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Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), concluded an official two-day visit to Côte d’Ivoire today. The AfDB chief executive and Daniel Kablan Duncan, Minister of State and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Côte d’Ivoire, signed a revised Headquarters Agreement of the AfDB in Abidjan.
The revised Headquarters Agreement confirms the AfDB’s full ownership of the land on which its current Abidjan headquarters building sits, as well as an adjoining piece of land, both of which the Government of Côte d’Ivoire recently granted to the Bank. Mr Kaberuka received the relevant documentation for both pieces of real estate from Mamadou Sanogo, Minister of Construction, Sanitation and Urbanisation.
President Alassane Dramane Ouattara received and hosted Mr Kaberuka to an official dinner. The AfDB president also met with senior members of government including Albert Mabri Toikeusse, Minister of State and Minister of Planning and Development, who is also Governor for Côte d’Ivoire on the AfDB’s Board of Governors. Also present was Ivorian Finance Minister Charles Koffi Diby.
Accompanying the AfDB chief executive on the visit were a number of senior officials, including Vice President for Corporate Services Kordje Bedoumra, Secretary General Cecilia Akintomide, and the Bank’s Regional Director responsible for Côte d’Ivoire, Janvier Kpourou Litse.
Donald Kaberuka expressed his appreciation to President Ouattara for his constant support to the African Development Bank, which he said reflected the president’s deep understanding of the development issues of the country, the continent and AfDB’s role in addressing them. He also commended President Ouattara for his leadership, commenting on the visible, positive changes he had seen on this visit.
The African Development Bank relocated its operations temporarily to Tunis, Tunisia from Abidjan during the then unfolding crisis in Côte d’Ivoire in 2003. At the Annual Meetings of the AfDB Group in Lisbon this June, its Board of Governors decided that the period of temporary relocation would be three years from the date of the resolution. This was with the proviso that the situation in Côte d’Ivoire be closely monitored and the period of temporary relocation placed on the agenda of the Board of Governors at an earlier date should there be a significant change.
Since the temporary relocation, a framework was put in place for the continuous review of the situation in Côte d’Ivoire in order to determine the most appropriate conditions and time for its return. The AfDB and the Government of Côte d’Ivoire set up a bi-partite committee made up of senior representatives of the Government and the Bank to lead this work.
Speaking at the Headquarters Agreement signing ceremony, Kaberuka said: “We are committed to the AfDB’s return to Abidjan as early as possible, subject to the decisions to be taken by the AfDB’s Board of Governors in due course.”
The representatives of the AfDB and the Ivorian government undertook to work closely together for a timely and efficient return within the framework that has been put in place.