Mary Robinson To Lead Probe Into African Development Bank Chief, Adesina

 

Ireland’s former president Mary Robinson will lead a panel to investigate the leader of the African Development Bank (AfDB), accused by whistleblowers of corruption, the bank said.

Akinwumi Adesina, 60, a charismatic speaker known for his elegant suits and bow ties, became the first Nigerian to helm the AfDB in 2015 — but a 15-page report earlier this year claimed that under his watch the bank had been tarred by poor governance, impunity, personal enrichment, and favouritism.

He was cleared by the organisation’s ethics committee, but international pressure has mounted with the United States calling in May for an independent investigation.

Robinson will lead the probe, alongside Gambia’s Chief Justice Hassan Jallow and the World Bank’s integrity vice president Leonard McCarthy, the bank’s board of governors said in a release on Wednesday.

The governors of the AfDB, one of the world’s five largest multilateral development lenders, expressed “their complete confidence” in the panel.

Robinson — a barrister by training — led Ireland from 1990 to 1997 before serving as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights until 2002.

The inquiry is due to deliver its findings in two to four weeks.

The AfDB plays an important if largely behind-the-scenes role in African economies, financing projects in agriculture, health, energy, education, transport, and other development sectors.

AfDB Authorises Independent Review Of Ethics Committee Report On Adesina’s Conduct

 

The African Development Bank has agreed to an independent review of the report of its ethics Committee of the Boards of Directors relative to the allegations considered regarding the conduct of its president, Mr Akinwunmi Adesina. 

AfDB’s latest decision was disclosed in a communique signed by the Chairperson of the Bureau of the Boards of Governors, Niale Kaba.

According to the communique, the agreement to independently review the ethics committee report is based on the views of some governors on the matter and the need to carry every governor along in resolving it.

Below is the memo signed by the Chairperson of the Bureau of the Boards of Governors, Niale Kaba.

READ ALSO: Elumelu Urges AfDB To Stop ‘Harassing’ Adesina

“The Bureau reiterates that it agrees that the Ethics Committee of the Boards of Directors performed its role on this matter in accordance with the applicable rule under Resolution B/BG/2008/11 of the Board of Governors.

“The Bureau also reiterates that the Chairperson of the Bureau of the Board of Governors performed her role in accepting the findings of the Ethics Committee in accordance with the said Resolution.

“However, based on the views of some Governors on the matter and the need to carry every Governor along in resolving it, the Bureau agrees to authorize an Independent Review of the Report of the Ethics Committee of the Boards of Directors relative to the allegations considered by the Ethics Committee and the submissions made by the President of the Bank Group thereto in the interest of due process.

“The Independent Review shall be conducted by a neutral high calibre individual with unquestionable experience, high international reputation and integrity within a short time period of not more than two to four weeks maximum, taking the Bank Group’s electoral calendar into account.

“The Bureau agrees that, within a three to six month period and following the independent review of the Ethics Committee Report, an independent comprehensive review of the implementation of the Bank Group’s Whistle-Blowing and Complaints Handling Policy should be conducted with a view to ensuring that the Policy is properly implemented, and revising it where necessary, to avoid situations of this nature in the future.”

It would be recalled that the United States pressed for an independent probe into charges by whistleblowers.

These charges which had been declared as unfounded by an internal inquiry, include alleged embezzlement and favoritism under Adesina’s watch.

Some African leaders have pledged to support Adesina, and have kicked against the probe, saying that the call negates the ethics of the AfDB.

Adesina is yet to make any comment as regards the latest development, however, he has at other times denied that he partook of any corrupt practice.

The AfDB President in a recent press statement described the allegations as “unprecedented attempts” by some to tarnish his reputation.

He declared that he will continue to work with each and every one of the bank’s shareholders.

“I maintain my innocence with regard to trumped-up allegations that unjustly seek to impugn my honour and integrity, as well as the reputation of the African Development Bank,” Adesina said.

The AfDB’s latest position on the matter can be download below.

Communiqué de presse du bureau du Comité Directeur_BAD_ 4 06 2020_version Anglaise

AfDB Approves $288.5m Loan For Nigeria’s COVID-19 Fight

AFDB, Abia

 

The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a $288.5 million loan to help Nigeria tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigate its impact on people and businesses.

The approval by the bank’s board was contained in a statement on Friday.

The loan, according to the bank, will bolster the government’s plans to improve surveillance and response to COVID-19 emergencies, ease the impact on workers and businesses, and strengthen the social protection system.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation and the continent’s largest oil producer is facing twin crises – a health epidemic caused by COVID-19, and an economic crunch largely occasioned by a global oil price plunge.

