Donald Kaberuka: AfDB Now 'World-Class'

African Development Bank President Donald Kaberuka speaks before the 8th International Forum on African Perspectives in Paris. Photo by: OECD Development Center / CC BY-NC-ND OECD Development CenterCC BY-NC-ND

After 10 years of financial restructuring and operational reforms, Africa can now be proud of the African Development Bank, Donald Kaberuka said.

The AfDB president made the remark in an interview with David McKenzie of CNN’s “Marketplace Africa.” McKenzie noted that AfDB was regarded as “a bit of a basket case” as a lending institution and drew criticism from international groups in the mid-1990s.

“Today the African Development Bank is a world-class institution,” the AfDB president told McKenzie. “[W]e are a bank for which Africa can be proud and evidence is there on the ground, in everything we do, in the advocacy by the bank, in its operations. Yes, there’s a history behind, but I think today it’s a different bank.”

Kaberuka said the bank has overcome years of financial difficulties particularly in the mid-1990s, when many African nations were caught in serious debt problems. By 2003, AfDB regained its AAA rating, the highest investment grade, the bank’s chief added.

AfDB is also helping governments “build institutions where there is political will to fight corruption,” Kaberuka said. He noted that Africans are now demanding accountability, and “African governments are accepting to give that accountability.”

Kaberuka also underscored the role of AfDB in alleviating the impact of the recent financial crisis. He said the bank almost doubled its USD5.8 billion annual lending to help minimize the effects of the financial shocks.

When it comes to achieving the Millennium Development Goals, Kaberuka acknowledged that not all African nations will achieve the eight development goals at the same time. Fostering “strong, sustained and shared” economic growth through increased investments will help accelerate Africa’s progress in attaining the MDGs, he said.

“[Y]ou can’t export development to Africa, you have to work with Africa’s own institutions if you want to support the continent in a positive way,” said Kaberuka, who has been re-elected as AfDB’s president and was sworn in on Sept. 1.

Tunisian Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi similarly expressed his confidence in the regional lender during Kaberuka’s inauguration.

“I am confident about the bank’s future. The support it provides to our economies makes it possible for us to lay the foundation for a successful and more balanced development which enables Africa to place itself at the level of other continents,” Ghannouchi said.

The bank will hold the fourth meeting of the African Development Fund’s 12th replenishment in Tunisia from Sept. 7 to Sept. 8. ADF helps to promote economic and social development in 38 least developed African countries. 

About the author

  • Ma. Rizza Leonzon

    As a former staff writer, Rizza focused mainly on business coverage, including key donors such as the Asian Development Bank and AusAID.