I had the great pleasure of representing the Partnership for Transparency Fund (PTF) at the African Development Bank’s (AfDB’s) Annual meetings on from May 25 – 30, 2015 in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire. The following is a brief reflection on the week of intense activities to illustrate some important milestones.
First, the AfDB has come a long way in the past decade. This reflects, to a considerable extent, the changing contexts of its member states. On the socio-economic outlook, the African continent demonstrated resilience despite the shock on the global scene in 2014. Twenty-five African countries posted growth rates of above 5%; there were wide disparities between regions with East and West Africa leading the pack. Africa’s share of global economy is likely to increase—some countries, e.g., Nigeria (USD 549 billion), have re-based their economies to ensure that structural changes in the economy are taken into account. Continentally, diaspora remittances (USD 67 billion) have emerged as the leading source of external financing versus overseas development assistance (USD 55 billion) and foreign direct investment (USD 60 billion).
Second, the AfDB doubled its operations in the past decade (USD 6.9 billion in 2014 versus USD 3.3 billion in 2005). The Bank contributed to bridging the infrastructure gap with USD 28 billion lending in this sector between 2005-2014. A new window, the Africa50, has been created as part of the effort to build the Africa of the 21st Century. There are now 20 offshoots and homegrown partners including the African Legal Support Facility (ALSF) and the Africa50.
Third, the AfDB remains AAA-rated institution with strong support from its shareholders as evident in the tripling of its 6th General Capital to USD100 billion. Recently, Turkey, Luxembourg and South Sudan joined as new members. The Bank’s field presence has increased to 38 countries, part of a decentralization program to improve the Bank’s visibility and franchise value to the client.
Fourth, regarding the election of the Bank’s President, 8 candidates competed and the Board of Governors (54 regional member countries, 26 non-regional) voted in what was indeed a most transparent process. One candidate was eliminated after the first round of voting. The outcomes of successive rounds of voting were tweeted round the world. And then, there was one: Dr. Adesina, who assumes office on September 1, 2015. Mr. Kaberuka noted: “To my incoming successor, my very best wishes. Ten years goes by very quickly. It is a complex and merciless job, but very exciting. It is, in fact, not a job – but a mission.”
Click here to view a video on the best of the Annual Meetings.