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The Africa Confidential Blog

  • 27th August 2020

Adesina heads for second term at AfDB

Blue Lines

Nigeria was taking no chances in its campaign to ensure that its former agriculture minister Akinwumi Adesina gets another term as President of the African Development Bank. Adesina is the sole candidate in the AfDB's elections on 27 August; the rules stipulate he must get a double majority.

However, voting rights are tied to the percentage of paid-in capital on the day of the election. Between 31 March and 31 July, Nigeria almost doubled its voting rights to 16.8% of the African bloc, making it all but impossible for countries on the continent to abstain and deny him a majority.

Many are uneasy about governance in the Bank although an external review panel led by Ireland's former President Mary Robinson backed a decision by the AfDB's Ethics Committee to exonerate Adesina of all complaints of favouritism and malfeasance made by a group of Bank staffers in January. This week the whistle blowers who made those complaints released another 50-page document requesting the issues, as well as the internal processes, be independently investigated. For now, Adesina's problems will be financial.

Despite securing a doubling of the bank's capital last year, many of the shareholders, including the non-Africans, will struggle to pay in their capital. Shortfalls will be picked up the ratings agencies and Bank's treasured triple-A rating will be in question. That could mean a scaling down of Adesina's ambitious plans to help finance Africa's recovery after the pandemic recession.