African Development Bank Group’s Annual Meetings Open
Ouagadougou, 18 May 2006 – The 41st Meeting of the Board of Governors of the African Development Bank (ADB) and the 32nd meeting of the Board of the African Development Fund (ADF) opened in Ouagadougou on Wednesday, in the presence of five African heads of state and government.
Declaring the two-day meeting open, host President Blaise Compaore underscored Africa’s determination to construct an economically strong continent, an ambition closely tied to the performance of its financial institutions as the rallying point for strengthening solidarity and a guaranteeing success.
President Compaore said Africans have an obligation to resolve present-day challenges in order to bequeath a legacy of hope to the youth and future generations. Meeting these challenges requires a politically and economically stable environment, poverty reduction in African societies especially among women, strong economic growth and a more equitable multilateral trading regime. Integration in Africa should be the region’s response to globalization and an instrument of competitiveness geared to attracting investment as well as building partnerships that would help increase development funding adapted to the needs of recipient countries.
Presidents Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf of Liberia, Armando Guebuza of Mozambique, Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Prime Minister Charles Konan Banny of Cote d’Ivoire are among hundreds of delegates including Finance ministers, central bank governors and top officials from the Bank Group’s 77 member countries attending the meetings.
Speaking earlier, the President of the African Development Bank Group, Mr. Donald Kaberuka gave a highlight of the new orientations of the Bank, saying that the ADB would build on its strength as a financially solid and relevant institution, accelerating efforts to improve its structure, policies and procedures across the board and maintaining the highest standards in its operations.
He said the Bank must avoid the risk of overstretch, mission creep, lack of focus and dissipation of its efforts unproductively across a wide range of issues and focus on what it is best suited to do and in those areas where it can build excellence and synergies with other actors.
Commenting on efforts to transform the Bank into a global leader on development knowledge on Africa, he spoke of structural changes aimed at providing strong and creative intellectual leadership and enhancing the Bank’s "visibility and impact in the global arena of ideas to link up with African think-tanks and in the Diaspora to support our countries in their quest for economic reforms and autonomous policy space".
President Kaberuka said the Bank would establish a High-Level Panel of Eminent Persons to study and make recommendations on the future strategic role of the Bank.
In her goodwill message, Liberian President Johnson-Sirleaf, announced proudly that "Liberia is back… is ready for engagement with the global community, is ready to do business … is ready to pursue the path of sustainable development". She urged the Bank to play a stronger role in African affairs pointing out that "Africa needs the Bank’s voice to articulate its problems and vision within the international community".
President Kagame, on his part, cited governance as the fundamental challenge that must be resolved to achieve the economic and social transformation of the continent.
His Mozambican counterpart, Mr. Armando Guebuza placed emphasis on the need to develop Africa’s economic infrastructure, urging the Bank to play a central role in this and in the overall fight against poverty.
Echoing Mrs. Johnson-Sirleaf, Ivoirian Prime Minister Konan Banny said that the Cote d’Ivoire would soon be back, pointing out that the peace train was already on track in his country.