With just few weeks left for him to turn over the prestigious post of president for the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Donald Kaberuka has begun receiving farewell honors from African countries with the latest being the Republic of Benin.
He is expected to be turning over the office of president to his successor at the end of August 2015.
According to the AfDB, Dr. Kaberuka received Benin’s highest honor, the title of Grand Officer in the National Order of Benin on August 10 in Cotonou, the capital city.
“The honor is in recognition of the numerous services the outgoing African Development Bank’s President played to bring improvements in the lives of many Africans in various countries on the continent,” the country’s authority has said.
Benin’s President Boni Yayi saluted Kaberuka’s leadership and his vision, which he said permitted the Bank to position itself as one of Africa’s premier development institutions and a key player in the continent’s regional integration.
In his response, Dr. Kaberuka, who in his tone has always been institutionally and patriotically conscious, noted that the award was “In fact in recognition of the efforts and achievements of the entire Bank staff.”
He thanked the Government and people of Benin for the honor and noted that it highlighted the cordial relations between Benin and the Bank.
He recalled role played by Benin in supporting his candidacy as head of the Pan-African institution for 10 years.
Kaberuka saluted the progress made by Benin and invited the government to pursue its reforms targeting growth and poverty reduction.
On that note, he called on Benin’s authorities to take advantage of the country’s political stability and proximity to the Nigerian market and the markets of its West African neighbors, and its membership in the West African Economic and Monetary
Union to reinforce the country’s macroeconomic stability.
Kaberuka reiterated his faith in Africa and noted that each country has potential and its own unique advantages which should be identified and harnessed in an effort to transform the continent.
While at the 50th annual meetings in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire this year, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf also lauded praises on Dr. Kaberuka for his role played in Africa as President of the African Development Bank.
President Sirleaf was quick to mention the AfDB’s role in the Ebola fight during which time Dr. Kaberuka and an official of the World Health Organization visited Liberia and condemned acts on the part of some countries to cancel flights to Liberia without expert advice.
The African Development Bank at the time of Dr. Kaberuka’s visit gave over US$60 million to the Ebola affected region.
Besides the Ebola assistance, the African Development Bank was recalled by President Sirleaf to have made numerous contributions toward Liberia’s post-war development, citing the pavement of road from Fish Town to Harper as one classical example.