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AfDB calls for increased private sector investments, fiscal and debt sustainability

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) has reiterated the need for African countries to maintain sound policies to improve investors’ interest and address fiscal sustainability concerns on the continent.

The bank, on its website accessed by the News Agency of Nigeria on Monday in Abuja, said that heightened fiscal vulnerabilities were weakening fiscal revenues and growth, particularly for commodity-exporting countries in Africa.

Director-General of the bank’s Southern African Bureau Kapi Kapoor said this during the Think20 (T20) conference in Tokyo.

The T20 summit convened top policy experts to detail innovative T20 Japan policy solutions for consideration during the G20 Leaders’ summit in Osaka on June 28 and 29.

As Lead Co-Chair of the Cooperation with Africa Task Force, Kapoor emphasised that African countries needed to strengthen domestic resource mobilisation and improve public investment management, to entrench fiscal sustainability.

According to him, increasing tax revenue collections, savings mobilisation and efficiency of public spending are critical factors.

Kapoor called on the G20 to support several initiatives, including data harmonisation, tax compliance and  development of effective debt resolution frameworks.

In the policy brief on the “G20 Compact with Africa (CWA)”, which covered macroeconomic, business and financing frameworks, Kapoor stressed the need to improve conditions for mobilising private sector investments.

He said it would promote sustainable development in African countries.

Kapoor called on G20 partner countries and international organisations to coordinate more closely, increase technical assistance and provide support for early-stage project preparation to drive more investments.

He also encouraged member countries of the CWA to commit to implementing key reforms that would  create better environment to attract private investment.

“This includes setting up reliable regulations and institutions, establishing investor protection and providing political risk insurance amongst others,” kapoor added.

While decrying decline in development assistance, Kapoor assured the AfDB’s commitment to driving development through investment.

According to him, the bank’s maiden Africa Investment Forum held in Johannesburg in Nov. 2018 secured investment interest in 40 deals across the continent worth over 38 billion dollars in just two days.

In a video message, the Prime Minister of Japan, Mr Shinzo Abe, underscored the value of the meeting.

Abe said: “I am delighted to hear that T20 members have discussed various solutions for realising a sustainable, inclusive and resilient society.”

“I also expect you will present new perspectives and a clear path towards resolving the challenges that the world faces.”  he said.

Edited by Chioma Ugboma

General news

AfDB Probe: Group tells Board of Governors not to compromise 

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The Nigerian Youth Parliament (NYP) has called on the Board of Governors, African Development Bank (AfDB), to ensure no compromise and bias in the probe of AfDB President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina.

Ms Mary Torunana, Chairman, Committee on Banking and Finance, Nigerian Youth Parliament at a news briefing, said the United States had requested the board to conduct an independent investigation on the 16-point allegations.

According to Torunana, NYP stands against any attempt to impune Adesina’s integrity and is sure he’ll be exonerated.

She noted that under the leadership of Dr Adesina, the bank had recorded tremendous successes, adding that he is, therefore, deserving of the support of African Leaders and youth organisations.

The US has been successful in infuencing the decision of the Board of Governors to conduct an independent investigation,  which is alien to the bank’s practices.

“We wish to remind the Board of Governors that the promoters of this independent investigation are not just attempting to frustrate the re-election bid of Dr Adesina but to undermine the independence of Africa, Africans and Africa’s development as a whole.

We call on the Board of Governors to ensure that the independent probe is unbiased and not compromised as we are sure that Adesina will be exonerated off all the allegations.

The NYP stands against any attempt to impune Dr Adesina’s integrity and his re-election efforts.

“He has greatly upturned the fortunes of the bank, thus, bringing about unprecedented growth not just to the bank but to Africa as a whole.

“These achievements are no small feat; therefore, he deserves all the support from African leaders, Youth organisations and the like.”

Torunana commended President Muhammadu Buhari and former President Olusegun Obasanjo for supporting and reaching out to other African leaders to support Dr Adesina.

