How Adesina was re-elected AfDB President and the challenges he faced

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Dr. Akinwumi-Adesina

Dr. Akinwumi Adesina was finally re-elected as the President of the African Development Bank for another five- year term on Thursday.

Adesina’s election, which was done electronically at the virtual Annual General Meeting of the bank has finally put to rest speculations whether he will be re-elected or not, following concerns raised by the United States over investigation of allegations of corruption and violation of due process leveled against him by the Board of the Bank. He was alleged to be giving contracts to friends and giving appointments to family members.

Ireland’s ex-President Mary Robinson, Gambian Chief Justice Hassan Jallow and Leonard McCarthy, formerly the World Bank’s integrity vice-president were members of a panel that investigated him.

Their findings corroborated the verdict of the bank’s ethic’s committee, which earlier gave Mr Adesina a clean bill of health.

“The panel concurs with the committee in its findings in respect of all the allegations against the president and finds that they were properly considered and dismissed by the committee,” their report concluded.

That was diametrically different from the expectation of the US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who waved off the first report with disdain.

After the independent panel had cleared him of charges of corruption and poor governances leveled against him, his election was a mere formality since he was the sole candidate.

Many African leaders, including Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria had also declared their solidarity and support for re-election of Adesina.

Adesina had requested a second term in a speech on Wednesday since, according to him, he “was doing it with a sense of duty and commitment.”

“I do it to serve Africa and our bank, in an unbiased way, to the best of the abilities that God has given me,” he said in a statement released by the bank.

Adesina had also recalled in the statement that first term as head of the AfDBank Group was marked by the implementation of five strategic priorities for the continent’s development, known as the “High 5s.”

“Time has passed so quickly,” he noted, citing the Bank’s achievements in the five years of his presidency: 18 million additional people now have access to electricity, 141 million people have received more advanced agricultural technology to improve food security, 15 million people have access to financing, 101 million now have access to improved transport, and 60 million people have gained access to water and sanitation.

Notable achievements, include increase of the revenue base of the bank were part of the achievements of the AfDB’s President’s first term in office. Last October AfDB secured $115 billion (105 billion euros) in funding pledges, a move that doubled its capital and cemented its triple-A credit rating.

In 2017 he was honoured with the 2017 Gene White Lifetime Achievement Award by the Global Child Nutrition Foundation (GCNF) in Washington, DC, on Tuesday, 13 June 2017. The award was in recognition of his life-long work towards advancing agricultural development, which has contributed significantly to food security, particularly in Africa.

“A champion of nutrition, Dr. Adesina co-hosted the first official meeting of the African Leaders for Nutrition in 2016, and serves on the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition(link is external),” the organization said.

Eight things about Akinwumi Adesina:

▪First Nigerian to lead AfDB

▪Elected for five-year term in September 2015

▪Was Nigeria’s agriculture minister from 2011 until his move

▪Named Forbes Africa Person of the Year in 2013 for his “bold reforms” in farming sector

▪Was told by an academic in Nigeria he would never get into Purdue University as his maths was poor

▪Proved him wrong by getting into the prestigious US institution

▪Cancelled his admission to UK’s respected Cambridge University

▪Got his PhD in agricultural economics in 1988

Sources: AfDB; Forbes magazine, BBC

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