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Babacar Ndiaye, 5th elected President of African Development Bank 1985-1995
Babacar Ndiaye was born in 1936 in Conakry, son of a Senegalese father and a Guinean mother.
He spent his childhood and school years in Guinea, before moving to France to pursue higher education. He went to Toulouse, where he enrolled in the Graduate School of Business.
Babacar Ndiaye then attended Sciences Po in Paris, the prestigious institute for political studies, and later obtained a chartered accountancy degree from the Centre for Financial and Banking studies at the Central Fund for Economic Cooperation (predecessor of the AFD, the French Development Agency).
Henceforth, he joined the ranks of young African elites of that time, who bore the seal of excellence after earning academic laurels from top universities in France. During this time, African countries were breaking free of the colonial yoke one by one.
In 1965, Babacar Ndiaye returned to Africa and was recruited by the African Development Bank, which had come into being the previous year. He was among the first cohort of young professionals recruited by the Bank, which only had ten or so members of staff when it was created.
Over the years, Babacar Ndiaye gradually climbed the career ladder: he was appointed Director of Finance and later Vice-President in charge of Finance before being elected 5th President of the institution in May 1985. Above all, he was the first – and remains to this day the only – employee of the Bank to attain the highest position in the institution....
Babacar Ndiaye put African Development Bank on the international map. Under his leadership, the Bank earned its first triple ‘A’ rating from two financial ratings agencies, Fitch and Moody’s, which earned it ‟Bank of the Year”, award by the International Finance Review. The triple ‘A’ was confirmed two years later by a third global rating agency, Standard & Poor’s.
It was also under his auspices that the Bank opened its capital to non-African countries in 1987. The operation, which was piloted to consolidate the capital base of the institution and expand its lending capacity, was a great success: the Bank’s capital surged by 200% to reach 23.3 billion dollars.
He is credited with other initiatives including the first private sector development unit at the Bank. He also created several Pan-African institutions such as Shelter Afrique, the Import-Export Bank (Afreximbank), and the African Business Roundtable.
In 1990, Babacar Ndiaye was re-elected for a second term which ended in 1995 when he retired. He remained an Honorary President of the AfDB Group, and attended all its major gatherings, including the 52nd Annual Meetings in Ahmedabad, India in May 2017.
Babacar Ndiaye passed away on 13th July 2017 in his native Senegal. This committed Pan-Africanist, who used to say, ‟Senegal is my village, Africa my country,” travelled the continent promoting his cause and the interests of the African Development Bank until his death.