Interview with Mr. Kordjé Bédoumra, Secretary-General of the African Development Bank (AfDB)

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“I can say that things went as planned. The main success indicator is the appreciation expressed by the governors, observers, the media and participants, in general, on the organization of the Annual Meetings in Dakar”-AfDB Secretary-General,  Kordjé Bédoumra

Question: In your view, how did the 2009 Annual Meetings go?

Answer: I can say that things went as planned and there were no major incidents. The main success indicator is the appreciation expressed by the governors, observers, the media and participants in general on the organization of the event. According to testimonies by colleagues who attended several Annual Meetings, Dakar meetings were among the best. We worked closely with the National Organizing Committee. Many people attended all the events and participants appreciated the depth of discussions on the main theme – the impact of the financial crisis on Africa. The presence of heads of state graced the event.  

Question: What are the major recommendations of the Annual Meetings?

Answer: If there is one thing to remember, it is the governor’s decision to start the process for the sixth capital increase, while seeking innovative solutions to increase resources for the poorest countries. The AfDB will be able to mobilize resources in order to help African countries whose resource needs have increased due to the financial crisis. The AfDB responded rapidly to help African countries within the context of the global crisis. On the margins of the Annual Meetings, African Development Fund (ADF) Deputies have also started positive discussions, including on how to increase the ADF resources.

The Governors and the eminent persons expressed strong appreciation for the leadership of President Kaberuka, and renewed their support. They welcomed the new initiatives and orientations that Mr. Kaberuka and the Board of Directors are implementing at the Bank, as well the work completed.

The governors approved Luxemburg’s application for AfDB membership. After Turkey’s admission during the 2008 Annual Meetings in Maputo, Mozambique, this second application for membership in a year is a sign of the interest the international community has in the Bank in particular, and Africa, in general.
There are, for sure, important decisions such as the approval of financial statement and net income allocation. The AfDB’s performance was commended.

The governors have restated their support for the Bank’s medium- and long-term strategy and their priority operations.  There are naturally challenges and issues that the Bank has to continue to deal with such as strengthening decentralization, flexibility in project implementation, results effectiveness and internal capacity building.  

Question: You are currently the AfDB Secretary-General. What does that imply?

Answer: The Bank Group’s Secretary-General is responsible for planning and organizing meetings of the board of governors, the board of directors and their subsidiary organs as well as managing their relations with senior management; coordinating statutory relations among senior management, the boards and member states; supervising the provision of administrative protocol and support services to elected officials, AfDB staff and their family members. Furthermore, the Secretary-General is in charge of the institution’s documents, archives and conference services.

Question: What role does the Secretary-General play in the organization of Annual Meetings?

Answer: First, it will be nice to recall that Annual Meetings comprise meetings of the board of governors of the African Development Bank and the African Development Fund. That’s why they are referred to us as the Annual Meetings of the Bank Group. Each of the seventy-seven (77) member states (79 soon, with the finalization of formalities with Turkey and Luxemburg), is represented on the Bank’s board of governors and each State participant to the Fund which is not a Bank Group member also appoints a governor. The chair of the board of governors is automatically the chairperson of the ADF board of governors. All AfDB and ADF powers are vested in the board of governors.

The AfDB Secretary-General is the secretary of the boards of governors. To this end, he plans and organizes the Annual Meetings. The Annual Meetings are organized in line with the rule and practices approved by the governors. The Secretary-General is in charge of relations with the governors for the invitations, and for agenda and documents approved by the board of directors for submission to the Annual Meetings. The individual prepares the executive report of discussions during the Annual Meetings and keeps a complete file of decisions. Regarding organization and logistics, the Secretary-General chairs the AfDB’s Standing Committee responsible for organizing the Annual Meetings. In addition to services by the General Secretariat the committee comprises all departments and units involved in the organization of the Annual Meetings - administration, computer and telecommunications, translation and interpretation, security, finances, etc.  It is this committee which practically plans and organizes the Annual Meetings in close collaboration with the organizing country.

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