This is Africa’s Hour
A blog by Donald Kaberuka, former AfDB President, 2005-2015
'The sleeping giant' is on its way, and the African trajectory continues upward, with a young and dynamic population. In this occasional blog, I try and share some of the thoughts along the journey – my own, the Bank’s, the continent’s. Read More
50 Africa leaders convene in Washington for a historic meeting with President Obama this week. Pedestrians and motorists caught up in the inevitable traffic jams around the White House may well be asking how far they have got, and where they are heading.
Last week I joined UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, African Union Commission Chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and EU Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs on a visit to the Sahel region.
There are well-worn arguments both about the potential of Africa’s exceptional natural wealth, and the reasons why it fails to deliver. The debate goes on, and intensifies with every new discovery – oil in Ghana, manganese in Gabon, coal in Mozambique, to name a few.
Five years ago, it was the multilateral development banks which played a critical role in tempering the worst effects of the global financial crisis, with counter-cyclical funding, liquidity support, trade finance and other instruments. The African Development Bank doubled its loans and grants between 2008 and 2009. Reflecting the key role that these banks played, the shareholders agreed to increase their capital base, and tripled it for the Asian and African Development Banks.
On Thursday, July 25, I was in Washington for an award ceremony at the US Treasury, in which two African Development Bank projects received recognition. Straight afterwards, I appeared on the Kojo Nnamdi show on Washington public radio alongside Lael Brainard, Under Secretary of State for International Affairs at the Treasury. We were discussing Africa, and its new investment opportunities. The message from both of us was of a resurgent Africa, a place for business and for opportunity, drawing strength from internal positive dynamics and still resilient to the slowdown in the global economy. We both emphasized how the work of the African Development Bank was contributing – in funding, in sharing knowledge, and in mobilizing investment.