African Development Bank on the move

African Development Bank President Donald Kaberuka. After 10 years in Tunis, AfDB is moving back to its statutory headquarters in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. Photo by: OECD / CC BY-NC-ND

Africa, it’s often said, is on the move, enjoying steady economic growth despite bursts of political upheaval, security threats and environmental hardship. It’s a continent full of potential, a continent in transition.

The same can be said about Africa’s largest multilateral development institution. Under the leadership of Donald Kaberuka, the African Development Bank has raised a record capital and — like the World Bank and other major donors — refocused its mission on inclusive, sustainable growth.

Now, as the bank prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary, it’s in the midst of perhaps one of its most ambitious projects: the move back to Ivory Coast, home of AfDB’s headquarters until 2003, when civil war engulfed that West African nation.

Of the bank’s 2,000-or-so employees, roughly 1,500 have over the past few years been stationed in Tunisia, the birthplace of the Arab Spring which, in January 2011, ousted longtime President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and ushered in a feeble democracy under which tourism has been low and inflation high.

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    Rolf Rosenkranz

    Rolf Rosenkranz oversees a talented team of in-house journalists, correspondents and guest contributors located around the globe. Since joining Devex in early 2008, Rolf has been instrumental in growing its fledgling news operation into the leading online source for global development news and analysis. Previously, Rolf was managing editor at Inside Health Policy, a subscription-based news service in Washington. He has reported from Africa for the Johannesburg-based Star and its publisher, Independent News & Media, as well as the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung, a German daily.