President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has described the outgoing African Development Bank president, Dr. Donald Kaberuka, as a great asset to the African continent.
He will be missed by Africa for his influential advocacy in advancing the interests and aspirations of the continent, and for his dedication to prioritizing the effective responses facing Africa in a dynamic global environment.
The Liberian leader described Dr. Kaberuka as a sagacious personality with profound leadership, sound judgment, and intellectual agility, who has contributed immensely to the development of his continent.
According to a Dispatch from Washington, D.C., U.S.A, the Liberian leader made the statement at an honoring program for Dr. Kaberuka organized by the Africare.
President Sirleaf noted that the outgoing AfDB bosss mbolized and evolved innovative financial mechanisms, which have helped spur the acceleration in Africa’s growth and development and made him an exceptional manifestation in the minds of African leaders and millions ordinary Africans – whose lives have been made better by AfBD’s interventions in economic and social infrastructures, good governance, and institution-building.
"Mr. Donald Kaberuka stands out in his leadership—a leadership that motivates; one that had a calling in the vision that he established for the transformation of the African continent," Johnson Sirleaf said.
When the Ebola outbreak hit, she said, Dr. Kaberuka called her and said, "I'm coming." At a time when Johnson Sirleaf said others were too afraid, "he came."
She added that Dr. Kaberuka will remain endeared to Liberians for his support as we sought debt relief and for his timely, aggressive and unprecedented support in our fight against the Ebola virus.
President Sirleaf then paid tribute to the outgoing AfDB President’s courage, saluted his fortitude, and leadership, which will inspire young Africans for generations to come.
Receiving the honor, Dr. Donald Kaberuka said it described the accolade as a distinguished honor and said he was pleased that his service to humanity was immensely recognized.
There is a compelling need to address poverty in Africa, infrastructural development, including roads, energy and private sector capitalization to enable the African continent become competitive, he declared.
There were also some distinguished personalities who spoke at the honoring program, including Nigeria’s Minister of Finance Ngozi Njonko-Iweala. She commended the outgoing Dr. Kaberuka for being up to the task and expressed the hope that many young African scholars will follow in his footpath.
The AfDB, under Dr. Kaberuka-a Rwandan national, has been a major force in private and public sector infrastructural development in Africa through the provision of financial and technical resources.
Infrastructural development is among the priority sectors outlined in the Bank's Private Sector Development Strategy along with creating an enabling environment, financing systems, and promoting trade.
According to the Bank's Strategic Plan 2003-2007, which the fomer Rwandan Finanace Minister religiously pursued, lack of adequate social and economic infrastructure is one of the key constraints to short- and medium-term poverty reduction in Africa.
Mr. Donald Kaberuka is at the verge of ending serving his second five-year term as President of AfDB. He was first elected in 2005, becoming the seventh president of the Bank Group since its establishment in 1963.
He was re-elected in May 2010 at the AfDB’s headquarters in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, for a second five-year term. He took the oath for his second term in September of that year in Tunis, the Bank’s temporary relocation city. The Bank moved temporarily from Abidjan in 2003 due to the security situation there, and returned to Abidjan in 2014.
Before joining the African Development Bank, Mr. Kaberuka, 63, had a distinguished career in banking, international trade and development and government service. A national of Rwanda, he was the country’s Minister of Finance and Economic planning between 1997 and 2005. During this period, he oversaw Rwanda’s successful economic reconstruction after the end of the civil war there.
During his service at the AfDB, Dr. Kaberuka presided over a major redirection in its strategy for development and poverty reduction in Africa. To that end, the AfDB has placed increased emphasis on the private sector, and on the importance of major infrastructural developments in areas such as road, railways, power plants and communications, especially in their role in promoting regional integration in Africa.
Since his ascendency, the AfDB has become Africa’s premier financial institution. In 2009, in response to the global financial crisis, the bank made record approvals of loans and grants totaling more than US$12.6 billion.
Donald Kaberuka was educated at universities in Tanzania and Scotland. He holds the PhD in Economics from Glasgow University.