Shanghai Hosts AfDB Annual Meetings
Shanghai, 12 May 2007 – The Shanghai International Convention Center has been a bee-hive of activity as China’s business hub and economic capital prepares to host the Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group on 16-17 May 2007.
The Annual Meetings of the Bank Group’s Board of Governors (ministers of finance, economy, planning and, in certain cases, Central Bank governors) representing 77-country shareholders of the multilateral finance institution, is an occasion to review its activities and map out programmes for the coming year, within the framework of ongoing Bank wide reforms.
"The Bank is taking steps to increase the quality of its operations and enhance its effectiveness. This is underpinned by four basic principles; country focus and ownership; greater selectivity; strategic partnership with other development partners and scaling up the knowledge area to provide its members with alternative perspectives in terms of how best to overcome the challenges they face," President Donald Kaberuka says in a Foreword to ‘African Development Report 2006’ to be launched on Sunday ahead of the Meetings.
There is a general consensus that the Bank is now better positioned to respond to Africa’s development needs, largely because of the reforms that have, among other benefits, helped the institution to maintain its solid financial portfolio, improve its human resources management and to organize its research and statistical functions.
Three heads of State – Presidents Pedro Pires of Cape Verde, Marc Ravalomanana of Madagascar and Paul Kagame of Rwanda – and over 2000 top government officials, business leaders, representatives of NGOs, civil society, as well as members of the academic community and the media from the Bank Group’s member countries will be participating in the event.
A ministerial round table discussion will focus on the development of partnerships between Africa and Asia while high level seminars will dwell on trade and capital flows between the two continents. The other themes are on entrepreneurship, private sector development in Africa, Asian lessons in human capital and technology in development as well as regional cooperation and trans-boundary Challenges.
The event will be preceded by thematic seminars on issues related to Sino–Africa economic cooperation, followed by the launch of three Bank reports: ‘The African Economic Outlook 2006’, the ‘African Competitiveness Report, 2007’ and results of research on ‘Consumption and Price Levels in African Countries’. An important highlight will be the presentation of the Bank Group’s balance sheet and operations in 2006.
Other discussions will explore partnerships and practices in Asia with regard to corporate governance with a focus on African/Chinese enterprises, investment, project/programme financing, and risks. There will be conferences on: ‘Africa’s re-indebtedness following the HIPC and MDR cancellations: Proposals for Better Debt Governance,’ ‘Fragile States and the Role of Extractive Industries in Africa;’ ‘Climate Change: the African Development Bank’s Perspective’, as well as ‘Environmental Considerations for Sustainable Development.
There will be a breakfast meeting on financial and capital markets titled: ‘African Bond Markets: Leveraging the Gains of the Past Few Years’.
On the sidelines, hosts, China and the Bank Group will organize a photo exhibition and two stand alone seminars on the experiences and achievements in Sino-African cooperation. In addition, the Japanese government through the Japanese Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) will host a seminar on the Asian experience in promoting Environmental considerations in sustainable development.
The gathering in Shanghai is the second time the Annual Meetings are being hosted by one of its 24 non-regional member countries, after Valencia, Spain, in 2001.
The AfDB which has continued to maintain its triple ‘A’ rating over the years, has a subscribed capital of 21.64 billion Units of Account (UA) . The institution has approved 3,102 cumulative loans and grants amounting to 39.00 billion UA, since it was established in 1964 for the purpose of mobilizing resources for the funding of economic development and social projects and programmes of its 53 regional member countries. The Bank Group is headquartered in Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire), but currently operates from its Temporary Relocation Agency (TRA) in Tunis because of the political situation in Cote d’Ivoire.