Kaberuka Sworn in as 7th Elected President of the African Development Bank Group
Tunis, 1 September 2005 – The African Development Bank (ADB) Group has a new President. Mr. Donald Kaberuka took the oath of office today in a ceremony at the institution’s Temporary Relocation Agency in Tunis. The occasion was witnessed by the Chair and members of the Bank’s Board of Governors, the Board of Directors, members of the diplomatic corps in Tunis and staff of the institution.
"I solemnly declare and undertake…that I will abide by the provisions of the Agreement establishing the African Development Bank… and that I will discharge my duties and functions… with loyalty, discretion and conscience." With those words, Mr. Kaberuka became the seventh elected President of the Bank for the next five years. As President of the Bank Group, Mr. Kaberuka will chair the Boards of the African Development Bank and the African Development Fund, the soft loan arm of the Group.
In a statement immediately following his inauguration, the new President said he welcomed the Bank’s strategy to reposition itself as a results-based organization, to get closer to its clients and build capacity to better understand the national and African economic conditions.
"The ADB must strive to become a knowledge institution, a first point of call for economic development issues on the continent," Mr. Kaberuka said.
Noting that Africa will not depend on aid for ever, the President said "building our capacity to trade, reducing costs, risks of doing business in Africa as well as expanding our markets and attracting private investment are the only lasting solutions".
He said conditions that enable business efforts to succeed - such as creating the enabling environment, political and economic stability, promotion of good governance, fight against corruption and abuse of office as well as the creation of a predictable policy environment - clearly spelt out in NEPAD, were vital.
It is essential, he emphasized, that the Bank and its partners search for ways to contain external shocks such as the record price hike on the world oil market and make the necessary adjustments in a liberalized multilateral world trading system.
Mr. Kaberuka also raised the issue of challenges faced by middle income countries, saying he would pay particular attention in determining the best way in which the Bank could be responsive to their needs.
The Bank will intensify its relationship with the African Union and its institutions, especially in the domain of conflict resolution, he said.
"It will be essential to enhance the work of the Bank in the process of post conflict reconstruction and fragile states. In this way we will be reinforcing the efforts of the African Union in conflict resolution and making our continent safe for investment and creating stakeholders economies," he emphasized.
He expressed deep gratitude to his predecessor, Mr. Omar Kabbaj, who led the Bank over the last decade, saying that he would build on the accomplishments that have resulted in improved management and the strong financial position of the Bank.
In a farewell statement, Mr. Kabbaj said he was confident and delighted that the Bank now had a new leader who would take it to new heights given his "wealth of first-hand experience in dealing with Africa’s development challenges".
Mr. Kabbaj expressed his "profound appreciation" for the support he received from African leaders, the Bank’s governing bodies as well as its management and staff during his tenure and appealed to them to render the same type of support to the new President.
On his part, the chair of the Board of Governors and economic development minister of Burkina Faso, Mr. Seydou Bouda, commended the former President for his exemplary stewardship and urged staff and management to give their full support to the new President. The elimination of poverty remains the principal challenge facing the continent of Africa, he said, pointing to the complex nature of the region’s development predicament.
The ADB turned forty last September. The institution was created in 1964 to promote the economic development and social progress of its regional member countries. It has since made loans and grants worth over US$ 54 billion to support development projects in all 53 African countries. It has about 1200 staff members who come from over 70 countries and represent a diverse pool of intellectual disciplines.
Mr. Kaberuka was educated in Tanzania and the United Kingdom where he obtained his M Phil (Econ) and a PhD in Economics from Glasgow University in Scotland. He is fluent in English, French and Swahili.
He served as Rwanda’s Minister of Finance and Economic Planning since 1997, and has been widely acknowledged as the principal architect of the successful post-war reconstruction and economic reform programme.
He initiated and implemented major economic and governance reforms in the fiscal, monetary, budgetary and structural domains including independence of the Central Banks. These reforms resulted in the widely acclaimed recovery of the Rwandan economy, sustained economic growth and enabled the country to benefit from debt cancellations under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative in April 2005.
Mr. Kaberuka had 12 years experience in the Banking industry, trade finance, international commodity business and Development issues, before he joined the government.
As minister for Finance and Economic Planning, the new President was Governor for Rwanda at the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the African Development Bank.
Past AfDB Presidents
- Mamoun Beheiry (Sudan) 1964-1970
- Abdelwahab Labidi (Tunisia) 1970-1976
- Kwameh Donkor Fordwor (Ghana) – 1976-1979
- Goodal Gondwe (Malawi) Interim (July’79 - June’80)
- Wila Mung’Omba (Zambia) 1980-1985
- Babacar Ndiaye (Senegal) 1985-1995
- Omar Kabbaj (Morocco) 1995-2005