Africa defies Trump, re-appoints Adesina to head continent bank

African Development Bank (AFDB) shareholders have re-elected Dr Akinwumi Adesina to serve a second five-year term as President of the bank defying US pressure to oust the colourfully bow-tie dressed CEO.

The record of the 60-year-old AfDB president was questioned when staff anonymously alleged he conducted business with impunity and bad management using the bank for personal gain and favouring his Nigerian countrymen.

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The allegations were cleared and he was exonerated, however, US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin personally signed a letter to the board rejecting an internal investigation that cleared Mr Adesina.

The election result, which gave him a hundred per cent of votes of all regional and non-regional members of the Bank, shows a strong African push back against waning US influence in global matters under President Donald Trump.

Besides the core 54 African countries, the US is one of the 27 non-regional members of the AfDB and its second largest shareholder.

Under Adesina’s leadership, the African Development Bank’s Board of Directors approved a Sh1.08 trillion ($10 billion) facility to support African countries to address the COVID-19 pandemic from which Kenya got Sh22 billion.

Dr Adesina, a globally renowned development economist and a World Food Prize Laureate and Sunhak Peace Prize Laureate, has been pushing for the resurgence of agriculture in the continent which boasts of 65 per cent of global cultivatable arable land.

Under his tenure, AfDB committed to investing roughly Sh1.6 trillion (€12.75 billion) in these projects over the next 10 years, and the goal is to help start up at least 300,000 agribusinesses through this effort and create about 1.5 million jobs.

Adesina’s first term focused on the bold new agenda for the Bank Group based on five development priorities known as 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.

During Adesina’s first term, the Bank achieved impactful results on the lives of 335 million Africans, including 18 million people with access to electricity; 141 million people benefiting from improved agricultural technologies for food security; 15 million people benefiting from access to finance from private investments; 101 million people provided with access to improved transport; and 60 million people gaining access to water and sanitation.

The African Development Fund received a $7.6 billion pledge from donors, a 32 percent increase, for support to low-income countries and fragile states.