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Welcoming Remarks at the official opening of the African Development Bank Group Annual Meetings by Honourable Alexander B. Chikwanda Minister of Finance and Chairperson of the Board of Governors

On behalf of His Excellency Mr. Edgar C. Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia and the Government of the Republic of Zambia, I would like to extend to you a warm welcome to Zambia and to the annual meetings of the African Development Bank. We are privileged as a country to chair and host these meetings having last done so in 1973.

I also would like to thank Dr. Adesina for the leadership and collaboration in ensuring that these meetings are a success. I am aware that this is your first annual meetings that you are conducting in your new role as President of the Bank. With what we have seen, your passion and vision for achievement and delivery will surely bring a new ray of reform in the bank and consequently the continent through better targeting.

Excellences, distinguished ladies and gentlemen,

This year’s annual meetings of the African Development Bank are being held under difficult times for most of the member states economies. Since the last meeting, our economies have been subjected to sharp declines in commodity prices particularly oil and metals which has inevitably entailed declining revenues. Further, weather variation in the form of drought and floods has ravaged the African Region inducing electricity generation slumps and food deficits that are afflicting the poorest of our citizens.

As a result, economies are under severe strain as they have to sustain wider fiscal and external sector deficits to deal with these developments. Further, while economic growth has weakened with IMF estimating growth for the region at 3.5 percent for 2015, the lowest level in some 15 years. Furthermore, development assistance from traditional donors has slumped on account of difficulties in donor countries’ economies while access to capital flows in the global economy has tightened due to investor risk aversion thus making it increasingly difficult for most of our countries to tackle the current challenges.