A transforming Africa celebrates 50 years of AfDB operations
Created in 1964, the African Development Bank (AfDB) is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary this year: half a century of development financing for the African continent. The celebrations, featuring a number of different activities, will be launched on 22 April 2014 at the Palais des Congrès of Tunis, in Tunisia.
The Tunis ceremony will feature artistic performances, a video screening and speeches, including the launch speech to be given by AfDB President, Donald Kaberuka.
This April, separate launch ceremonies will be held in the 32 countries in which the AfDB has field offices, in order to bring together the authorities and the public in the regional member countries.
The fiftieth anniversary of Africa’s pre-eminent development finance institution will be an opportunity for the AfDB board, management, staff and stakeholders to look back and reflect on the support given to the African member countries. Above all, it will also be a time for reflection regarding the next 50 years. This theme of retrospection and prospection is also reflected in that of the 2014 annual meeting of the Bank which takes place in Kigali, Rwanda, from 19 to 23 May 2014, with the title "The next 50 years: the Africa we want".
There in the difficult times
1964-2014: a 50 year journey. Over the years, through its support, the AfDB has been able to be a partner of choice for its borrowing member countries, especially in difficult times. The AfDB is highly appreciated by its borrowing member countries due to the strategic nature of its financial and technical interventions in its programmes and projects. As AfDB President Donald Kaberuka has said: "It is thanks to the Bank's strategic choices and its reaction to the financial crisis of 2008 that the shareholders agreed to triple its capital, increasing it from USD 32 to USD 100 billion."
The view of the AfDB President has been well received. . At the mid-term review of the African Development Fund (ADF),in September 2012, in Cape Verde, the minister for Economic Infrastructure of Côte d'Ivoire, Patrick Achi, gave a glowing testimony on this subject. Achi expressed the gratitude of his country to the AfDB for being among the first development partners to commit to Côte d’Ivoire following the post-election crisis, in order to tackle the multiplicity of challenges.
Similarly, at a seminar on African migrants' remittances, held in March 2014 in Tunis, the Tunisian minister of Economy and Finance, Hakim Ben Hammouda, hailed that same commitment of the AfDB as “the first institution to support the Tunisian revolution with speed and determination."
Speed and determination
Since it was created, the AfDB has been active on all fronts and in all sectors. It has, however, acted strategically in placing emphasis on a particular approach or a specific sector depending on the context. The institution has made its contribution to the re-awakening of Africa, resulting in a sustained 5% GDP growth rate for Africa over the last decade. International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts that the continent is very likely to be the region of the world that experiences the strongest growth acceleration, from 5.1% in 2013 to 6.1% in 2014.
However, the AfDB is not complacent about its achievements. The institution is realistic and knows that there are still many challenges, especially in terms of social exclusion, a fairer distribution of wealth in most African countries, and more meaningful access to infrastructure, particularly with regard to energy.
As the President of the AfDB says: "Today, that growth must be translated into transformation. That means that there must not be only a growth in GDP, but a transformation of our economies in order to be able to create jobs, rise in the value chain, and be part of international trade." Hence the title of the Bank’s ten-year strategy for 2013-2022: "At the center of Africa’s transformation ".
The finale of the celebrations will take place in Abidjan in November 2014.