The Board of Governors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) has elected Akinwumi A. Adesina as the Bank’s eighth President, succeeding Dr. Donald Kaberuka, whose second term ends in August this year.
Adesina currently serves as Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and will remain in that post until newly inducted President, Mohammedou Bohari names the minister’s successor.
His preferment was announced by AfDB’s Chairman of the Board of Governors and Minister of Planning and Development for Cote d’Ivoire, Albert Toikeusse Mabri during the bank’s 50th annual meetings in Cote d’Ivoire.
The election process that brought Adesina to the helm of the African Development Bank was concluded by voting among the bank’s Board of Governors representing the 54 regional member countries, 26 non-regional, whose voting powers are weighty.
In his acceptance statement following the announcement, Mr. Adesina said, “Today I have been given a great responsibility.”
“I am humbled by this remarkable vote of confidence in me on the part of the Bank’s Board of Governors, who met during the Bank Group’s 50th Annual Meetings in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.”
During a press conference, Mr. Adesina paid tribute to Dr. Donald Kaberuka, declaring, “I salute the excellent work of President Kaberuka. It will be a big challenge for me to step into his shoes. He leaves a solid Bank behind him.”
Commenting on the election result that led Adesina to the position, Board Chairman Mabri emphasized that it “was an expression of the willingness of all the member countries,” and he applauded the “good spirit that prevailed during the election process that was not marked by any tension.”
In his speech at the Annual Meetings’ opening ceremony on Monday, May 25, outgoing AfDB President Donald Kaberuka said: “To my incoming successor, my very best wishes. Ten years goes by very quickly. It is a complex and merciless job, but very exciting. It is, in fact, not a job – but a mission.”
Mr. Adesina, 55, will assume office on 1 September.
A total of eight candidatures were received by the closing date, January 30, 2015, and approved by the Steering Committee of the Board of Governors. The list of candidates was officially announced on 20 February 2015.
The other candidates in the election were: Sufian Ahmed (Ethiopia), Jaloul Ayed (Tunisia), Kordjé Bedoumra (Chad), Cristina Duarte (Cape Verde), Samura M. W. Kamara (Sierra Leone), Thomas Z. Sakala (Zimbabwe) and Birama Boubacar Sidibé (Mali).
Akinwumi A. Adesina succeeds: Mamoun Beheiry (Sudan), President, African Development Bank, 1964-1970, Abdelwahab Labidi (Tunisia), President, African Development Bank, 1970-1976, Kwame Donkor Fordwor (Ghana), African Development Bank, 1976-1980, Willa Mung’Omba (Zambia), President, African Development Bank, 1980-1985, Babacar N’diaye (Senegal), President, African Development Bank, 1985-1995, Omar Kabbaj (Morocco), President, African Development Bank, 1995-2005, and Donald Kaberuka (Rwanda), President, African Development Bank, 2005-present.