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Leadership Matters, the focus of premiere Baobab Forum


The African Development Bank (AfDB) will host a group of opinion leaders, global thinkers, and innovators, among others, at its headquarters in Abidjan on August 31, 2015 for the premiere edition of its new speaker series called The Baobab Forum.

Under the theme “The Many Faces of Leadership for African Development”, the forum seeks to deliberate on how to address the development gaps on the continent. It will be a yearly knowledge and learning event with the objective of capturing and sharing new and inspiring ideas to tackle Africa’s challenges.

The Bank is hosting the event, cognizant of the fact that more than physical infrastructure and finances are needed to surmount the complex development challenges facing Africa this century.

“Baobab Forum is essentially about promoting practical ideas and best practices that work for Africa’s development,” said Rakesh Nangia, AfDB’s Evaluator General. “The challenges we face are enormous and need fresh and innovative solutions. This is what Baobab Forum is all about – it leverages the AfDB’s convening power to bring together some of Africa’s most successful sons and daughters by offering a platform to weigh in on emerging issues and the future direction of Africa from the perspective of personal achievements. Achieving the ambitious agenda of the Bank requires strong leadership at all levels, and this explains the choice of theme and speakers for this first edition of the Baobab Forum.”

Leadership is pivotal to successful implementation of the transformative agenda outlined in the AfDB’s Ten Year Strategy 2013-2022 and the African Union’s Agenda 2063, setting out a long-term vision for the continent. Emphasis is therefore placed on different facets of leadership in this first edition and speakers have been carefully selected to ensure broad lessons are shared in priority development sectors such as governance, health, business and finance.

Former Cape Verdean President Pedro Pires, winner of the Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership, is among the prominent speakers who will share his insights on leadership.

AfDB President Donald Kaberuka will reflect on lessons learned at the top of Africa’s leading development finance institution, and how this may feed into the work of the organization going forward.

Former Managing Director of the World Bank Group and Nigeria’s former Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, will join other accomplished Africans to discuss how every-day leadership matters to the future direction of Africa.

Also featuring in this first edition of Baobab forum are:

  • Fred Swaniker, educational entrepreneur, founder of the African Leadership Academy in Johannesburg
  • Olajide Idris, former Commissioner for Health in Lagos States, Nigeria
  • Saran Daraba Kaba, Secretary General, Mano River Union, Sierra Leone
  • Elhadj Ibrahima Bah, medical doctor and supervisor at the Ebola treatment center in Donka Hospital, Guinea-Conakry

Jeff Koinange, host of Jeff Koinange LIVE, a talk show broadcast on Kenya’s television network, will moderate this inaugural edition.

Follow Baobab Forum online

The event, which takes place from 9 am to 12 pm Abidjan time (GMT) on August 31, will be live-streamed on and Join the discussion on Twitter, using the official hashtag #BaobabForum.

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