EDITORIAL: African Development Bank has never been more important

Nigeria’s Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina was this week re-elected as President of the African Development Bank at the Group’s first virtual Annual Meetings, handing the economist and agricultural expert another five years at the helm of this critical Pan-African institution.

The development came at a crucial time as the continent continues to navigate unprecedented challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic and the importance of a smooth transition to the President’s new mandate cannot be overemphasised given the Bank’s role during these uncertain times.  


The last five years have seen the African Development Bank strengthen its financial standing, growing its general capital from US$93 billion to US$208 billion, a commendable feat.


The Bank also continued to deliver on its mandate to help change lives for the better, with an array of life-changing projects (ranging from access to electricity and food security, to access to finance, improved transport and access to water and sanitation) directly impacting some 335 million Africans.


AfDB has also maintained its AAA-ratings by all major global credit rating agencies for the past five years, while it has more recently launched a $3 billion Covid-19 social bond on the global capital markets.

While the Bank has recently been embroiled in internal wrangles and corruption-related allegations targeting Adesina – which were subsequently investigated and dismissed – it is safe to say that the institution is having a meaningful and impactful contribution to Africa’s development aspirations.

During their meeting this week, the Board of Governors made a raft of important resolutions, which, if implemented, will go a long way in taking the Bank to another level.

It is vitally important that, while the Bank rightly puts great emphasis on helping Africa build capacity to deal with coronavirus and its imminent far-reaching effects on economies in the immediate post-Covid-19 era, it does not postpone other critical tasks such as supporting intra-Africa trade, agricultural transformation, infrastructure development, among others.

The Bank’s role has never been more important.

And, there is no doubt that, under President Adesina’s leadership, it will rise to the occasion, both in short to medium-term.

Congratulations to him!


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