She also urged African Youths to be visionary to build a united Africa that leads.

For his part, Mr Sultan Daniju, the Vice Chairman, Humanitarian Committee, Nigerian Youth Parliament, urged African Youths to stand up for a united Africa.

Daniju said that the parliament would abide by the decision of the board of Governors of AfDB to either carry out or not carry out an independent investigation of the president of AfDB.

He also said that whatever the outcome, NYP would continue to support Adesina, adding that, so far, he has the support of 51 African Leaders.

“For the United states, who is the second largest investor in the African development bank, single handedly calling for an independent investigation after the ethics committee of AfDB had cleared the president of the bank, is uncalled for.

The US has only done that because African leaders sold out over the years; that is why African youths must rise up and understand all these and stand and fight for a united Africa.

“As a Parliament, and as young persons, we believe in what is right.

“So, if the board of Governors of the bank deem it fit, in their own wisdom, to bow to the pressure and order for an investigative hearing, we would abide by it.

“But whatever the outcome, he is a Nigerian; we’ll give him all the support we have to give.

“Part of the allegation is that he favours Nigerians; if he is favouring Nigerians over other African nations, how come 51 African countries are supporting him right now,” Daniju asked.

The Vice Chairman said other African leaders would not be supporting him for another term, if the allegations were true.


Edited By: Felix Ajide (NAN)

 

 

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AfDB approves new 5-year strategy for Nigeria amidst COVID-19 concerns

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AfDB approves new five-year strategy for Nigeria amidst COVID-19 concerns

Approval

Abuja, 5 June 2020 The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved Nigeria’s Country Strategy Paper (CSP) 2020-2024, which builds on the successes and challenges of the 2013-2019 edition.

The bank’s Communications and External Relations Department in a statement on Friday said the strategy was approved on May 27.

It stated that the approval also incorporated emerging developmental realities and opportunities shaping Nigeria’s political and economic landscape, including the post-COVID-19 period.

The statement quoted Mr Ebrima Faal, Senior Director for AfDB in Nigeria, as re-affirming the institution’s support for Nigeria’s socio-economic advancement.

In the implementation of the CSP, the Bank will also support Nigeria to address economic shocks associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and oil price shocks.

“We will do this by focusing our interventions in sectors that will strengthen public health infrastructure and accelerate efforts towards economic transformation and diversification of export earnings and fiscal revenues from oil,” Faal said.

The bank noted that the 2020-2024 CSP identified supporting infrastructure development and promoting social inclusion through agribusiness and skills development as key priority areas for Nigeria.

According to AfDB, these priorities have been selected to leverage Nigeria’s rich endowment of natural and human resources toward transforming the lives of its people.

It added that in this context the new CSP had been customised to support government efforts in confronting challenges and to foster long-term, socially inclusive development.

Under the CSP, the Bank will deploy a combination of sovereign and non-sovereign financing instruments to support the two priority areas, including investment and institutional support projects, evidence based analytical work in numerous economic sectors, policy dialogue and provision of advisory services.

“Special focus will be put on supporting the Nigerian private sector, in terms of financing and advisory services, and on Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) initiatives that enable innovative, long-term investment in energy, transport and water and sanitation.

The Strategy Paper is the result of participatory consultations with a range of key stakeholders, both state and non-state actors as well as bilateral and multilateral development partners.

The CSP is fully aligned with the Bank’s Ten-Year Strategy, the High 5 priorities and Nigeria’s own Economic Reform and Growth Plan (ERGP), as well as the global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

As of December 2019, the Bank Group’s active portfolio in Nigeria comprised 61 operations, with a total commitment of about five billion dollars.

“Of the total active operations, 29 were in the public sector, with a commitment of two billion dollars (43 per cent) and 32 non-sovereign operations with a total commitment of three billion dollars, equivalent to 57 per cent of the total portfolio,” the bank explained.


