President Kagame officially opens AfDB 2014 Annual Meetings, commends Bank for its development work in Africa

22/05/2014
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Rwanda’s President, Paul Kagame, officially opened the African Development Bank’s Annual Meeting on Thursday, May 22, 2014 in Kigali, commending the Bank for its huge contributions to Africa’s development.

“The African Development Bank, as a global institution, is an essential bridge between Africa and the wider world. It keeps the focus on Africa’s unique economic priorities, yet speaks a language everyone understands,” Kagame said.

According to the Rwandan President, the AfDB is a model of how Africa and the developed world can work together for mutual benefit and with mutual respect.

He also poured encomiums on the Bank’s President, Donald Kaberuka, a Rwandan national, for his excellent performance at the head of the institution, saying he has made Rwanda and Africa proud.

Earlier in his presentation, Kaberuka, whose 10-year tenure expires next year, said that the gap between diagnostics and problem-solving with regards to Africa’s development needed to be resolved.

Kaberuka cited the case of free movement of goods and services as one of the many obstacles to Africa’s development that have remained unresolved.

“Is it really normal that foreigners can circulate more freely in Africa than Africans?” he asked, commending the bold moves initiated by East African authorities on free circulation.

He said opening African borders to its peoples was not just about “our Africanness” but rather “about deepening Africa’s domestic market, which is the indispensable platform for stronger economic growth and prosperity.”

Kaberuka said that the fears about criminals, security threats, and massive waves of migrants associated with free movement were manageable issues. Rwanda, he said, had succeeded in allowing Africans free entry into and exit out of the country without encountering difficulties.

On Africa’s economic performance, he said that although the continent has shown considerable resilience to external shocks such as the 2009 financial crisis, structural problems with some African economies still needed to be tackled.

Beyond mere economic growth, he said, Africa needs transformation to consolidate its achievements in order to minimize its vulnerability to exogenous shocks.

He emphasized the importance of macro-economic discipline and the need to preserve economic reforms.

“Borrow carefully, invest wisely, and build debt management capacity,” Kaberuka advised.
Mauritania’s President and current Chair of the African Union, Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, as well as Presidents Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon attended the meeting along with Vice-President William Ruto of Kenya.

About 3,000 people including ministers, representatives of development finance institutions, researchers, representatives of civil society and journalists, among others, are also attending the May 19-23 meetings being held on the theme: ”The next 50 years: The Africa we want.”