Nigerian former President Olusegun Obasanjo has alleged the United States of plotting to hijack the African Development Bank (AfDB). This is made known in his reaction to the call by the US Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin, for a new probe of the AfDB’s president, Akinwumi Adesina.
Obasanjo said this in a letter he addressed to 13 former African leaders, seeking a joint effort of the continental leaders to defend the Bank.
According to the letter dated May 26, 2020, The former Nigerian leader expressed concerns pointing out that despite Adesina’s performance at the Bank, there were plans to frustrate his re-election slated for August this year.
“If we do not rise up and defend the African Development Bank, this might mean the end of the African Development Bank, as its governance will be hijacked away from Africa.
“We should speak against the introduction of alien practices being recommended by some parties given that such recommendation falls outside the laid down procedure, laws, rules and regulations of the Bank,” the former president said.
Obasanjo also said; “critical that we emphasize the need for the AfDB to remain an Africa-focused development Bank rather than one which serves interests outside Africa.
“Unfortunately, the US Government, through the US Treasury Secretary, has written a public letter (that was also distributed to the press globally) to disagree with the conclusions of the Ethics Committee of the Board of Directors and the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Bank.
“Instead of accepting the exoneration of the President of the Bank, they called for an “independent investigation. “This is outside of the rules, laws, procedures and governance systems of the Bank.
“The US Treasury Secretary disparaged the Bank and ridiculed the entire governance system of the Bank, which has been in place since 1964. “This is unprecedented in the annals of the African Development Bank Group.”
While Speaking on the achievements of Adesina as the president of the bank, Obasanjo said: “In 2020, he led the Bank to achieve a historic general capital increase, raising the capital of the Bank from $93 billion to $208 billion, an increase of $155 billion, the highest in the history of the Bank since its establishment in 1964.
“I have been made to understand that the Bank also successfully raised funds from donor countries of over $7 billion for the African Development Fund 15th replenishment for low-income countries, an increase of 35%.
“Under his leadership, the Bank launched the Africa Investment Forum (AIF) to mobilize massive flows of capital to Africa. “The inaugural launch of the AIF held in Johannesburg, South Africa, secured 38.7 Billion of investment interests within less than 72 hours.
“The AIF event held in 2019 went even further and secured $40.1 Billion of investment interest in less than 72 hours. Africa has never seen these kinds of financial and investment interests.” The former president emphasized that:
“The Bank has been effectively positioned as an effective global institution, ranked 4th globally in terms of transparency among 45 multilateral and bilateral institutions by Publish What You Fund, an outfit that consists of 19 developed economies.
“Dr. Adesina led the Bank to successfully launch at the G7 Summit in Biarritz, France, the Affirmative Finance Action for Women (AFAWA) to mobilize $3 Billion for women businesses and entrepreneurs in Africa, with strong support and resources from G7 leaders and nations.
“The Bank has also substantially aligned its financing and operations to help accelerate Agenda 2063 and the High 5 agenda of the Bank (Light Up and Power Africa; Feed Africa; Industrialize Africa; Integrate Africa; and Improve the Quality of Life of the People of Africa) are achieving good results.
“Over the past four years, it is estimated that 18 million people were provided with access to electricity, through ‘Light Up and Power Africa’, 141 million people gained access to improved agricultural technologies for food security, through “Feed Africa”; 13 million people benefited from access to finance from private sector investment projects, through “Industrialize Africa”; 101 million people benefitted from access to better transport through “integrate Africa”; 60 million people benefit from improved access to water and sanitation under “Improved quality of life for the people of Africa.
“In summary: in less than five years under Dr. Adesina’s leadership, the Bank’s investments have benefitted and impacted a total of 333 million Africans. “You will agree with me that these achievements are commendable and the Bank has been placed in a strategic position to fast track Africa’s development.
“Despite these achievements and impressive leadership for the Bank and passion for Africa’s faster-paced development, and his clear endorsement by all of African countries for re-election for his second term, there are some attempts, led by some non-regional member countries of the Bank to frustrate his re-election.”