part.

 “Thank you very much for this informative webinar held by an excellent moderator Ms. Valerie Dabady and brilliant panelists. I have learnt a lot and I hope to have the opportunity to attend many more and to identify business opportunities for Japanese companies in West Africa,” said Aissatou Ndiaye, a representative of the Japanese embassy in Senegal.

The Bank’s Director of Resource Mobilization and Partnerships, Désiré Vencatachellum, made opening remarks, and Bank staff outlined how the Bank’s strategic focus, as outlined by the so-called High 5 priorities, shape its procurement and contracting needs.

In presentations, Bank staff laid out six key sectors that offer opportunities for partners and suppliers: Agricultural Finance and Rural Development; Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency, Human Capital, Youth and Skills Development; Infrastructure, Cities and Urban Development, Financial Sector Development; and Industrial and Trade Development. 

The seminar also enabled participants to contribute to the discussion around partnering and contracting with the Bank. Moulay Lahcen Ennahli, Senior Vice President, West Africa, OCP Africa, provided insights into his company’s experience of working with the Bank. Participants also posed questions to Bank staff that reflected concerns about how the coronavirus pandemic might influence the institution’s strategic direction, tender processes and procurement pipeline. 

Since 2017, the Bank has held two business opportunity seminars each year, one in the Bank’s Abidjan headquarters and one in a regional member country. Tunisia, South Africa and Kenya have already hosted seminars which have drawn a total of 1,363 participants from 55 member countries, with a 60:40 regional to non-regional ratio through the end of 2019.

Beginning March 18, the Bank has held all meetings virtually as it seeks to continue delivering on its mission despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

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