Official Visit of AfDB President to Gabon

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Libreville, 12 April 2006 – The President of the African Development Bank, Mr. Donald Kaberuka, has lauded recovery efforts made by Gabon in the past two years, after several difficult years.

Mr. Kaberuka, who is on a three-day official visit to Gabon, held an audience on Tuesday, 11 April, with the President of the Republic of Gabon, His Excellency El Hadj Omar Bongo Ondimba. He also met with the Prime Minister Mr. Jean Eyeghe Ndong, the Minister of Economy, Finance, Budget and Privatization, Mr. Paul Tongui, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Francophone, Mr. Mr. Jean Ping and the Minister Delegate in charge of Regional Cooperation, Mrs. Laure Olga Gondjout.

Their discussions focused on the state of cooperation between the African Development Bank, Africa’s leading development finance institution, and Gabon. As Mr. Kaberuka pointed out, Gabon has constantly played a key role in the life of the Institution since its accession to the ADB in September 1972.

The ADB President said that he was "very encouraged by the Government’s recovery efforts" and called on the authorities to continue to pursue their economic reforms and diversification drive.

The two sides also discussed  the key sectors in which the Gabonese authorities would appreciate the support of the development partners, especially that of the ADB (infrastructure, education and health) particularly by drawing lessons from past experiences in monitoring and supervision, and reducing the project implementation period. In this regard, the ADB President explained that reforms approved the previous week by the Bank Group’s Boards of Directors were aimed at enhancing the operational effectiveness of the ADB, "Africa’s pride."

In addition, the set of reforms took into account a number of suggestions made by member countries such as enhanced cooperation and regional integration, strong support for infrastructure and economic diversification with a view to promoting pro-poor growth, among others.

Mr. Kaberuka and his hosts also exchanged views on new forms of support that donors could provide to Middle Income Countries (MICs) like Gabon. The African Development Bank has already put in place a number of facilities in this regard, especially the MIC assistance fund which allows beneficiaries access to grants of up to USD 900,000 per study.

Mr. Kaberuka will continue the series of meetings with Gabonese authorities on Wednesday and Thursday. He is also scheduled to hold working sessions with development partners and embark on a field trip. On Thursday, 13 April, the ADB President will participate in the meeting of Ministers of Finance of the Franc Zone. He will make a statement during a session on "Privatization in the Franc Zone."

The Bank Group’s operations in Gabon started in 1974. The Bank has so far financed 35 operations in the country, including 28 projects, three structural adjustment programs, one emergency assistance and three studies. Total commitments amount to USD 760 million.

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