By Tola Akinmutimi
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has endorsed Akinwumi Adesina’s candidacy as the president African Development Bank (AfDB) for a second term.
The decision was announced at the end of the fifty-sixth ordinary session of the heads of state and government of the sub-regional economic community group held on Saturday in Abuja, Nigeria.
In a communiqué issued at the end of the session, the Heads of States stated that the decision was “in recognition of the sterling performance of Akinwumi Adesina during his first term of office as President of the African Development Bank, the Authority endorses his candidacy for a second term as the President of the bank.”
Adesina is the eighth elected president of the AfDB Group and he was elected to the five-year term on 28 May 2015 by the bank’s Board of Governors at its Annual Meetings in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, where the same electoral process will be conducted next year.
The nominee is a renowned development economist and the first Nigerian to serve as President of the Bank Group.
Before leading the continent’s development finance institution, he served in a number of high-profile positions internationally, including the Rockefeller Foundation, and was Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development from 2011 to 2015.
Adesina was widely commended for his reforms in the Nigerian agricultural sector brought the same professional drive and commitment to the AfDB, making agriculture one of the development finance institution’s priority areas.
Earlier in his opening remarks at the meeting, Adesina reminded the group of the bank’s investments in the region, assuring the delegates that “you can always count on the African Development Bank – your Bank,”
Commenting on the recent achievements of the bank, the ECOWAS President, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, commended the bank’s involvement in West Africa and said it had provided “invaluable technical and financial interventions…in the implementation of numerous projects and programmes”.
The ECOWAS summit included a progress report on the region’s economic performance. It noted the role of the AfDB in the continent’s transformation and advocated greater cooperation in order to fund projects in the West African sub-region.
The communiqué stated further: “The Authority takes note of the region’s improved economic performance, with ECOWAS real GDP growing by 3.3% in 2019 against 3.0% in 2018, in a context characterised by a decline in inflationary pressures and sound public finances.
“It urges the member-states to continue economic reforms and ensure a sound macroeconomic environment in Member States, with a view to accelerating the structural transformation of ECOWAS economies and facilitating the achievement of the monetary union by 2020”, the statement added.
The Authority commended efforts made on currency and monetary policy convergence in ECOWAS and laid out plans to advance the movement.