Edited By: Muhammad Suleiman Tola (NAN)

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Developments in AfDB meant to disrupt premier Pan-African institution — Raila Odinga

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Mr Raila Odinga, a famous Kenyan politician says recent developments at the African Development Bank (AfDB) are attempts to derail and disrupt the premier Pan-African institution.

Odinga, a former opposition leader from 2013 to 2018 in Kenya, said this in a statement issued on Friday.

He described the development as disturbing at a time that Africa and the world were addressing challenges posed by COVID-19 pandemic.

The News Agency of Nigeria recalls that the United States Department of Treasury had called for an independent probe of corruption allegations levelled against Dr Akinwumi Adesina, AfDB president after being cleared by the bank’s ethics committee.

He explained that information available to them clearly pointed to some elements bent on circumventing  governance and procedures that were clearly articulated and well tested by the bank.

The Kenyan opposition leader,  however, said only a few individuals who were not satisfied by the Board’s findings and determination  decided to pursue the issue outside the Bank’s processes and procedures by calling for an independent inquiry.

“We reject this attempt to operate outside the law and  which if not checked can destabilise a well functioning institution.

Under the leadership of Adesina, the AfDB has made commendable strides and equally  contributed to Africa’s quest for transformation and integration. The bank has been assessed  and awarded a triple A, (“AAA”) by all major global rating  institutions.

“We support those leaders in Africa and around the world who have spoken up in support  of President Adesina’s  leadership. We urge him to relentlessly pursue the goals set out in his vision.

“We  further urge those who have misguided agendas to cease and desist.”

NAN reports that the bureau of the AfDB’s Boards of Governors had accpted the findings of the Ethics Committee but authorised for an independent review of the reports of the committee and submission of Adesina in order to carry every member of the bureau along.


Edited By: Ese E. Ekama (NAN)

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AfDB board authorises independent body to review ethics committee report

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The Bureau of the Boards of Governors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) has authorised an independent review of the report of ethics committee of the boards of the Directors and submission made by Dr Akinwumi Adesina, President of the bank.

The bureau of the Boards of Governors of AfDB made the resolution in a communique issued by the chairperson of the bureau, Ms Niale KABA after their meeting on Thursday.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the United States department of treasury had called for an independent probe of allegations levelled against Dr Akinwumi Adesina, AfDB president on corruption after being cleared by the bank’s ethics committee.

The position of U.S representative in the bank has been condemned by many African leaders and some sitting presidents in Africa as they rallied support for Adesina.

The communique stated that the bureau reiterated that it agreed that the ethics committee of the board of Directors performed its role on this matter in accordance with the applicable role under resolution /2008/11 of the board of Governors.

It also stated that the chairperson of the bureau performed her role in accepting the findings of the ethics committee in accordance with the said resolution.

According to the communique, the bureau arrived at the decision based on views of some Governors on the matter to carry every member along in resolving it.

“The independent review shall be conducted by a neutral high calibre individuals 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’s group electoral calendar into account.

“The bureau agrees that within a three to six months period, and following the independent review of the ethics committee report, an independent comprehensive review of the implementation of the bank’s group whistle blowing and complaint.

“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 future” it stated.

edited by Sadiya Hamza

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AfDB reduces poverty, fosters inclusive growth in Africa after transformative action

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) says it has delivered on its goals of reducing poverty and fostering inclusive growth on the continent.

The bank made the assertion on Tuesday in a document released as part of 2020 Annual Meetings Series by its Communications and External Relations Department.

The AfDB Annual Meetings is scheduled to take place in August at Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.

The bank explained that it had scaled up development support for its 54 regional member countries and recorded remarkable successes in recent years in its renewed push to help deliver life-changing impact to livelihoods.

It stated that for the past five decades, the AfDB Group had been at the forefront of driving Africa’s economic transformation, leveraging its diverse resources and unique know-how as an indigenous development finance institution.

According to AfDB, in overall, the Bank’s investments have benefited millions of Africans through its 10-year strategy which it began implementing from 2013.

