In a display of unity and solidarity, capped by many firsts, Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina has been re-elected by the Board of Governors of the African Development Bank to serve a second five-year term as President of the AfDB Group.
The election which took place on the final day of the 2020 Annual General Meetings of the African Development Bank Group was attended by Ministers of Finance, Central Bank Governors, political decision-makers, Heads of International Organisations, key representatives of Industry and the private sector.
Remarkably, the 55thAnnual Meetings was marked by a series of firsts: It held virtually for the first time in the Bank’s history due to restrictions occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic; it was the first virtually held elections of the President of the Bank; it was the first re-election of an incumbent President via a vote; and most significantly, it produced the first AfDB President to be re-elected with 100% votes of all regional and non-regional members of the Bank.
In 2015, Adesina became the first Nigerian to head the Bank and has successfully led the transformation of the AfDB as well as given the institution great credibility and the visibility it enjoys.
His first term strategy focused on five development priorities, christened the High 5s: Light up and Power Africa; Feed Africa; Industrialize Africa; Integrate Africa; and Improve the Quality of Life for the People of Africa. The strategy was designed to provide transformational development for Africa over a ten-year period in five critical areas.
Regrettably, Adesina’s re-election bid almost got knocked over following allegations of corruption and poor governance leveled against him. However, he was subsequently exonerated of all allegations by the Bank’s Board of Governors and the Ethics Committee. Not satisfied with the findings of the internal review which exonerated Adesina of all allegations, the United States demanded further enquiry by an Independent Review Panel. The panel again, completely exonerated Adesina of any ethical wrongdoings.
Addressing the audience during the opening of the AfDB’s Annual General Meetings, Adesina, in a rare display of humility and strong sense of duty, formally appealed for a second term as President, expressing his readiness for the work ahead. He stated that “At this Annual Meetings, I offer myself to you, our Governors, for your consideration for election for a second term, as President. I do so with humility… and a call to serve Africa and our Bank, selflessly, to the very best of my God-given abilities.”
In his closing speech, Dr. AkinwumiAdesina, the newly re-elected President of the African Development Bank, enthused about the demonstrated weight of support behind his vision evidenced in his re-election and voiced great optimism about Africa’s future. He said, “Today, a rainbow stretches from 81 member countries of the African Development Bank across the deep blue sky of Africa, with one message-the rain is gone. Gone are the dark clouds that held us down”.