Africa: AfDB: Adesina, His Achievements, Prospects For Re-election

African Development Bank (AfDB) president Akinwumi Adesina addressing the 53rd Annual Meetings of the AfDB held in Busan, Korea. "Africa must stop being a museum of poverty. Its people are determined to reverse this trend…the world must also begin to look at Africa through an investment lens rather than as a development case,” Adesina told reporters on the sidelines of the Busan Annual Meetings.

The first term of Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina as the president of the African Development Bank (AfDB) came to an end in May 2020,  he is also due for re-election for a second term.

Within three years of his first term, Adesina embarked on bold reforms of the bank. On his watch, the bank has been substantially repositioned globally, and he has driven highly impactful programs that are accelerating the development of the continent.

Since his election as president, the bank has maintained its AAA rating by all the four major global rating agencies, four years in a row. This is a reflection of the bank's sound financial and risk management, excellent liquidity and strong shareholder support.

The bank's income has seen a significant increase. The loan income of the bank rose from $563 million in 2015, when he took over, to $803 million in 2017, an increase of 42.6 per cent. The net operating income increased from $492 million in 2015 to $781 million by the end of 2017.

The highest allocation from net income to reserves ever in the history of the bank was reached in 2017, for an amount of $190.35 million.

"Publish What You Fund" ranked the bank in 2018, as the 4th most Transparent Institution among 45 global institutions.
In 2018, the bank recorded an unprecedented first, when it was ranked number one by the Multilateral Organization Performance Assessment Network (MOPAN), a position jointly shared with the World Bank.

Adesina's reforms are showing excellent results. The bank has been effectively decentralised to get closer to its member countries and clients.

It has opened five regional development and business delivery offices in North Africa (Tunis), Southern Africa (Pretoria), Central Africa (Yaounde), East Africa (Nairobi), and West Africa (Abidjan); with five director – generals appointed to run these offices.
An increasingly larger share of the bank's operations is run from these regional offices. The share of the bank's operations staff based outside of the bank's headquarters in Abidjan rose from 29 per cent in 2011 to 59 per cent by 2018. Similarly, the share of the bank's operations managed from the regional and country offices rose from 30 per cent in 2011 to 76 per cent by 2018.

The bank was ranked 4th among the top 100 African employers that people want to work for in 2018; a huge jump from the bank's ranking of 82nd position in 2015.
The bank is efficiently managed and has the lowest administrative cost per adjusted common equity among all the multilateral development banks, globally, at just 2 per cent. While the cost to income ratio of the bank is 41 per cent, the comparable figure for the World Bank is 113 per cent, meaning the African Development Bank(AfDB) is three times more efficient on its administrative costs compared to the World Bank.

The bank has continued to strengthen its human capacity. In 2018 alone, the bank recruited 680 staff to deepen its human capacity, the highest ever recruitment in its history.

Its reputation and standing among global financial institutions has never been stronger and is now seen as a global financial institution that provides huge leverage for Africa.

Adesina is highly respected among his peers globally. He chaired the Group of Presidents of all Multilateral Development Banks for 2019.

The Group include the World Bank, International Finance Corporation, Inter-American Development Bank, Asian Development Bank, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, New Development Bank, Islamic Development Bank, European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

In 2019, he assumed the chairmanship of the Group of Regional Development Banks.

The African Development Bank(AfDB), launched the Africa Investment Forum in 2018, in Johannesburg, South Africa. The event positioned the bank globally as the driver for investments into Africa. The Africa Investment Forum mobilised $38.7 billion of investment interests for Africa in less than 72 hours. The Forum has, in one year, become the leading platform for mobilising global investments to Africa. The second edition of the Forum, held in November, 2019, mobilised $40.1 billion of investment interests for businesses on the African continent. Through this platform, the bank and its partners intend to leverage $300 billion of investments into Africa over the next eight years.

Today, the bank is at the forefront of helping Africa achieve accelerated development. The bank's High 5 strategic priorities: Light up and Power Africa; Feed Africa; Industrialise Africa; Integrate Africa; and Improve the quality of life of the people of Africa, have been acclaimed globally as the key for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in Africa and the Agenda 2063 of the African Union.

Independent analysis by the UNDP showed that achieving the High 5s would help Africa to achieve 90 per cent of the SDG targets and 90 per cent of the Agenda 2063 goals.

Within four years of his presidency, the bank has achieved huge developmental results. The bank has helped to support 18 million people connect to electricity through "Light Up and Power Africa";141 million people gain access to improved agricultural technologies under "Feed Africa."; 13 million people benefit from private sector investment projects under "Industrialise Africa"; 101 million people gain access to better transport services through "Integrate Africa";60 million people benefit from improved access to water and sanitation under "Improve the Quality of Life of the People of Africa."