On landmark general capital increase, the bank noted that at an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting in October 2019 in Abidjan, Governors of the Bank, representing shareholders from 80 countries, approved a landmark 115 billion dollars increase in capital for the continent’s foremost financial institution.

It said the increase was the largest in the history of the Bank since its establishment in 1964, more than doubled its capital from 93 billion dollars to 208 billion dollars.

The AfDB noted that this solidified the Bank’s leadership in development financing for the continent.

In December 2019, donors announced a remarkable 7.6 billion dollars to replenish the African Development Fund (ADF).

“The replenishment represented a 35 per cent increase in financing for low-income African countries at the end of the 15th replenishment of the African Development Fund, the concessional window of the Bank Group.

The ADF contributes to poverty reduction and economic and social development in the 38 least developed African countries by providing concessional funding for projects and programmes, as well as technical assistance for studies and capacity-building activities.

“In resource mobilization for Women-Owned Businesses at G7 summit, at the G7 summit of world leaders in Biarritz, France, in August 2019.

At summit, the President of the Bank Group, Akinwumi Adesina, successfully inaugurated a global campaign of the Affirmative Finance Action for Women in Africa (AFAWA) to mobilize three billion dollars for women entrepreneurs in Africa, with strong support and resources from G7 leaders and nations.

During the summit, French President Emmanuel Macron announced France’s contribution of 135 million dollars to the AFAWA initiative to encourage women’s access to funding in Africa. The amount represents more than half the financial support of 251 million dollars promised by the G7 governments.

Also in 2019 Africa Investment Forum (AIF), following a highly successful inaugural event, the Bank secured more than 40 billion dollars worth of investment interest in less than 72 hours at the second edition of the Africa Investment Forum held in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The Forum, Africa’s largest marketplace for mobilizing capital, featured 56 boardroom deals valued at 67.6 billion dollars– a 44 per cent increase from the 2018 debut” it explained.

The bank disclosed that in transparent institution, the AfDB was ranked 4th globally in transparency among 45 multilateral and bilateral institutions by Publish What You Fund, an outfit that consisted 19 developed economies.


Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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I’ll stand by you, Buhari tells AfDB President Adesina

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President Muhammadu Buhari says Nigeria will stand solidly behind Dr Akinwumi Adesina in his bid to get re-elected as President of the African Development Bank (AfDB).

The President made his position known at State House, Abuja, on Tuesday, when he hosted Adesina, who was on a courtesy visit to the Presidential Villa.

Mr Femi Adesina, the President’s spokesman, in a statement, quoted the President saying:

In 2015, when you were to be elected for the first term, I wrote to all African leaders, recommending you for the position.

“I didn’t say because you were a People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Minister, and I belonged to the All Progressives Congress (APC), so I would withhold my support.

“I’ll remain consistent with you, because no one has faulted the step I took on behalf of Nigeria.’’

The President pledged that Nigeria would work with all other leaders and stakeholders in AfDB to ensure that Adesina was elected for a second term built on the record of his achievements during his first term.

The African Union had already endorsed the incumbent AfDB President as sole candidate for the continent, but some other stakeholders are trying to ensure that Adesina is re-investigated on some allegations, and rendered ineligible to run.

Giving a background to what was happening in the bank, Adesina, a former Nigerian Minister for Agriculture, said the 16 allegations raised against him were trumped up, “and without facts, evidence, and documents, as required by the rules and regulations of the bank.”

He added that the Ethics Committee of the bank cleared him of all the allegations, and calls for fresh investigation by the United States of America, were against the rules.

“My defense ran into 250 pages, and not a single line was faulted or questioned.

“The law says that report of the Ethics Committee should be transmitted to the Chairman of Governors of the bank. It was done, and the governors upheld the recommendations.

“That was the end of the matter, according to the rules. It was only if I was culpable that a fresh investigation could be launched.

“I was exonerated, and any other investigation would amount to bending the rules of the bank, to arrive at a predetermined conclusion,’’ Adesina said.

