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The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group President, Donald Kaberuka, has expressed the determination of his team to transform the AfDB into a world-class institution. Mr. Kaberuka made the commitment on Wednesday, September 1, 2010, in Tunis during his swearing-in as the president of the continent’s leading development finance institution for a five-year term.
“In assuming these responsibilities for a second time, I commit here, today, that we will continue to strive, everyday to build a world-class organization, a purposeful, responsive, institution for which the founding fathers can be proud and people of Africa deserve,” he said during the event.
He stressed that in transforming the AfDB, he and his team would strengthen and anchor institutional reforms even when painful and inconveniencing, pointing out that he had no illusion about the obstacles on the way. He said he was cognizant of the complexity of the emerging economic landscape, but was however fully confident of the institution’s determination to succeed.
“Our determination is comforted by the solid, sustained support and confidence member countries have shown to the African Development Bank over the last decade, especially over the last five years to enable the Bank to respond to Africa’s growing and changing needs,” he said, recalling that the shareholders had shown confidence in Africa’s leading development finance institution by resourcing it, helping it build its internal capacity, extending its reach, and bolstering its ability to respond to external shocks.
Regarding the continent’s changing economic landscape, Mr. Kaberuka pointed out that the last decade, especially the last three years, had seen tectonic shifts in the global economy and a shifting discourse on Africa. He stressed that there was an acceptance that the positive momentum Africa had built since the turn of the decade was neither a flash in the pan nor a false dawn.
He argued that while poverty was still deep and growth in per capita incomes frustratingly low, there was some progress on which future efforts could be built.
“As we move forward in the next five years – consolidating options, we must now take cognizance of these profound changes in the global economy – and the renewed confidence and momentum in much of Africa,” he stressed.
He said that the institution’s strategic directions remained valid and they included deepening regional integration, developing the private sector, closing the infrastructure gap, particularly in the energy sector, enhancing high level and technical skills, building strong governance and institutions, as well as providing support to fragile states.
The Tunisian Prime Minister, Mohamed Ghannouchi, for his part, commended Mr. Kaberuka for leading consolidation efforts undertaken by his predecessor. He pointed out that the AfDB was a key actor on the continent, stressing that years of hard work and determination had helped to transform the AfDB into a solid, credible and healthy institution. The maintenance of the institution’s Triple-A rating was testimony to the rapidity of its response to the global financial crisis, he said. He added that “we can be proud of the place the AfDB occupies,” stressing that “we owe it to those who have led the institution and its staff.” He called for the promotion of intra-African trade as well as trade between the continent and the rest of the world. He said the AfDB could count on Tunisia in its efforts to successfully accomplish its mission.
Speaking in his capacity as the chair of the institution’s board of governors, Portuguese Finance Minister, Fernando Teixeira Dos Santos, said Mr. Kaberuka’s reelection by acclamation like the tripling of the institution’s capital was testimony to his ability to manage the institution, especially during challenging times such as the global financial crisis. He stressed that the AfDB was successfully supporting African countries and that the board of governors had acknowledged the institution’s ability to deliver good results. He added that Portugal considered the AfDB as its strategic partner in the region, stressing that the board of governors expected greater collaboration with the private sector. He added that the board of governors shared Mr. Kaberuka’s vision for the AfDB.