Côte d’Ivoire honours Heads of State at AfDB 50th Anniversary dinner

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On Tuesday, May 26, 2015, the President of the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, Alassane Ouattara, hosted a reception in honour of his guests in attendance for the African Development Bank’s Annual Meetings and to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the institution. The dinner was attended by the Heads of State and Government at the AfDB Meetings in Abidjan, the Bank's President, Donald Kaberuka; the President of the African Union Commission, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma; the Mozambican humanitarian and widow of Nelson Mandela, Graça Machel; Ministers from the various delegations; the Bank's governors, and numerous other guests including members of the diplomatic corps. Guests were treated to a performance by the National Ballet of Côte d'Ivoire.

The dinner saw toasts by Alassane Ouattara and Donald Kaberuka. Babacar Ndiaye, from Senegal, and Kwame Donkor Fordwor, from Ghana, both former Presidents of the Bank, also attended the reception.

In his speech, Kaberuka spoke of the Bank's 50 years – an age that could not be more symbolic. For him, it is a time to look back at the experiences of the past to better guide the future. Paying tribute to the AfDB's founders, he declared: "We have been loyal to their ideas". The early days of the institution were modest, he recalled, with only a dozen or so employees. "Many people played an important role in the operations of the AfDB and I want to pay tribute to the states, partners, my honoured predecessors, the loyal employees, and finally those who are no longer with us," he continued.

He stressed that the Bank has remained a dynamic force in a continent that is undergoing great changes. Furthermore, the AfDB's circle of friends has not stopped growing over the years, said Kaberuka, who expressed a desire to see the Bank's financial health preserved. He concluded by saying that, faced with new challenges, the AfDB must continue to be strengthened as a source of hope for the future of countless African citizens.

The Ivorian President, Alassane Ouattara, after welcoming his guests, said that he was delighted to host the Bank’s Annual Meetings, the first large-scale meeting since the AfDB's return to its original headquarters in Abidjan after 11 years in Tunis. The Bank’s return was in line with the road map decided by the Board of Governors, Ouattara said. He then thanked partners who, like the AfDB, had contributed to the social and economic progress of African countries.