WE heartily congratulate the President of the African Development Bank, AfDB, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina, for being cleared of culpability for corruption by an independent panel.
A major stakeholder of the bank, the United States, had insisted on t his sequel to allegations by the bank’s internal whistleblowers, despite that Adesina had already been investigated and cleared by the Ethics Committee which represents the bank’s shareholders.
In our editorial published on June 4, 2020, we had expressed full confidence in Adesina and supported efforts by the Federal Government and former African leaders led by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, to promote his second term ambition because of his achievement-filled first term.
Adesina, along with Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Arunma Oteh and others, are great Nigerian-born international technocrats who have made our country and Africa proud, excelling in all posts they have occupied. Adesina’s tenure as Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture laid the foundation for the rebirth of that sector which has endured till today. He is a highly-innovative, self-driven leader.
Adesina’s first term at the AfDB speaks for itself. His Hi5 revolution (Light up and Power Africa, Feed Africa, Integrate Africa, Industrialise Africa and Improve the Quality of Life of the People of Africa) has been certified by the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP, as being capable of achieving 90 per cent of Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs.
Apart from shoring up the bank’s capital base from $93bn in 2015 to $208bn, Adesina’s Hi5 agenda has provided 18 million people in Africa with electricity, given 141 million people access to improved agricultural technologies for food security and empowered 15 million with private sector investment funds.
Integration of the continent has been boosted, as 101 million people have benefited from better access to transport, while 60 million have been given access to water and sanitation. At no other time in the history of the continent had any institution improved the quality of life of 333 million Africans as the AfDB under Adesina has done in just five years.
The AfDB has also fought the COVID-19 pandemic with $10bn support for Africa and launched the $3bn global markets bond to promote post-pandemic recovery. Adesina’s tenure at the Bank has received “AAA” by the Standard and Poor’s, S&P.
With increased capital base, Adesina in his second term plans to give 105 million more people access to electricity, 204 million people in agriculture will be impacted with improved technology, while 23 million small and medium-scale businesses will be boosted. Also, the integration project will benefit 252 million Africans in transportation, while 128 million will have access to better water supply.
Adesina’s revolutionary advent at the AfDB must be allowed to run its two-term course. It will not only lift Africa, it will also lay a strong foundation for future growth.