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Obasanjo writes former African presidents, rallies support for AfDB’s Adesina

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Former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, has called on former African presidents to support the President of African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina, in the midst of controversial ‘probe’ from outside the African region.

Obasanjo took time out to exhaust some of the achievements of the former Minister of Agriculture as the President of AfDB.

In its four-page letter which he copied 14 former presidents, Obasanjo noted that despite the achievements and impressive leadership and passion for Africa’s fast-paced development, some non-regional member countries of AfDB are trying to frustrate Dr Adesina’s reelection.

Obasanjo warned that “if we do not rise up and defend the African Development Bank, this might mean the end of the African Development Bank, as its government would be hijacked away from Africa.”

He also proposed as a step going forward that “we all collectively issue a press statement to support the laid down procedures embarked upon to evaluate the allegations against the President of the Bank and to recommend that the board of governors, as well as the ethics committee, should stand up their process and its outcome.”

While throwing his weight behind the presidency of Dr Adesina, Obasanjo enthused that “The Bank has been effectively positioned as an effective global institution, ranked 4th globally in terms of transparency among 45 multilateral and bilateral institutions by Publish What You Fund, an outfit that consists of 19 developed economies. Dr. Adesina led the Bank to successfully launch at the G7 Summit in Biarritz, France, the Affirmative Finance Action for Women (AFAWA) to mobilize $3 Billion for women businesses and entrepreneurs in Africa, with strong support and resources from G7 leaders and nations.

“The Bank has also substantially aligned its financing and operations to help accelerate Agenda 2063 and the High 5 agenda of the Bank (Light Up and Power Africa; Feed Africa; Industrialize Africa; Integrate Africa; and Improve the Quality of Life of the People of Africa) are achieving good results.

“Over the past four years, it is estimated that18 million people were provided with access to electricity, through “Light Up and Power Africa”: 141 million people gained access to improved agricultural technologies for food security, through “Feed Africa”; 13 million people benefited from access to finance from private sector investment projects, through “Industrialize Africa”; 101 million people benefitted from access to better transport through “integrate Africa”; 60 million people benefit from improved access to water and sanitation under “Improved quality of life for the people of Africa. In summary: in less than five years under Dr. Adesina’s leadership, the Bank’s investments have benefitted and impacted a total of 333 million Africans.”

On how the Adesina-led administration stood on top of the ravaging COVID-19, Obasanjo wrote: “You will agree with me that these achievements are commendable and the Bank has been placed in a strategic position to fast track Africa’s development. Finally, under Dr. Adesina’s leadership of the Bank, it has continued to maintain its Triple A (AAA) rating by all global rating agencies over the past five years.

“As Africa faces COVID-19, Dr. Adesina again took bold measures to ensure the Bank can respond proactively to support African countries and got its Board of Directors to approve a $10 Billion crisis response facility to support African countries. In addition, the Bank successfully launched a $3 billion “Fight COVID-19” social impact bond on the international capital market, secured at 0.75 per cent interest rate.

“The social bond is the largest US dollar-denominated bond ever in world history. The bond is now listed on the London Stock Exchange where it has been oversubscribed at $4.6 billion.”

The full letter reads:

Olusegun Obasanjo

Agbe L’oba House, Quarry Road, Ibara

P.O. Box 2286, Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria

26 May 2020

Your Excellencies,

I hope that you are keeping well in the midst of the current COVID-19 pandemic that we are all going through in Africa and all over the world. I am writing to you in respect of developments at the African Development Bank.

As you may be aware the President of the Bank, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina has performed very well in this position over the past five years.

The inaugural launch of the AIF held in Johannesburg, South Africa, secured 38.7 Billion of investment interests within less than 72 hours. The AIF event held in 2019 went even further and secured $40.1 Billion of investment interest in less than 72 hours. Africa has never seen these kinds of financial and investment interests.

The Bank has been effectively positioned as an effective global institution, ranked 4th globally in terms of transparency among 45 multilateral and bilateral institutions by Publish What You Fund, an outfit that consists of 19 developed economies. Dr. Adesina led the Bank to successfully launch at the G7 Summit in Biarritz, France, the Affirmative Finance Action for Women (AFAWA) to mobilize $3 Billion for women businesses and entrepreneurs in Africa, with strong support and resources from G7 leaders and nations.

The Bank has also substantially aligned its financing and operations to help accelerate Agenda 2063 and the High 5 agenda of the Bank (Light Up and Power Africa; Feed Africa; Industrialize Africa; Integrate Africa; and Improve the Quality of Life of the People of Africa) are achieving good results. Over the past four years, it is estimated that18 million people were provided with access to electricity, through “Light Up and Power Africa”: 141 million people gained access to improved agricultural technologies for food security, through “Feed Africa”; 13 million people benefited from access to finance from private sector investment projects, through “Industrialize Africa”; 101 million people benefitted from access to better transport through “integrate Africa”; 60 million people benefit from improved access to water and sanitation under “Improved quality of life for the people of Africa. In summary: in less than five years under Dr. Adesina’s leadership, the Bank’s investments have benefitted and impacted a total of 333 million Africans.

I, therefore, propose that we all collectively issue a press statement to support the laid down procedures embarked upon to evaluate the allegations against the President of the Bank and to recommend that the Board of Governors, as well as the Ethics Committee of the Bank, should firmly stand by their process and its outcome.

We should speak against the introduction of alien practices being recommended by some parties given that such recommendation falls outside the laid down procedure, laws, rules and regulations of the Bank. It is also critical that we emphasize the need for the ADB to remain an Africa-focused development Bank rather than one which serves interests outside Africa.

I have taken the liberty to offer a draft of the proposed joint statement for your kind review, input and/or endorsement. My aide, Atom Lim, will share the draft statement and collate your respective responses for me. He is reachable via atom_lim@yahoo.com.

Please accept, Your Excellencies, the assurances of my highest esteem and consideration.

Source: Vanguard

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