While stressing that the motive was to soil his name, and that of the bank, the AfDB President said he was proud to be Nigerian, and thanked President Buhari for his unflinching support.

“You helped me to get elected in the first place, and you have supported me robustly all along, and the African Union unanimously endorsed my re-election,” he declared.

He commiserated with President Buhari on the death of the former Chief of Staff, Mallam Abba Kyari.

Adesina also described the new Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, as “a man of integrity, and of global standing.”


Edited By: Wale Ojetimi (NAN)

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AfDB President visits Aso Villa, meets Buhari

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President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday met with the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr Akinwumi Adesina, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Adesina, who arrived the State House at about 2.55p.m, was escorted to President Buhari’s office by protocol officials of the State House.

NAN reports that the agenda of the meeting between the president and Adesina was unknown as at the time of filing this report.

President Buhari had on May 7,commended Adesina over the clean bill of health given to him by the financial institution’s Board of Directors.

Buhari noted that a report dated May 5, 2020, signed by Niale  Kaba, Chairman of the Bureau of the Board of Governors, indicated that Dr Adesina had been exonerated of allegations against him by whistleblowers.

The allegations were thoroughly investigated by the Ethics Committee of the Board of Directors, and a recommendation made to Governors of the African Development Bank, and African Development Fund.

“On the basis of the results contained in the report of the committee, I am of the view that we should adopt its conclusions by declaring that the President is totally exonerated of all the allegations made against him,’’ the report by Kaba indicated.

However, the U.S Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, had called for an independent probe into the allegations by a group of whistleblowers against the AfDB President.

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, had, in May, written a letter to some former leaders on the African continent to rally their support for Adesina, who has come under severe pressure mounted by the US government as he seeks a second term at the helm of affairs of the bank.

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Politics

Reps urge AFDB Board to stop further harassment of Dr Adesina

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The House of Representatives has urged the Board of African Development Bank (AfDB) to halt further harassment of the bank’s President, Dr Akinwumi Adesina.

The call was sequel to a unanimous adoption of a motion of Matter of Public Urgent Importance by the Minority Leader of the house, Ndudi Elumelu (PDP-Delta) at plenary on Tuesday.

Earlier, Elumelu recalled that at a conference of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) in Khartoum, Sudan, in August ,1963, an agreement was reached for the establishment of AfDB.

He said the agreement was co-signed by 23 African Governments, including Nigeria which birthed the bank.

Elumelu said that in 1964 the agreement came into force with a mission of fighting poverty and improving standard of living on the African continent.

He said the bank was also saddled with the responsibility of promoting the investment of public and private capital, through the implementation of projects and programmes that contributed to the economic and social development of Africa.

According to the lawmaker, on May 8, 2015, a distinguished Nigerian and one time Minister of Agriculture, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, was elected the presumptive President of the bank, being the first Nigeria to hold the office.

Elumelu said that the AfDB under the leadership of Adesina had been very remarkable in steering the organisation as its presence was highly visible and that it impacted much in less than five years.

“Recently a group of whistleblowers petitioned Dr Adesina, accusing him of 16 breaches of the bank’s code of conduct, some of which include private gains, impediments to efficiency, preferential treatment and involvement in political activities, which he has continued to deny.

“On investigation by the ethics committee of the board of directors, the allegations were found to be frivolous, unsubstantiated, lacking merit and Dr Adesina was exonerated of all the 16 allegations.

“The chairman of board of governors being satisfied that the committee had done a thorough job,  haven followed all known rules and procedures of the bank in handling such cases, declared Adesina exonerated,” he said.

Elumelu, however, expressed worry that though the ethics committee had cleared Adesina, the United States Treasury Secretary, Mr Steven Mnuchin, rejected the verdict.

The lawmaker said Mnuchin called for an independent investigation into the allegations against Adesina, whose tenure was due for renewal, given the fact that he was the only contender to the office.

According to Elumelu, the interference portends a grave danger to the independence and laws governing the establishment of the bank and if not addressed, will be tantamount to undermining its hard earned reputation.

