Tuesday, April 21, 2015


By William Yaw Owusu
Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The debate to select the next President for the African Development Bank AfDB was held last Thursday in Washington DC, United States.

The two-hour debate organized by Centre for Global Development (CGD)- United States in partnership with the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) and the African School of Economics in Cotonou-Benin was viewed live via video link at the IEA Conference Hall in Accra by distinguished personalities including, ministers, politicians and academics.

In all 8 well-groomed African economists and bankers are vying for the single slot to become the next AfDB President after Donald Kaberuka of Rwanda leaves office in mid 2015.

The candidates in alphabetical order include Akinwumi A. ADESINA   of Nigeria, Sufian AHMED of Ethiopia (who did not take part in the debate), Jaloul AYED of Tunisia and Kordj√© BEDOUMRA of Chad.

The rest were Cristina DUARTE of Cape Verde, Samura M. W. KAMARA   of Sierra Leone, Thomas Z. SAKALA  of  Zimbabwe as well as Birama Boubacar SIDIBE  of Mali.

Organizers of the ‘AfDB Decides’ debate envisaged that the debate would expose audience worldwide to the most experienced of the candidates in key issues pertinent to the development of the continent while showcasing their understanding of the work of the AfDB.

They are hoping the contestation of ideas will ultimately enable the Board of Governors of the bank to make an informed choice of the most suitable candidate to take up the position of president of the bank.

Moderated by former BBC TV journalist Rajesh Mirchandani, there were questions from the organizers as well as a broad spectrum of personalities, be it academics, politicians or economists in either French or English and the candidates answered with precision.

Questions covering the role of the bank in stabilizing African economies, the bank’s role in fragile and pos-conflict states, its role in natural resource management, Africa’s relationship with China as an emerging economic powerhouse and how the bank could ensure financial inclusion on the continent, were addressed.

Birama Boubacar SIDIBE of Mali said building the capacity of the private sector in fragile and post-conflict states was critical for accelerated growth while Cristina DUARTE of Cape Verde said measuring the impact of funding in an efficient and transparent manner will boost economic growth.

Dr. Akinwumi A. ADESINA   of Nigeria said he would ensure that Africa traded on its own terms with China while Samura M. W. KAMARA   of Sierra Leone said he would ensure funds for development “get to where they are supposed to go to.”

Thomas Z. SAKALA of Zimbabwe said he would ensure the continuous strengthening of financial institutions and create the enabling environment for the private sector while Jaloul AYED of Tunisia said he would encourage public private partnership (PPP) to control infrastructural development.

Kordjé BEDOUMRA of Chad also said he would promote private sector participation in infrastructural development and intensify creation of jobs for the youth.

After the debate, Dr. John Kwakye of the IEA said “this was a grilling process for the candidates” and hoped “whoever is chosen will deliver on his/her promise.”

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