President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, who was re-elected for a second five-year term on August 27, has been sworn-in and promised the bank would help Africa “build back boldly, but smartly’’ as coronavirus pandemic persists,
Adesina who was unanimously re-elected by the Board of governors after successfully fighting back allegations that had called into question his integrity, said on Tuesday that he would pay greater attention to quality growth especially in the areas of health, climate and the environment.
The swearing-in ceremony and oath-taking which took place on September 1, 2020 was attended by Heads of States, governors, and over 200 external stakeholders who joined physically and virtually.
“Today, a rainbow stretches from the 81 member countries of the African Development Bank across the deep blue skies of Africa, with one message — the rain is gone. Gone are the dark clouds that held us down.’’
Restating his humility, as said: “I will be the President for all’’.
Stating his achievements in the last five years, he said: “The High5s of the Bank (Light up and Power Africa; Feed Africa; Industrialize Africa; Integrate Africa; and Improve the Quality of Life of the people of Africa) which were developed to accelerate the delivery of the Ten-Year Strategy, have been implemented with deliberateness, speed and rigor.
The High5s have taken hold on the continent and become the keys for accelerating Africa’s development. The UNDP has shown that achieving the High5s would lead to achievement of 90% of the SDGs and the Agenda 2063 of the African Union.
He reported that the period enabled 18 million people with access to electricity; 141 million people had access to improved agricultural technologies for food security; 15 million people with access to finance from private investments; 101 million people with access to improved transport from infrastructure and 60 million people with access to water and sanitation
“We’ve achieved impressive results. The Bank’s High5 programmes have impacted 335 million people. That’s what the African Development Bank – your Bank – is all about … ‘people impact’.
“Our non-sovereign operations for the private sector increased 40% from $1.5 billion in 2015 to $ 2.1 billion in 2019, with the highest level of $ 2.5 billion achieved in 2016.’’
He said that through Africa Investment Forum in 2018 and 2019, AfDB was able to attract a combined $78.8 billion worth of investment interests into Africa.
Aside delivering more for women with the implementation of the Affirmative Finance Action for Women (AFAWA), to leverage $3 billion for women and women businesses, he said AfDB launched a Gender Equality Trust Fund.
“You the shareholders supported the historic General Capital Increase of the Bank, raising the capital of the Bank from $93 billion to $208 billion. This represents an increase of $115 billion, the highest in the history of the Bank.’’
“Winning for Africa’s development is what you set us up to do!’’
He said that youth unemployment and migration out of Africa must give way to a glowing light of successful youth-driven businesses across Africa. Africa’s youth must stay in Africa, develop Africa, and project Africa’s future.
His new vision is to “build a stronger institution; strengthen human capacity; enhance effectiveness; deepen quality and impact Maintain financial sustainability and improve human resources.
Adesina, Nigeria’s former Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, was initially appointed President of AfDB in 2015.
The 60-year-old Nigerian was the sole candidate for the helm of the multilateral lender and was voted by the AfDB’s governors during its 55th annual meetings, which opened virtually on Wednesday, August 26, 2020.
Dr Adesina had faced a two probes which cleared him of gross misconduct and abuse of office claims (https://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/tea/business/afdb-chief-akinwumi-adesina-re-elected-for-second-term–1926718) .
He told the AfDB’s governors at the opening of the meetings that he sought re-election with a strong sense of duty and commitment to serve.
“I do it to serve Africa and our bank, in an unbiased way, to the best of the abilities that God has given me,” he said.
Whistleblowers accused the former Nigerian agriculture minister of graft, poor management, personal enrichment and favouritism.
Both the Ethics Committee of AfDB and the Bureau of the Board of governors exonerated him of any wrongdoing but the United States government, one of the shareholders of the bank, insisted on an independent investigation.
A panel of three of independent auditors, led by former Irish president Mary Robinson carried out its own review. The others on the panel were Gambia’s Chief Justice Hassan Jallow, and the World Bank’s former integrity vice president, Leonard McCarthy.
Its report, issued on July 28, said Dr Adesina had been properly investigated and that the panel “concurs with the (ethics) committee in respect of all the allegations” against him.