AfDB Governors Consider Situation in Abidjan, Tunis

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Washington, 20 April, 2011—The Governors’ Consultative Committee of the African Development Bank met in Washington, DC this week to consider the implications of recent events in Abidjan and Tunis for the Bank’s operations.

The African Development Bank has run its operations from its temporary location in the Tunisian capital since relocating there from its Abidjan headquarters in 2003 due to the Ivorian crisis.

The Governors’ Consultative Committee commended the Bank’s management and staff for maintaining high standards of delivery under difficult and challenging circumstances in Côte d’Ivoire and Tunisia. Both countries have undergone difficult periods—Côte d’Ivoire since its crisis began, and especially over the past four months, following its presidential elections last November; and Tunisia with the revolution in January and its aftermath.

The Committee reaffirmed that the Bank’s headquarters remains Abidjan and it welcomed the recent encouraging and positive developments in Côte d’Ivoire, which it felt would in due course lead to improved security, permitting the Bank to return to its headquarters. It extended its best wishes to the Ivorian people in the long process of reconstruction and national reconciliation and committed to facilitate the process with financial support.

The Committee acknowledged that the Ivorian authorities were making all efforts to stabilize and improve the security situation and merited support from the international community. It noted, nonetheless, that the process of fully re-establishing security would likely take a while before things fully returned to normal.

The governors once again expressed their appreciation to the Tunisian authorities for their continued hospitality. In addition, they agreed that pending the return of the Bank to Abidjan and in order to remove some of the obstacles to optimal operations in Tunis, to recommend that the institution be allowed to make additional investments in Tunis. This will allow for more facilities necessary for staff.

Since relocating to Tunis, the Bank has been reviewing the security situation in Abidjan on a yearly basis to determine when conditions might favour a return to its headquarters. The Governors’ Consultative Committee agreed to recommend the extension of this security review period from a yearly to a triennial basis. It however recommended that the Bank immediately commence rehabilitation of its headquarters building and other real estate developments in Abidjan in preparation for its return, once the conditions are in place. The Committee agreed, however, that the decision of a triennial review could be revisited at any time if the situation at Headquarters improved faster.

The governors strongly commended the Bank’s plan to assist both Tunisia and Côte d’Ivoire in their economic recovery programmes.

The Committee noted these recommendations with a very large majority. It will submit them to the full assembly of all the Bank’s governors when the institution holds its 2011 Annual Meetings in Lisbon this June.