Elumelu said the action may be an attempt to discredit Adesina and prevent him from seeking another term at the helm of Africa’s largest multilateral lender.

He said that 11 former African Heads of State led by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, in their wisdom, issued a statement showing the grave danger it portended to disregard the laws governing an institution such as the AFDB.

The lawmaker said that the African leaders stated in clear terms that no nation no matter how powerful had a veto power over the AfDB.

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

Rep. Olufemi Fakeye (APC-Osun) said that he was at the first inauguration of Adesina as AfDB president and that he had not lost sight and focus on his mandate.

The lawmaker said that Adesina had remained Afrocentric and had insisted on the independence of the bank.

He said that the bank’s president had repositioned the bank to move Africa to the next level as he had set the continent on the path of industrialisation.

According to him, soon, Africa will begin to produce locally most of all she imports and this is not going down well with many Western powers.

Fakeye said that under Adesina’s watch, 10 billion dollars was made available to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rep. Nicholas Ossai (PDP-Delta) said that there was no true African that did not support how Adesina had run the bank in the last four years.

He, however, cautioned the house to get more facts before making recommendations so that its position would be fact-based.

Ossai described the ongoing call for investigation into the bank as “international politics,” saying that there was need for the house to be more careful.

The lawmaker said that he was part of the committee that cleared Adesina for the office of the Minister of Agriculture and that he had no doubt about the integrity of the AfDB president.

The house urged the Federal Government to call on all African leaders to intervene in the matter with a view to protecting the independence of the bank.

In his ruling, the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, mandated the Committees on ECOWAS Parliament and Pan African Parliament to investigate, resolve the matter and report to the house within reasonable time.


Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Ejike Obeta (NAN)

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AfDB: We’ll oppose undue interference – APRA

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The African Public Relations Association (APRA) has frowned at what it called undue interference in the ongoing investigations of the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) Dr Akinwunmi Adesina.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the United States is championing investigations against Adesina,  following 20-point allegations of “impunity and bad governance” from unnamed employees of the AfDB.

The unnamed staff members claimed that Mr Adesina used the bank’s resources for self-promotion and personal gain,  while also paying out huge but undeserved severance packages to staff who resigned mysteriously, and favouring his fellow Nigerians.

President of the association, Mr Yomi Badejo-Okusanya on behalf of the Executive Council of APRA,  made this known in a letter to the chairperson and board of AfDB.

In the letter, Badejo-Okusanya stated that APRA was interested in due process being followed,  bearing in mind the key objectives of establishing AfDB.

“Without prejudice to previous ongoing or future investigations at the bank, we insist that they must all follow the extant rules of the bank; APRA will frown at undue influence outside the bank’s established channels.

“As an African institution, albeit with some non-regional stakeholders, AfDB must solve its problems within the context of Africa which is the principal stakeholder.

APRA as the self appointed reputation drivers for Africa, with a strong pro Africa vision, believes that it is in our collective interest and integrity, that one of the strongest reputation assets of the continent, the AfDB, is not sacrificed on the ‘alter of international politics,” Badejo-Okusanya said in the letter.

APRA noted that for four years running, the AfDB received triple-AAA ratings from four major global agencies, which was incontrovertible proof that the institution was moving the continent forward and fulfilling its mandate.

The letter cited, AfDB’s establishment of regional offices that had brought the bank’s impact closer to Africans; this, it considered a clear positive.

Part of the bank’s achievements also listed by the association, was the up-shoot in its loan income from $563million in 2015 to $803million in 2017.

APRA placed on record that these achievements were under the administration of  Adesina, a clear testament to his vision and exemplary leadership.

The letter ended by urging the chairman to take objective decisions with a ‘keen eye on history’, while APRA continued to monitor developments at the bank.

NAN reports that APRA is the umbrella body for the practice of public relations in Africa with a mandate to drive the continent’s positive narrative.


Edited By: Chioma Ugboma/Sadiya Hamza (NAN)

 

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