“The loan is the Bank’s initial response to help mitigate the slump in oil prices and its impact on the national economy.

“The proposed program will ensure that the fiscal position and the economy are sufficiently supported to weather the COVID-19 shocks, thereby limiting its potential adverse impact on livelihoods and the economy more generally,” Ebrima Faal, Senior Director of the African Development Bank for Nigeria said.

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, Nigeria’s economy was projected to grow by 2.9% of GDP in 2020 and further expand by 3.3% in 2021.

But with the advent of the pandemic and the slump in crude prices, the economy is expected to shrink by between 4.4% under a conservative baseline scenario, and 7.2% should the pandemic persist to end-2020.

Faal said beyond the country’s immediate economic recovery needs, the bank and other development partners will dialogue with the government on proposals for medium-term structural reforms to diversify and boost domestic revenues away from the oil sector.

He also noted that the bank has instituted strong fiduciary measures to monitor the use of COVID-19 funds, and will maintain dialogue, particularly with the Office of the Auditor-General in Nigeria, to ensure adherence to the transparency and accountability of the funds.

The bank’s intervention aligns with its COVID-19 Response Facility (CRF); Ten-Year Strategy (2013-2022); and High 5 priorities, especially “Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa”. It is also consistent with the second strategic pillar of the recently approved Bank’s Country Strategy Paper 2020-2024 for Nigeria.

Elumelu Urges AfDB To Stop ‘Harassing’ Adesina

A file photo of President of the African Development Bank, Akinwunmi Adesina
A file photo of President of the African Development Bank, Akinwunmi Adesina

 

Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Ndidi Elumelu, has asked the board of the African Development Bank (AfDB) to stop harassing its President, Akinwunmi Adesina.

Adesina, a former Minister of Agriculture in Nigeria, has been accused of breaching the bank’s code of conduct ahead of his re-election in August.

After an AfDB ethics committee investigation found him innocent of the charges, the United States, the second-largest shareholder of the bank after Nigeria, asked for a retrial.

Elumelu, in a motion statement obtained by Channels Television on Tuesday, described the allegations against Adesina as “trumped-up.”

He called on the House to investigate the matter and also urged the federal government and all African leaders to intervene in the situation.

“If this sort of witch-hunt and unnecessary harassment is not put to check and discouraged, it may become a recurring decimal thereby destabilizing the stability the bank has enjoyed for decades and the intended results on a steady decrease,” he said.

On Tuesday, President Muhammadu Buhari pledged his support for Adesina as he seeks a second term in office.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and other African leaders have also voiced their support for the AfDB president.

PHOTOS: Buhari, AfDB President Adesina Meet In Abuja

 

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday held a meeting with Mr. Akinwumi Adesina, the President of the Africa Development Bank (AfDB) at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

The meeting was attended by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed; Minister of Foreign Affairs Geoffrey Onyeama, and the Chief of Staff to the President, Ibrahim Gambari.

See Photos Below:

 

‘I Maintain My Innocence’ AfDB Chief, Adesina Hits Back Over Graft Accusations

File photo of Akinwunmi Adesina

 

 

The President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, hit back on Wednesday at accusations of corruption and vowed to continue working.

In a press statement, Adesina slammed “unprecedented attempts by some to tarnish my reputation” and declared “I will… continue to work with each and every one of our shareholders.”

The United States is pressing for an independent probe into charges by whistleblowers — declared as unfounded by an internal inquiry — of alleged embezzlement and favouritism under Adesina, who is bidding for a second five-year term at the helm.

“I maintain my innocence with regard to trumped-up allegations that unjustly seek to impugn my honour and integrity, as well as the reputation of the African Development Bank,” Adesina said.

He cited “my heroes, Nelson Mandela and Kofi Annan, whose lives have shown that through pain we grow.”

“I am confident that fair, transparent and just processes that respect the rules, procedures and governance systems of the Bank, and rule of law, will ultimately prove that I have not violated the Code of Ethics of this extraordinary institution,” he said.

Adesina is the first Nigerian to be in charge of the AfDB, one of the world’s five largest multilateral development banks.

The former Nigerian agriculture minister is known for his bow ties and flamboyant manner, but also for a managerial style that critics say is authoritarian.

‘Blatantly False’

The bank was shaken by a string of high-level departures soon after his arrival.

The 60-year-old is the only candidate in an election which was set for late May but which has been postponed until August because of the coronavirus pandemic.

