Akinwunmi-Adesina-AfDB-president-elect
AfDB president-elect, Dr Akinwumi A. Adesina, sees vast opportunities for a greater and more inclusive Africa. Pic credits: Channels Television

Last week the African Development Bank’s (AfDB) Chairman of the Board of Governors, Albert Toikeusse Mabri, announced the election of Dr Akinwumi A. Adesina as the new president to lead the Bank from 1 September 2015.

The election process was concluded by voting among the Bank’s Board of Governors (54 regional member countries and 26 non-regional), whose voting powers are weighted.

A new era awaits the AfDB

Mabri emphasised that the result “was an expression of the willingness of all the member countries,” and he applauded the “good spirit that prevailed during the election process that was not marked by any tension.”

The President-Elect said he was “humbled by this remarkable vote of confidence in me” on the part of the Bank’s Board of Governors, who met during the Bank Group’s 50th Annual Meeting in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, West Africa.

“Together, we can build a stronger and more prosperous Africa, with smart infrastructure, energy for all, a strong private sector, and new economic opportunities”, Adesina said on Thursday upon his election as the 8th President of the AfDB.

He is currently serving as Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development and will succeed Donald Kaberuka, whose second term as President of the AfDB ends on 31 August 2015.

President-elect chosen from strong contenders

The list of candidates that was officially announced in February this year were made of eight candidatures who were approved by the Steering Committee of the Board of Governors.

The eight election candidates (in alphabetical order) were:

  1. Akinwumi A. Adesina (Nigeria)
  2. Birama Boubacar Sidibé (Mali)
  3. Cristina Duarte (Cabo Verde)
  4. Jaloul Ayed (Tunisia)
  5. Kordjé Bedoumra (Chad)
  6. Samura M W Kamara (Sierra Leone)
  7. Sufian Ahmed (Ethiopia)
  8. Thomas Z Sakala (Zimbabwe)

Outgoing AfDB President Donald Kaberuka gave insight into the job at hand in his speech at the Annual Meeting’s opening ceremony prior to the election announcement: “To my incoming successor, my very best wishes. Ten years goes by very quickly. It is a complex and merciless job, but very exciting. It is, in fact, not a job – but a mission.”

Leading the African Development Bank since 1964

  • Mamoun Beheiry (Sudan), President, AfDB, 1964-1970
  • Abdelwahab Labidi (Tunisia), President, AfDB, 1970-1976
  • Kwame Donkor Fordwor (Ghana), AfDB, 1976-1980
  • Willa Mung’Omba (Zambia), President, AfDB, 1980-1985
  • Babacar N’diaye (Senegal), President, AfDB, 1985-1995
  • Omar Kabbaj (Morocco), President, AfDB, 1995-2005
  • Donald Kaberuka (Rwanda), President, AfDB, 2005-present