EXCLUSIVE: West African leaders back embattled AFDB President Akinwumi Adesina

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The Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have thrown their support behind the embattled President of the African Development Bank Akinwumi Adesina.

In a “declaration of support” issued on June 5 and obtained by TODAY NEWS AFRICA on June 6, the ECOWAS leaders praised Adesina for a sterling performance at the AFDB.

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The declaration of support signed by the President of Niger Mahamadou ISSOUFOU on behalf of all ECOWAS members came barely a day after the Bureau of the Boards of Governors of the African Development Bank bowed to pressures from the Trump administration, and other European countries and authorized an independent review of the investigation that cleared Adesina of allegations of corruption.

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That review is not a full investigation, and would be quickly completed between two and four weeks before the bank holds its election in August.

Adesina is the sole candidate for that election. He already enjoys broad support, including the backing of many former African heads of state and government who issued an unprecedented letter backing him.

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“The Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS note that the Ethics Committee of the Board of Directors rejected all the allegations against the President and completely cleared him.

“In their capacity, the member states of ECOWAS and their people commend the actions of the African Development Bank for their efforts in economic and social development.

“They note that the Bank has launched several major initiatives for the reconstruction of infrastructure in the regions including, ‘Desert to Power Initiative’ to develop 10,000 megawatts of solar energy. This will provide electricity to 250 million people, railways, ports, airports, irrigation canals and information and communication technologies. The Bank is also working in close collaboration with the ECOWAS Commission on the historic Lagos-Abidjan road, a key project to improve trade in the region,” the leaders said in their declaration.

DECLARATION OF SUPPORT OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK

The Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) note that for some time, whistleblowers have been trying to question the management and morality of the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina. The allegations made relate to alleged unethical behaviour.

These allegations, relayed by the international press, create a deleterious climate likely to undermine the credibility of the African financial institution, whose reputation and financial strength are more than established.

Indeed, the African Development Bank enjoys a recognised credibility, in particular through rating, obtained from most prestigious rating institutions, and has maintained these for several years.

To further convince you, the Bank was awarded was awarded a triple A rating for its long-term privileged debt, and a double A + for his subordinated debt by Moody’s, Standard and Poor’s, Fitch and the Japanese Rating Agency. The outlook for all ratings is stable and reflects the strong support of the Bank’s shareholders, good capital adequacy, its privileged creditor status and a balanced financial position.

Better yet, the Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS note that the Ethics Committee of the Board of Directors rejected all the allegations against the President and completely cleared him.

In their capacity, the member states of ECOWAS and their people commend the actions of the African Development Bank for their efforts in economic and social development.

They note that the Bank has launched several major initiatives for the reconstruction of infrastructure in the regions including, ‘Desert to Power Initiative’ to develop 10,000 megawatts of solar energy. This will provide electricity to 250 million people, railways, ports, airports, irrigation canals and information and communication technologies. The Bank is also working in close collaboration with the ECOWAS Commission on the historic Lagos-Abidjan road, a key project to improve trade in the region.

ECOWAS notes that following his illustrious predecessors, the eighth elected President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina further strengthened and accelerated the development of the institution.

In the past five years of his first term, the achievements have been impressive. After instilling a new vision for the Bank’s missions, President Akinwumi Adesina worked closely with all of the shareholders to achieve the largest capital increase since the Bank’s creation in 1964, an increase from US$93 billion to US$208 billion, that being an increase of US$115 billion.

More recently, under his leadership, the African Development Bank launched a crisis response mechanism to the tune of 10 billion dollars to help Africa cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, with the full support of all shareholders.

The Heads of State and Government of the 15 members of ECOWAS warmly welcome the excellent achievements of the African Development Bank under the direction of Dr Akinwumi Adesina.

It is for this reason that his candidacy was approved for re-election for a second term in the presidency of the African Development Bank at the conference of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS, held on 21 December 2019 in Abuja.

Through this declaration, the Heads of State of ECOWAS reaffirm their complete confidence in the leadership of Dr Akinwumi Adesina at the head of the African Development Bank. They reiterate their collective support for his re-election for a second term as President of the Bank.

Niamey, 05 June 2020
For the Conference
HE Mr. Mahamadou ISSOUFOU
President

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Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba covers the White House, the U.S. government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions for Today News Africa in Washington D.C. Simon can be reached on simonateba@todaynewsafrica.com

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