President of the African Development Bank, AfDB, Akinwumi Adesina, has formally presented himself for reelection as the continent’s main financial institution’s topmost official for the second term of five years.
Adesina, who told the AfDB’s Governors of his intention to stand as a candidate for the topmost position during the bank’s 55th Annual Meetings opening ceremony held virtually on Wednesday, said he was seeking reelection with a strong sense of duty, commitment and a call to serve Africa and the bank, selflessly.
“At this Annual Meetings, I offer myself to you, our Governors, for your consideration for election for a second term, as President.
“I do so, with humility.
“I do so with a strong sense of duty and commitment and a call to serve Africa and our Bank, selflessly, to the very best of my God-given abilities”, the AfDB president said in his opening speech.
He said with the pandemic, Africa had lost over a decade of gains of economic growth, adding that “Africa’s recovery will be long and difficult”.
The President said the AfDB must help Africa to build back, paying greater attention to quality growth in health and other vital sectors of the economy.
He said: “Yet, even in these challenging times, the Board of Directors of the African Development Bank pulled together to support Africa.
“The Bank launched a $10 billion COVID-19 Response Facility to support African countries.
“We launched a $3 billion social bond on the global market – the largest US dollar denominated social bond ever in world history.”
Adesina, however, admitted that the past several months have been challenging for the AfDB, a veiled reference to the crisis that rocked the bank recently when some anonymous whistleblowers accused him of mismanagement.
He said: “Yet, we pulled together.
“I would like to sincerely thank you all, our esteemed Governors, under the excellent leadership and wisdom of the Chairperson, Minister Niale Kaba, for joining hands to steady the Bank.
“I am proud of the African Development Bank and the strength of our governance systems.
“I am proud of each and every shareholder of the Bank who challenged and made us all better.
“Our experience has made us better and stronger.
“Our challenges, though difficult, have become our gain.
“But it’s not been easy… I will reach out… I will engage… We will HEAL…”
He maintained that Africa needs a strong and stable African Development Bank to support it through this pandemic and help its economies rebound for better, healthier lives and livelihoods for its people.
He disclosed that the bank’s Shareholders had pulled together to raise the capital of the bank by $115 billion, the largest capital increase in the history of the bank.
“We pulled together, yet again, in Pretoria, South Africa, and gave the African Development Fund 35 percent increase in financing – financing so crucial to low income countries and fragile states”, he said.
Earlier in her welcome address, the AfDB board Chairperson, Niale Kaba, said the bank would not waiver in upholding its standard even in the face of challenges.