The abbreviated annual meetings of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Group ended this week after just three days, a slimmed-down virtual event, compared to the meetings last year in Malabo.
The Governors of the bank, representing 54 African and 27 non-regional member countries, dealt with statutory matters and approved the accounts of the bank for 2019, and reviewed its performance and the auditor reports. The Governors also commended the bank for its measures to work through COVID and while also providing flexible support to countries through the COVID-19 Rapid Response Facility of up to $10 billion.
During the year there will be a focus on infrastructure finance and quality health care and collaboration with the African Union and regional economic blocs to fast-track the African Continental Free Trade Area which was postponed from July this year, and will now kick off on January 1, 2021. Another initiative that will be supported will be the G-20 debt relief effort, recognizing that many African countries will go in to recession for the first time in twenty-five years as they tackle lockdowns, weaker tax revenue, and increased emergency health expenses.
The main highlight of the AfDB meetings was the election of the President, which saw Dr. Akinwumi Adesina re-elected for a second term with 100% of the delegate votes. The USA appears to have been the main opponent of his re-election, and their comments calling for the bank to ensure cost-effective management, review its use of resources and strengthen oversight & governance were contained in the final communiqué released by the Bank at the end of the meetings.
The next AfDB Annual Meetings are planned to take place in May 2021 in Accra Ghana. They will be hosted by the new Chairperson of the Bank, Mr Ken Ofori-Atta, Ghana’s Minister for Finance who took over from Ms Niale Kaba, the Côte d’Ivoire Minister of Planning & Development after she stepped down at the end of her term this week.
EDIT September 1: Dr. Akinwumi Adesina was sworn in to start his second term as President of the African Development Bank Group.