First Steps of Bank's Return to Abidjan

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  • An improved socio-economic setting
  • A commitment of US $1 billion for Côte d’Ivoire
  • Homage to ECOWAS for ongoing peace initiatives

The African Development Bank Group, on Wednesday, February 27, 2013, held the first meeting of its Board of Directors in Abidjan since the Bank’s relocation to Tunisia in 2003, signalling the first steps of the Bank’s return to Côte d’Ivoire, AfDB President Donald Kaberuka said at the meeting’s opening.

In his statement, President Kaberuka said, “It is important for us to come home and today we are ready to do everything possible to make this happen.” Preparations for the Bank’s return were well underway, as was observed by the Bank’s Executive Directors and members of Senior Management, who visited the sites of the offices under reconstruction. 

The Bank’s Executive Director for the United States, Walter Jones, said he was “encouraged by the will and enthusiasm of the stakeholders to move things forward. I hope the reconstruction will not face delays and everything will be in place for our return. People are motivated. We are all looking forward to the return of the institution. Our visit to the sites left me with a good impression.” The Dean of the Executive Directors, Mohamed Mahroug, for his part, called on “businesses, the Bank and the Government to abide by the prescribed deadlines. If everyone gets to work, there is no reason for things not to move forward.”

The “first steps” for the return of the Bank took place in an improved socio-political and economic setting, Ivorian Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan said when he met with the members of the Board of Directors on Tuesday, February 26. 

These developments were acknowleged by President Kaberuka in his address to members of the Board of Directors: “Most people attach a high price to peace and stability and I think I can safely say that banks as a whole prefer stability. Which is why I would like to express our gratitude to President [Alassane] Ouattara for his efforts to bring stability back to Côte d’Ivoire. We are also grateful to President Ouattara for the personal efforts undertaken to bring the Bank home.”

Strengthening AfDB-Côte d’Ivoire Cooperation

The Board of Director’s meeting being held in Abidjan is a strong symbol both for the AfDB and the Ivoirian Government. It illustrates not only the first concrete steps for the return of the institution to its headquarters, but is also an occasion to step up cooperation, Prime Minister Duncan and Bank officials noted. 

Alongside the official discussions, meetings were held with representatives of civil society and the private sector. The goal of these exchanges was to broaden consultations and gather the views and opinions of development stakeholders to ensure a greater impact of AfDB interventions. 

Looking forward, President Kaberuka underscored the Bank’s commitment to accompany the country in its economic recovery process. In this regard, the AfDB will make a contribution of US $1 billion out of the US $8.75 billion pledged by donors at the last meeting of the Consultative Group held in Paris. The signs of recovery are undeniable, said Kaberuka: “The city shows the signs of a ‘building boom’ and we are deeply grateful for all these efforts.”

Regional integration and the issue of fragility are two major pillars in the action plan of the AfDB in its regional member countries, and President Kaberuka made reference to the Summit of Heads of States of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) being held on the same day in Yamoussoukro on the Malian crisis. Kaberuka thanked ECOWAS for its initiatives for peace and stability in the sub-region. “Peace in West Africa is crucial for the Bank and for the people who live and work in this region,” he said.

On Wedneday in Abidjan, the Board of Directors approved a US $300-million loan for Nigeria for the Country Strategy Paper (CSP). The loan will be used to promote inclusive growth through strengthening road transport sector governance and furthering transparency and accountability in public finance management. The approved CSP proposes a strategy aimed at backing the efforts of the Nigerian Government during the 2013-2017 period. The document is built on two important pillars: the establishment of a solid political framework, and investment in essential infrastructure for the promotion of development and the economy.