Jump to navigation

confidentially speaking

The Africa Confidential Blog

  • 26th May 2022

Cascading pressures on AfDB as it meets in Accra

Blue Lines

The African Development Bank opened its annual meeting in Accra on 23 May with dire projections of accelerating inflation, faltering growth and mounting debt service costs. Most of this interruption in what had been the continent's pandemic recovery was triggered by Moscow's war on Ukraine, according to AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina.

This all sharpens the focus on the AfDB's role. A year before the pandemic, it distributed about $1.5 billion a year in grants and concessional loans, around 10% of the credits allocated to Africa by the World Bank's soft loan affiliate, the IDA. Both the AfDB and the World Bank have come under fire: the World Bank for its slow and inadequate response to the worsening debt crisis in developing economies and confused policies towards funding the energy transition.

And the AfDB management faces criticisms over governance standards. Two years ago, an internal probe cleared Adesina before he was appointed for second term, a position confirmed by an external assessment of the probe's findings. But now there are fresh claims about pressures faced by dissident senior officials in the bank as well as external experts brought in to assess its programmes. In Accra, the bank's governors and board are to discuss plans to boost its concessional lending capacity by over US$20bn. Such plans will redouble the focus on its governance.