AfDB Annual Meetings 2014: Governors to Explore Bank’s role in Africa’s Transformation Agenda

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The role of the Africa Development Bank Group (AfDB) in the construction of a new Africa will be the focus of the “Governors Dialogue” and a core issue on the agenda of the 2014 Annual Meetings of the Bank Group which kicks off on Monday, May 19 in Kigali, Rwanda.

Under the theme, “The next 50 Years: the Africa we want,” the Governors, usually Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors from the Bank Group’s 78 member countries, will explore ways and means for realization Africa’s vision of “an integrated, people-centered, prosperous Africa, at peace with itself.”

Against the backdrop of mixed signals emitted by “Africa Rising”, characterized by robust annual GDP outcomes undermined by steadily falling GDP per capita and rising poverty levels in many Africa countries, the Dialogue will draw from multiple corporate and continental blueprints to envision the social and economic transformation architecture for the continent in the next half century.

Topmost among these is the African Union’s highly commendable “Agenda 2063”, advertised as “A global strategy to optimize the use of Africa’s resources for the benefits of all Africans.”

The agenda relates to how Africa must do things differently, and dare to make a paradigm shift or culture change that would gradually lead to “an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa, driven by its own citizens and representing a dynamic force in the global arena.”

Shorn of the usual promises of a future “Pax-Africana-Eldorado”, the Agenda calls on Africans and their partners to draw lessons from the past, build on the progress now underway and strategically exploit every available opportunity in the immediate and medium term, so as to ensure positive socioeconomic transformation within the next 50 years.

It emphasises the need to rekindle the passion for Pan-Africanism, a sense of unity, self-reliance, integration and solidarity that were the hallmarks of the continent’s past achievements.

For its part, the AfDB’s Strategy 2013-2022 provides a similar medium-to-long-term road map for Africa’s transformation based on achieving shared economic growth that promotes sustainable environmental protection activities. This strong and inclusive growth will be achieved via five main channels – infrastructure development, regional economic integration, private sector development, governance and accountability as well as skills and technology. While working on these, the Bank will also pay special attention to fragile states, agriculture and food security as well as gender issues that are germane to lasting socio-economic progress.

In effect, these are drivers of change, which, if properly executed, can enable Africa grow economies of scale and secure a niche market in the global economy through value addition and sustainable franchising in the products and services domains.  

The Board of Governors, which represents the Bank’s highest decision-making body, will reflect on these issues with a view to framing wider debate on the issues as well as help in identifying areas where the institution has the best competitive advantage to make a positive impact on the continent’s transformation.

A concept note prepared for the Dialogue highlights four critical and interrelated issues that must be addressed to bring sustainable change that meets the aspirations of majority of Africans and their partners. These are: strategic policy leadership, regional integration, job creation, as well as issues related to conflict and fragility.