His bid has received the backing of the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

On May 22, US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin sent the bank’s board a letter expressing “deep reservations” about the outcome of an internal inquiry clearing Adesina, and urged the appointment of “an independent outside investigator of high professional standing.”

“We fear that wholesale dismissal of all allegations without appropriate investigation will tarnish the reputation of this institution as one that does not uphold high standards of ethics and governance,” he wrote.

The bank’s ethics committee had totally exonerated Adesina, saying the whistleblowers’ 15-page complaint “rested on no objective, solid facts”.

Adesina himself has previously dismissed the allegations as “spurious and unfounded” and “blatantly false.”

In October 2019, the AfDB raised $115 billion (105 billion euros) in fresh capital, an operation deemed a personal success for Adesina.

The bank has 80 state shareholders, 54 of which are African. The others are from the Americas, Asia and Europe.

The biggest shareholder is Nigeria, with nine per cent.

Africa Development Bank Creates $10bn Fund For COVID-19 Aid

AFDB, Abia

 

The African Development Bank on Wednesday said it had created a $10 billion emergency fund to help the continent’s countries fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Africa, the world’s poorest continent, may be badly exposed to the pandemic both in terms of preparedness and the poor health care systems in many countries.

“Africa is facing enormous fiscal challenges to respond to the coronavirus pandemic effectively. The African Development Bank Group is deploying its full weight of emergency response support to assist Africa at this critical time,” the bank’s president Akinwumi Adesina said.

The facility includes $5.5 billion for operations in African Development Bank countries, and $3.1 billion for sovereign and regional operations for countries under the African Development Fund, the bank’s arm that caters to fragile countries.

As the virus spreads, there are fears that poor and debt-saddled countries will be unable to provide an adequate response.

Niger President Mahamadou Issoufou has appealed for a “Marshall Plan” to help African economies hit by the coronavirus pandemic as states warn of a devastating impact on the continent’s growth.

The African Development Bank has already launched a $3 billion US-dollar denominated social bond in international capital markets for the virus fight.

“These are extraordinary times, and we must take bold and decisive actions to save and protect millions of lives in Africa,” Adesina said. “We are in a race to save lives. No country will be left behind.”

AFP

African Development Bank Launches Record Breaking $3bn ‘Fight COVID-19’ Social Bond

AFDB, Abia

 

The African Development Bank has raised an exceptional $3 billion in a three-year bond to help alleviate the economic and social impact the COVID-19 pandemic will have on livelihoods and Africa’s economies.

The Fight Covid-19 Social bond, with a three-year maturity, garnered interest from central banks and official institutions, bank treasuries, and asset managers including Socially Responsible Investors, with bids exceeding $4.6 billion. This is the largest dollar denominated Social Bond ever launched in international capital markets to date, and the largest US Dollar benchmark ever issued by the Bank. It will pay an interest rate of 0.75%.

The African Development Bank Group is moving to provide flexible responses aimed at lessening the severe economic and social impact of this pandemic on its regional member countries and Africa’s private sector.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: CBN Grants Two-Week Market Holidays To Bureau De Change Operators

“These are critical times for Africa as it addresses the challenges resulting from the Coronavirus. The African Development Bank is taking bold measures to support African countries. This $3 billion Covid-19 bond issuance is the first part of our comprehensive response that will soon be announced. This is indeed the largest dollar social bond transaction to date in capital markets. We are here for Africa, and we will provide significant rapid support for countries,” said Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank Group.

The order book for this record-breaking bond highlights the scale of investor support, which the African Development Bank enjoys, said the arrangers.

“As the Covid-19 outbreak is dangerously threatening Africa, the African Development Bank lives up to its huge responsibilities and deploys funds to assist and prepare the African population, through the financing of access to health and to all other essential goods, services and infrastructure,” said Tanguy Claquin, Head of Sustainable Banking, Crédit Agricole CIB.

Coronavirus cases were slow to arrive in Africa, but the virus is spreading quickly and has infected nearly 3,000 people across 45 countries, placing strain on already fragile health systems.

It is estimated that the continent will require many billions of dollars to cushion the impact of the disease as many countries scrambled contingency measures, including commercial lockdowns in desperate efforts to contain it. Globally, factories have been closed and workers sent home, disrupting supply chains, trade, travel, and driving many economies toward recession.

Commenting on the landmark transaction, George Sager, Executive Director, SSA Syndicate, Goldman Sachs said: “In a time of unprecedented market volatility, the African Development Bank has been able to brave the capital markets in order to secure invaluable funding to help the efforts of the African continent’s fight against Covid-19. Not only that, but in the process, delivering their largest ever USD benchmark. A truly remarkable outcome both in terms of its purpose but also in terms of a USD financing”.