The bank successfully completed a historic 125 per cent General Capital Increase (GCI7) in October, 2019. The authorised share capital of the bank increased from $93billion to $208billion, the highest in the history of the bank since its establishment in 1964. Following the approval of GCI-7,  bank expects to help African countries to achieve the following development results in the next 8 years:105 million people would get access to electricity, 204 million people would benefit from improved access to agricultural technologies to achieve food security,23 million people would benefit from investee private sector companies,252 million people would gain access to improved transportservices, and
128 million people would benefit from improved water and sanitation.

The African Development Bank's concessional window, the African Development Fund (ADF) was replenished in December 2019. Donor contributions to ADF 15 increased by 35 per cent, which would make more funding available to support Low Income Countries and Transition States on the continent.

Adesina's work and contributions continue to receive global recognition. Several leading universities and institutions have awarded him honorary doctorate degrees.

In December 2015, Adesina was awarded a Doctorate of Science from Adekunle Ajasin University, Nigeria, and a Doctorate of Science from the Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria.  In March 2017, the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria, conferred him with a Doctorate of Management.

In May 2018, Michigan State University, USA, awarded him a Doctor of Agriculture Degree. In October 2018, the Nigeria Defense Academy(NDA), conferred a Doctorate of Management to Dr. Adesina. In June, 2019, the University of Alberta, Canada awarded  Adesina an Honorary Doctorate while in January 2020, the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Nigeria also conferred an Honorary Doctorate on him.
In October 2017, the World Food Prize Foundation awarded Adesina the World Food Prize, generally known as the "Nobel Prize for Agriculture."

Adesina devoted the entire $250,000 Laureate award prize to establish a fund to support youths in agriculture and to develop a new generation of world hunger fighters.

On October 23, 2017, Purdue University, USA decorated him with its highest honors, the Order of the Griffin, a rare honor given only to 50 persons since 1893, including Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon.

In December 2017, Bill Gates listed Adesina's award of the World Food Prize and his gesture to use it to support the youths in Africa as one of the seven most encouraging moments of 2017.
In December 2017, Adesina was ranked in the top 15 of the 100 most influential global leaders of multilateral development organisations.

In February 2019, Adesina was awarded the prestigious Sunhak Peace Prize in Seoul, South Korea, for his global leadership on agriculture, food security, transparency and good governance. Once again, he dedicated his entire $500,000 award to the World Hunger Fighters Foundation he established to fight global hunger. In April 2019,  Adesina was ranked among the 100 most reputable people in the world.

Adesina is a globally renowned leader.  In 2010, Dr. Adesina was appointed by the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, as one of 17 world leaders to galvanise international support for the United Nations Millennium Development Goals(MDGs). He serves on the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition.

In 2013, he won the Forbes Africa Person of the Year award for his bold reforms in Nigeria's agriculture sector;the first public sector minister in Africa to win the award.

He was selected him as the 2013 Public Servant of the Year, for his bold policy reforms, transparency, and public accountability.

In February 2020, he was named the African of the Year by the Forbes Africa Magazine. He also won the Africa Person of the Year award by the Africa Leadership Newspaper Group in an open third party voting across Africa, where he won over 60 per cent of the votes.

Adesina's accomplishments and devotion to pan-African development have also been recognised by several nations.  In 2012, he was conferred with Nigeria's second highest national honour, the Commander of the Order of the Niger, for his outstanding service to his country, Nigeria. In recognition of his outstanding leadership, passion and dedication to accelerating the development of Africa, he has also been awarded the highest national honours by the presidents of Senegal, Madagascar, Togo, Liberia and Niger, respectively.

The African Development Bank launched on March 26, 2020, a $3 billion "Fight COVID-19 social bond on the international capital market. It was so successful, raising $3 billion in just few hours at the interest rate of 0.75 per cent. It is the largest US dollar denominated social bond in the history of the world, and the largest by the Bank since its establishment in 1964. The bond is now listed on the London Stock Exchange.

Adesina went further and led the design and development of the Bank's COVID -19 rapid response financial package. Against onslaughts and roadblocks by non-regional members of the board of directors, he was tenacious, patient and bold in his defence of the need to protect and support Africa, to the maximum possible. The board of directors finally agreed and approved the $10billion COVID-19 response facility of the bank, which was announced on April 8. This is a bold and unparalleled support for Africa.

Adesina's excellent performance as president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), the impressive financial performance of bank, strategic global positioning of the bank to drive the achievement of the African Union's Agenda 2063, his excellent working relations with African governments, and bold efforts to drive significant investments into Africa, led to his unanimous support and endorsement by ALL 55 Heads of State and Governments for second term as president of the African ts decision of the Africa Union. This demonstrates the level of excellent stupport he has in Africa and the very high level of respect he is held by all African countries
Significantly, his proposed candidacy for second tenure as AfDB president has drawn the firm endorsements of President Muhammadu Buhari, the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Perhaps, this may not be surprising because Adesina has demonstrated with his life's trajectory that development economics fundamentally addresses transformation of the human condition for good.

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