Argentina’s Under-Secretary for Foreign Policy, Claudio Rozencwaig, has expressed keen interest to deepen its existing partnership with Nigeria and African Development Bank (AfDB).
The AfDB in a statement on its website said the country also sought to explore opportunities that would benefit Argentineans and African businesses, notably in agriculture and pharmaceuticals.
The Under-Secretary made the appeal when he visitec the Bank’s Executive Director for Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Japan and Saudi Arabia, Takaaki Nomoto and senior Bank executives in Abidjan.
He was accompanied by Argentina’s ambassador to Nigeria, Alejandro Herrero.
According to Rozencwaig, Argentina has much to offer in the agriculture sector, particularly in livestock production, machinery and techniques for minimising post-harvest losses.
“We also have capability in satellite imaging for research and transport, as well as animal pharmaceuticals.
“The government has experience of participating in ‘triangular cooperation’ agreements with donors, including the Japan International Cooperation Agency and the Islamic Development Bank.
“Under these arrangements, Argentina provided technical assistance and expertise. We also need to learn more about the Bank’s procurement processes,” Rozencwaig said.
The Bank’s Vice-President for Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialisation, Solomon Quaynor, said that Argentina’s agricultural expertise was of particular interest to the Bank.
Quaynor stressed the importance of the agriculture sector to the AfDB’s strategic plans, including its Feed Africa High-5 priority.
“Synergies between the Bank’s regional member countries and the South American country extended beyond trade.
“For example, post-harvest losses are as much as 40 per cent in some African countries, an issue the Bank is working to overcome,” Quaynor said.
The vice-president also cited Botswana as an African country that might welcome partnerships with Argentinean beef producers.
Quaynor said the Africa Investment Forum Market Days, scheduled for Nov. 8 to Nov. 10 represented a great entry point for Argentinean companies looking to invest in Africa.
Damian Ihedioha, the Division Manager for Agribusiness, said the Food and Agriculture Delivery Compacts produced during the Dakar Food Summit were another potential entry point for Argentinean businesses.
Ihedioha said the compacts would attract investment in raising agricultural productivity and building out climate smart agricultural systems along the food value chain.
He attributed aquaculture and the blue economy as another area of convergence.
The AfDB Acting Director for Agricultural Finance, Richard Ofori-Mante said the Bank was working to support development of Special Agro-industrial Processing Zones.
Ofori-Mante said these need would require agricultural machinery, adding that satellite technology offered a way to assess the quality of soil to boost productivity.
Another avenue for partnership and engagement that came up in the conversation was the Bank’s South-south cooperation Trust fund.
It was established under Brazil to support African countries in mobilising and taking advantage of development solutions and technical expertise available in the South.
Discussions also covered attracting more Argentinean professionals to the AfDB, potentially through its Young Professionals programme.
Argentina became a member of the AfDB Fund in 1979 and the AfDB in 1985.
The country pledged 15 million dollars to the ADF’s 12th replenishment.
Other topics discussed included the Bank’s Business Opportunity Seminars, held twice yearly, as a means to learn more about AfDB procurement processes. The next seminar is scheduled for October 2023.
The visit took place as Argentina is seeking to expand its footprint across Africa.
The country has opened embassies in Mozambique and Angola in recent years and is mulling re-opening an embassy in Côte d’Ivoire. (NAN)