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AfDB, Japanese Sophia varsity sign MoU on capacity development

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AfDB, Japanese Sophia varsity sign MoU on capacity development

Abuja, March 11, 2019 The African Development Bank (AfDB) and Sophia University in Japan have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to promote capacity development within the two institutions.

Mr Aristide Ahouassou, the Communication Officer of the bank, made this known in a statement in Abuja on Monday.

Ahouassou said that the MoU would also promote mutual benefit for the two organisations and the entire African continent.

He disclosed that the agreement was signed on Friday at the Bank’s Abidjan headquarters.

He said the AfDB’s Senior Vice-President, Charles Boamah, at the event, recognised the importance of the new partnership with the university and lauded the gesture of the leader of the school in traveling to Abidjan to sign the agreement in person.

“The MoU also supports Sophia University’s capacity to educate Japanese young people to be ready to work for the bank. This will be a win-win strategy to improve both organisations’ activities.

According to him, the cooperation between the two organisations dates back to 2015, when the Bank’s Asia External Representation Office and Sophia University signed an education partnership agreement.

The communication officer also quoted the President of the university, Prof. Terumichi Yoshiaki, who signed for his institution, as saying that the development would bring brighter future for the institutions.

“It is our sincere wish that this day will be an opening of bright future possibilities for all of us. We strongly hope our coming together today is not for a mere signing of an agreement, but a step towards shaping the future world” Yoshiaki said.

Sophia University, a leading private Jesuit university with a student population of 14,000 (2018), is one of many in the country that host the Japan-Africa Scholarship, which provides two-year scholarships to high achieving African graduate students.

Such scholarship is to enable them undertake post-graduate studies in priority development areas on the continent and abroad.

Foreign

AfDB approves 288.5 mln USD to support Nigeria’s COVID-19 response

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The African Development Bank (AfDB) on Saturday said it has approved 288.5 million United States dollar loan to help Nigeria tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigate its impact on people and businesses.

In a statement made available to Xinhua in Lagos, the bank said the loan 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.

As of Friday night, the west African country reported 11,844 cases, 3,696 recoveries and 333 deaths.

The loan is the bank’s initial response to help Nigeria mitigate the slump in oil prices and its impact on the national economy, according to the bank.

“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,” said Ebrima Faal, senior director of the AfDB for Nigeria.

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

(XINHUA)

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Economy

AfDB approves $288.5m for Nigeria COVID-19 Response Support Programme

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The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank has approved 288.5 million dollars loan to help Nigeria tackle the COVID-19 pandemic and mitigate its impact on people and businesses.

The bank’s Communications and External Relations Department made this known in a statement on Saturday.

It explained that the loan would bolster the government’s plans to improve surveillance and response to COVID-19 emergencies, ease the impact on workers and businesses, as well as strengthen the social protection system.

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

The bank added that the loan was the Bank’s initial response to help mitigate the slump in oil prices and its impact on the national economy.

The statement quoted Mr Ebrima Faal, Senior Director of the Bank for Nigeria as saying that about 40.1 per cent of Nigerians live below the poverty line of 1.90 dollars per day, and it was feared that the fall in household income during the pandemic would result in wealth deterioration for both the formal and informal sector workers.

“The proposed programme 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.

Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, Nigeria’s economy was projected to grow by 2.9 per cent of GDP in 2020 and further expand by 3.3 per cent 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 per cent under a conservative baseline scenario, and 7.2 per cent should the pandemic persist to end-2020.

“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”.

The Bank said it had 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 transparency and accountability.

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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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Economy

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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Economy

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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Economy

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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