At the invitation of African Development Bank Group President Akinwumi Adesina, consultations have been held between the Bank’s Governors from West Africa and Central Africa and Senior Bank Management in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. They are the first consultations of their kind since the creation of the Bank in 1963.
Adesina told Governors, “The Annual Meetings of the Bank have hitherto been the only setting for group dialogue between you, Governors, and the Management of the Bank. We intend for this type of consultation to be an annual event that provides another opportunity to listen to you, to seek your advice and discuss important developments and matters important to the work of the Bank and Africa’s development.”
Following the meetings, Governors and Senior Management agreed to accelerate the implementation of the Bank’s High 5 strategic priorities to “Light up and power Africa”, “Feed Africa”, “Industrialize Africa”, “Integrate Africa” and “Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa”.
In the current context of considerable reductions in official development assistance, the Governors of West and Central Africa called for increased capital mobilisation to allow the African Development Bank, the continent’s premier development finance institution, to meet its mandates for Africa.
According to an independent study by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the High 5s would enable Africa to achieve 90 per cent of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 90 per cent of Agenda 2063, set by the African Union.
According to Hassatou Diop N’Sele, the Bank Group’s Treasurer and Acting Vice-President, Finance, “The African Development Bank is financially strong. We know that our continent needs substantial resources to meet its development goals. Without Africa, the sustainable development goals will not be achieved globally.”
The Governors reiterated the need for a general capital increase for the African Development Bank, recalling that the sixth capital increase , ratified in 2010, made it possible for the Bank to take the volume of loans to unprecedented levels. Aid to countries receiving African Development Fund financing has increased seventeen-fold.
“At the height of the crisis that shook our economy due to the fall in oil prices, the African Development Bank provided us with substantial budget support, while other partners were very reluctant,” said Nigerian Finance Minister Kemi Adeosun. “We need a strong Bank capable of fulfilling its commitments to assist us in mobilizing our internal resources.”
“We are fully behind the Bank’s general capital increase,” said Régis Immongault, the Minister of Economy and Finance and African Development Bank Governor for Gabon. “We are convinced that this will provide the Bank with the resources it needs to support us even more in our development efforts than it has up to now. We are faced with the new challenges of population growth, climate change and security threats.”
The Guinean Minister of Development, Mama Kanny Diallo emphasized the urgency of providing the Bank with sufficient resources to continuing providing development leadership in Africa.
“The African Development Bank is the premier bank on the ground. It has helped a country like mine engage in policies to improve governance and mobilize internal resources. It has also helped us renegotiate mining contracts that are in our best interests and to explore innovative solutions,” said the Minister.
Kanny Diallo went on to say, “Looking beyond the case of Guinea alone, a general capital increase is about giving the Bank the means to keep the young people of the continent here. The destiny of our young people is not to go and die at sea or crossing the desert.”
In his closing remarks, Adesina said, “We are very happy with the quality of our dialogue. The very fact that you have made the journey is testimony to the importance you attach to what we are doing together in the service of Africa. In light of the quality of the outcomes we achieved and the open and sincere nature of our discussions, we have decided that from now on we will include these regional consultations in our annual programming.”
Consultations on African development challenges and economic prospects, and the reform agenda for the African Development Bank will also take place between Senior Management and Governors from East, North and Southern Africa.