Africa: AfDB, World Bank Clash Over Lending to Africa

Photo: AfDB
African Development Bank (AfDB) president Akin Adesina at the 2019 Africa Investment Forum.
13 February 2020

The African Development Bank and the World Bank have clashed over the latter's comments on lending to African countries.

World Bank President David Malpass on Monday said that some development banks such as the African Development Bank were making already challenging bad situations worse by lending easily to heavily indebted countries.

Malpass was speaking at the World Bank-International Monetary Fund debt forum in Washington where he cited the Asian Development Bank, the African Development Bank, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development as the main culprits contributing to debt problems.

Nigeria and South Africa were mentioned by the World Bank president as countries that have suffered AfDB 'easy lending'.

The AfDB has refused to take the comments lying down saying that the comments are inaccurate, not based on fact undermines the bank's governance systems.

In a statement, the AfDB argued that it was actually World Bank that has a higher debt exposure on the African continent.

"The World Bank, with a more substantial balance sheet, has significantly larger operations in Africa than the African Development Bank. The World Bank's operations approved for Africa in the 2018 fiscal year amounted to $20.2 billion, compared to $10.1 billion by the African Development Bank," AfDB said in a statement.

With regard to Nigeria and South Africa, the World Bank's outstanding loans for the 2018 fiscal year to both countries stood at $8.3 billion and $2.4 billion, respectively. This was in comparison to AfDB's $2.1 billion (Nigeria) and $2.0 billion, (South Africa) for the same fiscal year.

AfDB said that the World Bank ought to have explored other available platforms to discuss debt concerns among Multilateral Development Banks before blaming them for further fueling the debt crisis.

"The general statement by the President of the World Bank Group insinuating that the African Development Bank contributes to Africa's debt problem and that it has lower standards of lending is simply put: misleading and inaccurate," the AfDB statement read.


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