AfDB admits to need for reforms

The African Development Bank, at its Annual Board of Governors Meeting in Shanghai this week, declared a strong financial position to boost development in Africa, given earnings of $372.5 million and total approved financing of $1.6 billion in 2006, but acknowledged the need for substantial changes within the institution. “I would be less than candid if I did not point to the enduring challenges in terms of disbursements,…project portfolio quality and, broadly, development effectiveness,” said AfDB President Donald Kaberuka. Member countries have complained of difficult loan conditions and delayed disbursements, and slow management decisions. “We have been doing more talking than actual action,” said Zambian Central Bank Governor Caleb Fundanga, who was seconded by Japanese Representative Shigeyuki Tomito: “It cannot be claimed that the AfDB group is utilizing the funds in its possession effectively and efficiently.” U.K. Representative Amanda Rowlatt pushed for broader strategies instead of micromanagement of issues, while U.S. governor Kenneth Peel called for a shift from “an approval culture to a results culture”. For its part, the bank plans to increase private sector investments and develop African bond markets. “The future for Africa’s economies, like Asia before it, will be private-sector-driven,” Kaberuka said. (Source: Africa Development Bank says must reform itself/Reuters)

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