Last week, the Board of Governors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group re-elected Dr Donald Kaberuka to serve a second term as the Bank’s President during their annual meetings in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
Kaberuka was first elected President of AfDB in 2005. In an interview with Business Times’ Berna Namata, distinguished delegates attending the meetings expressed their views about the president’s term of office. Below are the excerpts;
Stephen O’Brien, Parliamentary Under –Secretary of State Department for International Development (DFID)
President Kaberuka has our full confidence having demonstrated great professionalism and all the issues about African Development Bank - we are delighted about his reappointment for another five years.
Our hope and encouragement is that we will both expect and have confidence that he will continue to build up on success and the agenda that he has already developed and leadership of the bank.
He has managed to keep balance and proportion the complexity of the bank going well. So we want to see that initiative maintained.
The key challenge is to look to how to underpin the growth in these economies so that the benefit of that growth can be applied to encourage further a confidence in developing wealth and prosperity for all the people in these nations.
Danny Faure, Minister of Finance of the Republic of Seychelles (Governor AfDB)
His performance has been remarkable because he has been able within five years to lead the Bank in very difficult times; we were faced with three crises; fuel, food and financial crisis.
The challenge is that we still have a lot of uncertainties ahead of us; there is a challenge of climate change and adaptation while regional integration also remains a key challenge and the overall operations of the AfDB in African countries.
I think the main challenge of the president right now is how to consolidate the bank and show that we can adopt as we move forward.
Syda Bbumba, Uganda’s Finance Minister (Governor AfDB)
Donald Kaberuka has performed excellently well – that is why we had no reservations in recommending for his reappointment. He has been quite innovative; he has offered mature and stable leadership in the Bank.
He has prioritised Africa’s needs very well and innovation to call for a significant general share capital increase is a wonderful innovation. That is why we think he should be given time to implement his ideas. The biggest challenge before him is raising sufficient capital to be able to address the needs of Africa.
Secondly to handle the priorities as he has set them – infrastructure in Africa – what ever infrastructure you talk of, we have got a huge deficit on energy, roads, rail and even air transport because to move from one African country to another, in some cases you have to go through Europe. This must be resolved. It is a shame on Africa.
Thirdly development of the private sector is another challenge because the little private sector that there is in our countries are mainly multinationals, we need to create our own private sector.
All that we are doing at the moment is focusing on micro, we talk of SACCOS, but in his new plan he has got ideas on how to promote the private sector to be able to develop the medium enterprises to develop into a viable home grown private sector.
Africa is also sitting on a “time bomb” of unemployment in many of our countries. For instance , for Rwanda which has got a small population and the niche it has chosen of ICT creates a lot of jobs in the country, but in my country every year we channel out over 30,000 students from universities but less than 10 percent get employed.
So there is need for more support on higher education I think it is very important to address the problem of unemployment.
Nobumitsu Hayashi, Deputy Director General, International Bureau (Japan – Donor of the Bank)
He has done really well. Over the very difficult years with the economic crisis over the world, he has been stretching the balance sheet of the African Bank and has undertaken extra ordinary financing to meet the needs of countries in the region.
He has also undertaken new initiatives like getting African countries closer by concentrating more on regional projects as well as considering global economic challenges such as climate change finance. We really appreciate his leadership and we will support him. We want him to stress on private sector development because that is how jobs are created and that is what makes people get out of poverty.