For the Records: Closing speech by Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina President, African Development Bank Group, 2020 Annual Meetings African Development Bank Group – August 27, 2020

Honorable Niale Kaba, Chairperson of the Board of Governors
Your Excellencies, Governors
Members of the Board of Directors
Senior Management and Staff of the African Development Bank
Ladies and Gentlemen

The 2020 Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank have been exciting, intense, and rich in debate and dialogue! That is what we do at the African Development Bank — thinking and mapping out new ways we can better support Africa.

And we have done so — virtually. Separated by time zones and distance, but present together, in real time.

As I viewed your faces, and listened to your voices, the currents of your collective passion and dedication to the Bank, its mission, and Africa, filled the virtual dialogue rooms.

The vibrancy and buoyancy of ideas filled the Governors Dialogue on our progress on the GCI-7 and ADF 15 policy commitments — and my interaction with you as a candidate for election as President.

All insightful, challenging and electrifying…

We discussed ways in which the Bank will support Africa to rebuild, better and stronger, from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We discussed how to further strengthen our institution and deepen our governance and accountability systems.

We discussed many more-… regional integration and trade, climate, gender, youth, jobs and debt sustainability — and how to focus on quality health care infrastructure to build economic resilience for Africa.

We discussed how to achieve long-term financial sustainability of the Bank. We heard you — and I hear you!

Of course, right now the sound that is loudest in my ears is the announcement of my re-election as President of the African Development Bank — for a second term!

We also made history. By re-electing me via a vote, I became the first President of the Bank to be re-elected by a vote.

This was very important:

  • It shows the transparency of our Bank
  • It shows your demonstrated weight of support behind myvision
  • It shows a very clear and strong mandate from all shareholders to goand implement thevision.
  • It shows that all voices wereheard.
  • And it shows that we are true to the constitutive texts of ourBank.

Today, again, the African Development Bank has shown its high level of standards and commitment to transparency and good corporate governance.

Thank you very much!

I am deeply grateful for your collective trust, confidence and support. I am greatly honored — and humbled.

It is yet another call — a call for selfless service to Africa and the African Development Bank.

Today, a rainbow stretches from 81 member countries of the African Development Bank across the deep blue sky of Africa, with one message — the rain is gone. Gone are the dark clouds that held us down.

Dear Governors,

  • You steadied the Bank.
  • You stabilized the Bank’s leadership.
  • You strengthened the Bank.
  • You reinforced our collective vision.
  • You decided for continuity — to build on all we have achieved together over the past fiveyears.

I look forward to working closely with each and every one of you for the urgent and difficult task ahead of supporting Africa to build back, better, smarter, and boldly from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Myself, the Board of Directors, Senior Management and Staff of the Bank will need each and every one of you – our shareholders, collectively, in support for the Bank to play this leadership role.

As we bring the 2020 Annual Meetings to a close, words are not enough to express my special gratitude to you, our Governors, for taking the decision to hold these meetings virtually.

It was a historic decision. And even more historic was your decision to hold the election of the President – virtually.

You demonstrated pragmatism and flexibility for the business continuity of the Bank.

I would like to specially thank Honorable Minister Niale Kaba, Chairperson of the Board of Governors, for her extraordinary and wise leadership in steering the affairs of the Bank over the past one year. You, the Bureau of the Governors and all Governors carried everyone along and steered the ship safely to its destination for an outstanding Annual Meeting.

I would like on behalf of the Board of Directors, Senior Management and staff of the Bank, to thank the Government of Côte d’Ivoire for hosting this year’s Annual Meetings. A special appreciation goes to H.E. President Alassane Ouattara, President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, for opening the Annual Meetings via video.

I’d like to thank the Board of Directors of the Bank, Senior Management and Staff for all your support in ensuring a successful Annual Meetings.

Everyone worked so hard…. but I would like to specially thank the Secretary General,

Professor Vincent Nmehielle, for his incredible leadership and stewardship in supporting this whole process of a virtual Annual Meetings. He and his staff, with great support from our amazing IT team, and country managers across all our 44 offices, worked so hard for us to conduct these meetings — and the election of the President — so seamlessly. Well done!

The acting General Counsel, Souley Amadou and his team, worked so hard on supporting the Annual meetings and your resolutions.

The interpreters did such a great job. And of course, our dynamic staff in the IT department who provided excellent support that ensured we all could have these Annual Meetings virtually, deserve a special commendation.

Thank you all very much!

As the curtain comes down on the 2020 Annual Meetings in Abidjan, we look forward to its rising in Accra, for the 2021 Annual Meetings. So, congratulations to you Ghana, and Governor Ken Ofori Atta, Minister of Finance of Ghana — who now assumes his new role as the Chairperson of the Board of Governors.

Until we see you again in Accra next year for the 2021 Annual Meetings, stay well, stay safe — and stay healthy!

Here’s a Virtual High5 to you all! Thank you all very much!

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