The Bank established its Social Bond framework in 2017 and raised the equivalent of $2 billion through issuances denominated in Euro and Norwegian krone. In 2018 the Bank was designated by financial markets, ‘Second most impressive social or sustainability bond issuer” at the Global Capital SRI Awards.

“We are thankful for the exceptional level of interest the Fight Covid-19 Social Bond has raised across the world, as the African Development Bank moves towards lessening the social and economic impact of the pandemic on a continent already severely constrained. Our Social bond program enables us to highlight our strong development mandate to the investor community, allowing them to play a part in improving the lives of the people of Africa. This was an exceptional outcome for an exceptional cause,” said Hassatou Diop N’Sele, Treasurer, African Development Bank.

Fight Covid-19 was allocated to central banks and official institutions (53%), bank treasuries (27%) and asset managers (20%). Final bond distribution statistics were as follows: Europe (37%), Americas (36%), Asia (17%) Africa (8%,) and Middle-East (1%).

AfDB Records Capital Increase Of $208bn

 

The African Development Bank on Thursday announced the largest capital increase in its history, with an almost 125 percent jump from $93 billion to $208 billion.

AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina hailed “a historic day” for the bank and “a day of joy for Africa” at a press conference after the bank’s board of governors held an extraordinary meeting in Ivory Coast’s economic capital Abidjan.

He said the increase will give the bank “a lot of resources to go further in the development of our continent”.

Created in 1964, the AfDB is one of the five principal multilateral development banks in the world.

Its shareholders are the 53 African countries as well as 26 non-African states.

Its priorities are fighting poverty, improving living conditions and mobilising resources for the economic and social progress of its African member countries.

African Leaders Should Setup Youth’s Investment Banks, Says Adesina

 

President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, has called on African Leaders and Governments to shift from youth’s empowerment to investments.

He made the call at the two-day Tony Elumelu Foundation Forum which held in Abuja.

Mr Adesina added that a special bank which focuses on young people’s asset should be established.

“It is time for African leaders and the Government to shift from youth empowerment to youth investments.

“And in trying to do that, I propose that it is time that we begin to set up Youths entrepreneurship and investments banks, banks where you walk into and they see assets and not liabilities.”

READ ALSO: 2019 Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Forum

He added that one key driver to encourage youth’s in business and economic growth, lending should be derisked.

“Where you walk into and they have faith and confidence in young people; who can actually help you to grow your business.

“What does this mean; we have to de-risk lending to businesses of young people.”

Girl Child Education Will Achieve Equality For Women – Says AfDB President

 

 

President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina, has called for an urgent need to tackle early child marriage by promoting girls’ education in Africa.

Dr Adesina who was guest at the First Ladies Meeting on Combatting Child Marriage and Promoting Education of Girls in West Africa, Niamey, Niger, added that Africa will develop faster when it achieves equality for women.

“Our challenges are complex – and they require a holistic approach in response. Keeping girls in school is one of the best ways to end child marriage; because an educated girl is an empowered girl.

“Early marriage is a plague jeopardizing the future of girls, as women are fully capable of contributing to the development of their communities and countries.

“It is my conviction that “No bird can fly with one wing. Africa will develop faster when it achieves equality for women.”

READ ALSO: Sex Toy Shop Assault: Court Grants Senator Abbo N5million Bail

He explained that the bank has set up policies that will ensure women’s participation and to achieve the goals need the political will.

“We know what must be done! We have the tools and program delivery models. What we need, however, is a strong political will.

“This is a critical priority for us – not just an Africa issue, but also a global issue. So all of us must come together – public non-governmental institutions, religious leaders, communities, families, and schools – for a sustained multi-stakeholder approach to combat early marriage and promote girls’ education.

“You invest in a man, it’s one thing – but invest in a woman, and you see that investment manifold throughout her community.”

AFDB Pledges N120m Investment For Cassava Production In Africa

AFDB, Abia

 

The African Development Bank has pledged to invest 120 million naira between the next two and three years to boost cassava production and eight other commodities in Africa.

The other commodities include rice, maize, millet, wheat and livestock.

The AFDB’s Director for Agriculture, Martin Fregene told participants at the at a conference on cassava, in Cotonou, Benin Republic, that transforming these commodities would help African nations to cut imports and redirect about 1.2 billion dollars into their domestic economies.

The bank’s investment in cassava comes at a time when African governments are scaling up efforts to end food imports and create wealth.