How AfDB will choose its next leader

Donald Kaberuka, incumbent president of the African Development Bank. The race to replace Kaberuka as the financial institution’s head is on. Photo by: Sebastian Derungs / World Economic Forum / CC BY-NC-SA

The nomination process for the next president of the African Development Bank officially opened on Tuesday, although official candidates won't be announced until February 2015.

But while we wait for that list, it's interesting to take a look at the process of how AfDB chooses its president at a crucial time for the institution, which is preparing to celebrate its 50th anniversary and move back to its old headquarters in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, after a decade in Tunis, Tunisia.

In case of AfDB, it's not as predictable as the Asian Development Bank or the World Bank, where the leader has always come from Japan and the United States, respectively.

AfDB does require the president to be an African, but the nationality and ethnicity of the chief executive has been varied. The institution's first elected president was Mamoun Beheiry, an Arab from Sudan. And while Nigeria has for so long been the bank's top shareholder, and therefore has the highest voting power of 9.26 percent, AfDB has never had a Nigerian president. In 2005, Nigerian candidate Olabisi Ogunjobi lost against Donald Kaberuka from Rwanda, which back then had 0.16 percent voting powers at the bank.

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About the author

  • Ravelo jennylei

    Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.