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The future of development banks discussed as senior officials meet at 20th annual meeting


Senior officials from the world’s leading financial institutions have wrapped up their 20th annual meeting in Abidjan at the headquarters of the African Development Bank.

The corporate secretaries of international financial institutions (IFIs) met from 11 to 13 September 2019.

The gathering coincides with a renewed push for Africa’s development agenda. The host institution, the African Development Bank, is in the process of lobbying for a general capital increase from shareholders to accelerate growth in the continent.

Vincent Nmehielle, secretary general of the African Development Bank Group, kicked off the proceedings by setting the agenda, which he said was informed by the troika of the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

“These interactions are very important as they afford us an opportunity to…share experiences regarding challenges, responsibilities and how these challenges can be addressed,” Nmehielle said.

The Abidjan deliberations sought to consolidate the outcomes of the group’s meeting in Bali, Indonesia, a year ago, when topics included economic efficiency, the involvement of local communities and business, and security.

“Here at the African Development Bank, this is a pivotal year, a year in which very, very important decisions are being made about what kind of bank we want to have for the next 20 years,” said Charles Boamah, Senior Vice President of the Bank, citing talks around the general capital increase.

“Of course, this involves heavy lifting…when these are taking place, coupled with all the developments in the rest of the world, it is challenging sometimes…”

The meeting in Abidjan addressed the effectiveness of the IFIs’ governing board, broadening the role of board committees, supporting board committees, and strengthening relationships between the board and management.

Some 50 participants from 19 international financial institutions attended the meeting, including the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the European Investment Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the Asian Investment and Infrastructure Bank.

Delegates heard presentations on the impact of geopolitics on shareholding, innovations in technology around board business, and supervision and governance reforms.