AFD

In line with Ethiopia’s priorities

 

Capital Ethiopia Interviews Christian Yoka, Regional Director of the  AFD

November 12, 2013

The French Development Agency known as the Agence Française de  Developement (AFD) is involved in various sectors in Africa. It has  been operating in Ethiopia for almost 20 years and has financed projects  ranging from education to health, agriculture and energy. Capital’s Eskedar Kifle sat down with Christian Yoka, Regional Director of the  AFD to talk about the Agency’s past, ongoing and future projects. 

Excerpts:

Capital: Please tell us about your agency, the French Development Agency, its role, its mission? 

Christian Yoka: AFD is a financial institution. It is the main implementing body for  the French official development assistance policy towards developing  countries. It provides funding as well as technical assistance to  countries, and it can be for the government or it could be for private  enterprises, it can also be NGOs or even the banking sector. Our  main mission is to really help countries to develop themselves. For that  we have a wide range of financial tools; it could be a grant, it could  be loans or it could be direct investment. We are acting in different  sectors: education, health, infrastructure, energy and also agriculture  among others. We also work to help develop the private sector, and we  are involved in water and sanitation programs. In 2012, AFD’s total  disbursed loans were 7 billion Euros, of which 2 billion was just for  Africa, where our main focus is.

Capital: You are involved in different sectors, but what kind of projects do you tend to focus on, especially in Ethiopia?

Yoka: In Ethiopia, we have been active here since 1993, so we are not  completely new. The projects we finance are projects that are in line  with the Government’s priority. The Growth and Transformation Plan  focuses a lot on infrastructure, especially energy. So, energy is one of  our main activities in Ethiopia. For instance, we have financed a major  project in Ashegoda in the north part of the country near Mekele, a  wind farm that can produce 120 Mega Watts. It was financed with 45  million Euros. We also are currently working with Ethiopian Electric  and Power Corporation (EEPCo) to improve the transmission lines of the  company; mainly the line between Akaki and Mojo, which is a very  critical corridor for the country. We are also in the process of  finalizing a 50 million Euro loan to upgrade the complete network of  EEPCo. Last but not least, as you know the Government is really  focused on having a mix of sources of energy. With that regard, we are  currently working (with the government) to finance a geothermal project  in Tendaho with an overall finance of 21 million Euros. Energy is a key  sector for us as it is in line with the Government’s priority. Besides  this, we have also a strong partnership with Ethiopian Airlines. As you  know, the Government wants to increase the level of exports and  Ethiopian Airlines plays a key role in this. So we financed ET for two  loans with a total amount of 80 million Euros. One is to help Ethiopian  Airlines to increase its cargo capacity. Currently, I think it has a  180,000 metric ton capacity, the project is to help increase that number  to 600,000 metric ton capacity, which is really important because it  will have a direct impact on the export capacity of the country, in  terms of fruits and vegetables, meat, flowers etc… The other loan to  ET is to finance their training center. Now ET has one of the most well  performing training centers. There are many African companies that are  sending their pilots to be trained here in Ethiopia. The training center  is almost done. We have a close relationship with the Addis Ababa  City Administration. We are working on a project with the City involving  the construction of new abattoir. The existing one is quite old. We are  working to help improve the old abattoir in terms of up to date  technology as well as working to finance the construction of new  abattoirs. This will be done with a 40 million Euros loan. We are also  working in the transport sector with the City with the finance of 40  million Euros. The studies are ongoing and we hope to finance this  project by the end of 2014 or beginning of 2015. The other sector we  are strongly involved in is water. We are currently in the process of  financing the extension of the Legedadi water reservoir; we are  co-financing it with the World Bank. We also work on increasing the  water network of small towns. These are the sectors and the projects we are involved in. We do this with the object of transferring technologies and know how.

Capital: You mentioned some projects you are involved in with EEPCO, can you tell us more about that?

Yoka: As I was saying, the transmission line of electricity is really  critical for a country. A lot is being done to produce more electricity,  but at the same time we need to be able to deliver that electricity to  the public. With this regard, we need to invest more in transmission  lines. It is a loan agreement that will be signed with the government  and it will be passed to EEPCo. We hope to finish the process by the end  of 2014.

Capital: What would you say are the challenges you face while operating in Ethiopia? Yoka: The major challenges we have been facing is to have a proper financial  tool. Until 2012, we were unable to give loans to the Government; we had  to use other financial tools like grants. That was a major constraint  for us while working in Ethiopia. Our actions were limited because of  that, but it has all changed now. Capital: What are the biggest projects you are involved with in other Africa countries?

Yoka: We have been involved in so many projects in Africa. Like I said we  have committed two billion Euros to Africa.  We are financing major  projects in Africa including in similar sectors as we are working on in  Ethiopia. For instance, the Bujagan project in Kenya. We also finance  social housing in South Africa. There are many more…

Capital: You  stated that you tend to finance projects that are in line with the  government’s development priorities. Is that how you operate or does AFD  have its own interests as well?

Yoka: I can’t really say we have  our own priority. Of course we have a competitive advantage when it  comes to some sectors; there are sectors where we think we are  particularly strong, one of these is the energy sector. Basically what  we are trying to do, and this is important for a donor, is that not to  come to a country with our own priority.  The most important thing is to  focus on what the country needs. We have to look at the country’s  priorities and inside these priorities, there are different sectors. We  try to identify where we can work within those sectors. We try to focus  on projects that will have a major impact.

Capital: Maybe like you  stated, you do not have priorities of your own. But, do you think there  are sectors that have not been prioritized but should have been?

Yoka: That  could be possible but as far as we are concerned, I have to say that so  far, all the sectors we are involved in are those that are and should  be prioritized. But to answer your question, for instance here in  Ethiopia, the Government says that growth will come through public  investment, so you have major public investments. We work with the  private sector a lot in many countries, but it is not something we do a  lot here because it is not really a priority, if you look at the way  things are done. The private sector is booming here and I am sure we  will work in that area, and we are actually trying.

Sourced here:   http://www.capitalethiopia.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=3745:in-line-with-ethiopias-priorities&catid=37:interview&Itemid=61

 

AFD at work in Ethiopia:  http://www.afd.fr/lang/en/home/pays/afrique/geo-afr/ethiopie/afd-ethiopie

 

 

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