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No nation has veto power over the AfDB, African leaders back Adesina

Former African leaders have thrown their weight behind the embattled President of the African Development Bank, AfDB, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, stating that no nation has veto power over the Bank, and no nation should have such power.

Recall that the Office of the Board of Governors of AfDB has heeded the call by the United States of America, USA, by approving a new investigation into the allegations against Akinwumi Adesina.

However, the African leaders, in a statement, on Friday, said: “No nation, regardless of how powerful, has veto power over the African Development Bank, AfDB, and no nation should have such power.”

The joint statement was signed by former Presidents, such as like Chief Olusegun Obasanjo(Nigeria), Boni Yaya(Benin Republic), John Kufour(Ghana) and Hailemariam Desalegn(Ethiopia) among others.

They said the Chairman of the Board of Governors, based on the report of the Ethics Committee, had earlier declared Dr. Adesina exonerated.

They also asked all concerned to respect the rules, procedures and governance structures of the Bank.

According to the elders, they were concerned with the recent developments at the Bank, where some whistleblowers alleged that Adesina violated the Banks’ Code of Ethics, though he has firmly and consistently declared his innocence of the allegations.

The Ethics Committee of the Board of Directors, a legal oversight body of the Bank, made up of representatives of shareholders, had cleared Dr. Adesina of all 16 allegations, declaring them as baseless and unsubstantiated and exonerated him completely.

The statement noted that: “We understand that the Bank fully followed its rules, procedures and governing systems.

“Governance is all about respecting and abiding by rules, laws and established governing systems of organisations.

“In the case of AfDB, while differences may exist among parties, the best way to address them is to first respect the rules, procedures and governance structures of the Bank.

“To do otherwise will be tantamount to undermining the Bank and its long and hard-earned reputation, and that of its President.

“The African Development Bank is a pride for all of Africa, and its President, Dr. Adesina, has taken the Bank to enviable heights.”

The former African leaders said at this critical time that Africa is battling with COVID-19, the Bank and its President should not be distracted.

According to them, “differences will always occur, but we urge all shareholders work together. All shareholders should work with mutual respect, and honour the rules and procedures of the Bank and its governance systems that have served it well for 56 years.

“No nation, regardless of how powerful, has veto power over the African Development Bank, AfDB, and no nation should have such power.”

They are of the opinion that Dr. Adesina Akinwumi was doing a remarkable job in steering the organisation.

“The Bank announced a $10 billion crisis response facility to support countries in Africa. The Bank also successfully launched a $3 billion ‘Fight COVID-19 social bond’, the largest ever US dollar-denominated bond in world history,” they noted.

The former African leaders said that powered by Adesina’s vision and leadership, the shareholders of the Bank from 80 countries all approved a general capital increase of $115 billion for the Bank, the largest in its history since establishment in 1964.

They said: “The Bank has been doing a lot for women, with a $3 billion fund to provide access of finance to women, supported by G7 countries and Africa.

“Across the continent, the Bank’s presence and work have been highly visible and impactful.

“In less than five years, the Bank’s High 5 agenda has impacted over 333 million people, from access to electricity, food security, access to finance via the private sector, improved transport and access to water and sanitation.

“The Bank has maintained its stellar AAA rating among all global rating agencies. The shareholders of the Bank have all played very important roles in supporting the Bank to achieve these impressive results.”

Other African leaders that signed the statement include Ellen Sirleaf-Johnson, Liberia; Joyce Banda, Malawi; Joaquin Chissano, Mozambique; Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria;  Mohammed Marzouki, Tunisia; Benjamin Mkepa, Tanzania; and Tandja Mamadu, Niger.

The statement was also endorsed by former President of Tanzania, Jakaya Kikwete; Rupiah Banda, Zambia and Kgalema Motlanthe of South Africa.

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