Newly reelected African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina voiced great optimism about Africa’s future as the institution closed its 55th Annual meetings. The Bank’s Board of Governors today unanimously voted for a second five-year term for Adesina, giving him a mandate to renew a focus on the institution’s priorities, including closer continental integration, boosting renewable energy sources and developing infrastructure.
The election of the president was the centerpiece of the two-day meetings, held virtually for the first time in the Bank’s history amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The pandemic formed a backdrop that underscored the Bank’s critical leadership role in assisting African countries to marshal responses to its health and economic impacts. A wider commitment to grow Africa’s resilience by building back its economies post-pandemic with an eye to mitigating climate change and assuring more equitable growth, is also an important agenda for the Bank.
In a 16-point communique, Governors lauded the Bank’s swift response to the pandemic, endorsed its strategic priorities, and urged greater emphasis on building out primary healthcare infrastructure and supporting member countries meet their Paris Agreement commitments.
“We urge the Bank Group to deepen its collaboration with the African Union and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to fast-track Africa’s integration and economic and social transformation particularly in view of the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area, which has the potential to increase growth, enhance competitiveness, improve the business climate, as well as ensure greater investment and development of regional and continental global value chains,” the communique stated.
In closing remarks, Chairperson of the Board of Governors, Niale Kaba, the Ivorian Minister of National Planning, noted the Governors achieved consensus.
“I note with satisfaction that we were able together to face up to all of these challenges. Let me seize this opportunity to tell you this was the outcome of collective work and I was able to benefit from the wise advice of many regional and non-regional governors for us to be able to reach a common ground.”
Kaba also observed that the meeting’s virtual format had deprived Cote d’Ivoire of the opportunity to showcase its beauty to visitors. The Minister, whose term as Chairperson has come to an end, commended Bank Secretary General Vincent Nhemielle for his partnership and dynamism in organizing the meetings virtually.
She also congratulated Adesina on his re-election. He is the Bank’s eighth elected president and the first Nigerian to hold the post.
“I am deeply grateful for the collective trust, strong confidence and support of our shareholders for electing me for a second term as President,” Adesina said. “It is yet another call for selfless service to Africa and the African Development Bank, to which I will passionately devote myself. “I look forward to working closely with each and every one of you for the urgent and difficult task of supporting Africa to build back better, smarter and boldly from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Adesina’s first term focused on the High 5 priorities: Light up and Power Africa; Feed Africa; Industrialize Africa; Integrate Africa; and Improve the Quality of Life for the People of Africa.
Bank Governors are typically the finance and economy ministers or Central Bank Governors of the 54 African regional member countries and 27 non-regional member countries.
Ghana’s Finance Minister Kenneth Ofori-Atta assumed the Chairmanship of the Board of Governors from Niale. “It is with great honor and humility that I accept on behalf of the Republic of Ghana to chair the Board of Governors and host the Annual Meetings for 2021,” Ofori-Atta said.
The 2021 Annual meetings will be held next May in Accra, Ghana.