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AfDB President Kaberuka pays farewell visit to Kenya
African Development Bank President Donald Kaberuka concluded his East African tour with a farewell meeting with Kenya’s Head of State, Uhuru Kenyatta, on June 25th 2015.
Kaberuka’s decade-long term in office comes to an end in two months. He thanked the Kenyan Government for its support. “The mission for which Kenya sponsored me has been done to my best ability. We even make mistakes, but that is the nature of leadership. We have learnt lessons both ways,” he said.
Kaberuka talked about the Bank’s activities in Kenya, saying they were mostly concentrated on infrastructure. “The results show our money is well spent,” he noted. The Bank’s portfolio in the country is US $2.2 billion.
He lauded the country’s efforts in improving economic growth in the face of security challenges. Kenya faces security challenges arising from political instability in neighbouring South Sudan and Somalia, in particular terrorist activities carried out by groups such as Al-Shabaab, according to the African Economic Outlook. In spite of this, economic growth has grown from 4.9 percent in 2013 to 5.7 percent in 2014, and is projected to rise to 6.5 percent in 2015.
President Kenyatta lauded the Bank’s support, which he said was heightened during Kaberuka’s tenure. “This assistance has played a major role in helping the country achieve its development agenda.”
The regional integration approach championed by the Bank, Kenyatta said, was key to Africa’s prosperity and development. This, he noted, was bearing fruit in East Africa, particularly Kenya and Rwanda, which have experienced open movement of labour in the last six years.
Kenyatta said, “On behalf of the people of Kenya, I thank you for your service and contribution. You will be missed, but we are confident that you leave behind a strong institution that will continue the development agenda.”
The Head of State asked the Bank to support construction of a second airport runway, as well as the Greenfield Terminal at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA). The facility is expected to enable efficient movement of passengers and increase JKIA’s overall handling capacity to 20 million passengers per year. The project is a strategic one given Kenya’s ambitions of becoming an aviation hub in the East African region. The estimated total project cost is US $770 million.
On June 23 and 24, Kaberuka paid farewell visits to Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, respectively. He thanked them for the support they accorded him during his tenure.
Kaberuka will be succeeded by Akinwumi Adesina, Nigeria’s former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, who was elected in May 2015.