The outgoing President of the African Development Bank has pledged to continue working for Africa after serving the Bank for a decade.
President Donald Kaberuka will, on August 31, 2015, step down as President of the Bank Group, and hand over his role to President-Elect Akinwumi A. Adesina, who assumes office on September 1, 2015.
“I will continue working for the development of Africa,” Kaberuka said Friday during a press conference held after the official closing ceremony of the 50th Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank in Abidjan.
He specifically pointed out a career in investment banking as an option through which he could continue to serve the continent.
However, he stressed that during the remaining three months of his administration, his focus is ensuring that the new President’s assumption of duty in September is as smooth as possible.
Kaberuka is credited with turning around the fortunes of the Bank during his tenure, managing the Bank through turbulent times such as the global financial crisis to retain its triple AAA rating, tripling its capital base, among others.
However he attributes these achievements to his dedicated staff.
“Whatever I have achieved here in the Bank has been a collective work with the staff of the African Development Bank,” Kaberuka said, adding that the Bank’s staff will carry on to implement the Bank’s strategy.
Reflecting on the way forward for the Bank, Kaberuka underscored the need to accelerate efforts to fix Africa’s huge infrastructure gap.
Over the last ten years, the Bank has stepped up funding for infrastructure, committing $28 billion, of which $11 billion is for energy, $11 billion for transport, $4 billion for water and $2 billion for ICT.
While these are significant amounts, almost double what the Bank has done in the previous 40 years, in terms of Africa’s needs, the gap remains large, Kaberuka argued.
“My sense is that the big push for infrastructure is not yet there. The Bank continues to look for ways of funding Africa’s energy, Africa’s highways, Africa’s Information Technology because this is what is costing this continent 2 per cent of GDP growth every year,” he said.
Africa has achieved impressive economic growth over the last decade with some countries registering rates of 7 per cent; however, in order to attain double-digit growth, the level needed to substantially reduce poverty on the continent, stepping up investment in infrastructure remains crucial.
He pointed out that Africa50, an independent fund, will facilitate the continent not only to mobilize resources but also better package infrastructure projects.
During the meetings, the Governors, usually Finance and Economy Ministers representing 54 regional and 26 non-regional member countries of the Bank Group adopted its 2014 Annual Report and 2015 work programme as well as a number of initiatives.
Organized on the theme, “Africa and the New Global Landscape,” the gathering included a series of high-level seminars and side events on the continent’s economic, social and political situations, and how the Bank can leverage resources to improve living conditions on the continent.
In a communiqué at the end of the meetings, the Governors welcomed the Bank Group’s good financial results despite the challenging African and global environment.
They congratulated the Bank Group for successfully returning its operations to the statutory Headquarters in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire after 11 years at the Temporary Relocation Agency in Tunis, Tunisia; and thanked the Côte d’Ivoire and Tunisian Governments for the support they provided towards the successful implementation of the Roadmap for the Bank’s return to its headquarters.