Ever since its founding, the African Development Bank has worked with a broad range of partners and implementers in the pursuit of its mission. For these partners and implementers — from engineering contractors to automobile distributors; from development consultancies to non-profit research institutes — the bank’s loans, grants, and non-project financial operations, which are used to drive development in Africa, constitute a lucrative market. However, this “market” is highly structured — something that has both benefits and drawbacks when it comes to doing business in Africa. As Devex learned in conversations with successful AfDB contractors — highlights from which will be published next week — doing business with the bank mitigates some of the risks that firms face on the continent, but also entails more stringent requirements and more complex regulations than typical business-to-government deals.
To better understand this “market” for AfDB development contracts, Devex has analyzed and visualized all of AfDB’s contract awards data from 2000 through 2016. During this time, AfDB awarded over $26 billion dollars in nearly 30,000 contracts for projects across Africa. The data reveals how AfDB contracting has changed over time, allowing us to compare geographical and sectoral allocations of funding, as well as the success of different contractors or groups of contractors over time. Insights like these can be helpful for both long-standing and aspiring AfDB contractors, especially when seeking partners or researching competitors for new opportunities.
In this new series, Devex dives into the data to discover what it can tell us about the past, present, and future of contracting with the AfDB, and speaks to bank officials, contractors and other insiders with insight into the AfDB marketplace.
In this first part of the series, we explain the nature of the data we’ve gathered and analyzed — and walk through the major insights it gives us about the market for AfDB-funded opportunities.