Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), completed on Thursday, November 7, in N'Djamena, Chad, the last leg of a tour that took him to four countries in the Sahel. In each of these countries - Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad - Kaberuka reiterated the AfDB's commitment to help consolidate social and economic advancements despite new threats facing the region.
During a meeting with the Chadian President, Idriss Déby Itno, in the presence of the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon; the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma; and the European Union Commissioner to Development, Andris Piebalgs, the President of the AfDB pointed out that solidarity with the Sahel countries is imperative.
In his statement, he recalled that the region has gone through untold difficulties since the 1990s, in particular the crises in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Côte d'Ivoire. But currently, the outlook is brighter and the region has recorded economic growth of six per cent.
"Today, there are reasons to be worried as these achievements are threatened not only by past challenges - climate change, food security, low rainfall - but especially by terrorist incursions in the Sahel region," Kaberuka said.
The Bank President reassured the Chadian authorities of the strong will of the AfDB to accompany the Sahel countries by way of a $4 billion undertaking. According to Kaberuka, these funds should be used for the well-being of the populations by setting up regional infrastructure and creating jobs for youth. "If nothing is done, all these achievements will be to no avail," he said.
Before the trip to Chad, the President visited Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, on November 6 and 7. Kaberuka expressed the institution's solidarity in the face of new challenges looming in the region to the President of Burkina Faso, Blaise Compaoré, and members of his government.
Kaberuka hailed Compaoré's leadership in helping to resolve the various crises in the region.