A coalition of 15 former African presidents and a prime minister have publicly expressed their support for the President of African Development Bank (AfDB) Akinwumi Adesina, following calls for an independent investigation against him by the United States government.
Recall that the US Government through its Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, said it had reservations about the process that led the ethics committee on 5 May to reject the whistleblowers’ accusations against the bank President. He further called for an independent investigation of Adesina who was cleared of the allegation against him by AfDB’s ethics committee.
However reacting to this, the former African leaders stated that any conflict resolution processes outside laid down rules would undermine the reputation of the bank and its president.
The statement reads in part;
“Adesina, who some whistleblowers alleged to have violated the banks’ code of ethics, has firmly and consistently declared his innocence of these allegations.
“The ethics committee of the board of directors, a legal oversight body of the bank, made up of representatives of shareholders, cleared Dr Adesina of all 16 allegations, declaring them as baseless and unsubstantiated and exonerated him completely.
“Governance is all about respecting and abiding by rules, laws and established governing systems of organizations. In the case of the 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.
“The African Development Bank is a pride for all of Africa, and its president, Dr Adesina, has taken the bank to enviable heights. At this critical time that Africa is battling with COVID-19, the bank and its president should not be distracted.”
Adesina’s achievement as the President of the AfDB was also listed by the coalition of African leaders.
The statement added;
“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”.
“Powered by his 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.
“The bank has been doing a lot for women, with a $3 billion fund to provide access to 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, improve transport, and access to water and sanitation.
“The bank has maintained its stellar AAA rating among all global rating agencies.”
Shareholders of the bank were also urged to work with mutual respect and honour the procedures of the bank.
“No nation, regardless of how powerful, has veto power over the African Development Bank, and no nation should have such power”.
The following former African leaders signed the statement;
- Olusegun Obasanjo (president of Nigeria; 1999-2007)
- Boni Yayi (president of Benin; 2006-2016)
- Hailemariam Desalegn (prime minister of Ethiopia; 2012 – 2018)
- John Kufour (president of Ghana; 2001 – 2009)
- Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (president of Liberia; 2006 – 2018)
- Joyce Banda (president of Malawi; 2012 – 2014)
- Joaquim Chissano (president of Mozambique; 1986 – 2005)
- Tandja Mamadou (president of Niger; 1999 – 2010)
- Goodluck Jonathan (president of Nigeria; 2010-2015)
- Mohamed Marzouki (president of Tunisia; 2011 – 2014)
- Benjamin Mkapa (president of Tanzania; 1995 – 2005)
- Ameenah Gurib-Fakin (president of Mauritius; 2015 – 2018)
- Rupiah Banda (president of Zambia; 2008 – 2011)
- Kgalema Motlanthe (president of South Africa; 2008-2009)
- Jakaya Kikwete (president of Tanzania; 2005 – 2015)