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Published 25th May 2007

Vol 48 No 11


Kaberuka seizes the moment

Image courtesy of Panos Pictures

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As economies grow and rival institutions falter, Africa's bank has a rare chance to establish a critical role on the continent

The fireworks and acrobatic displays are over but the Shanghai effect lingers at the African Development Bank, which held its annual meeting there on 16-17 May. One of the ADB's most popular meetings ever, it pulled in some 2,500 delegates. Yet Bank President Donald Kaberuka has some very specific measures of success: he has to secure a substantial replenishment of the soft-loan African Development Fund (ADF) this year, cut back the Bank's stultifying bureaucracy and raise its profile, especially among African entrepreneurs who have been slow to tap its private sector fund.



BLUE LINES
THE INSIDE VIEW

Events are speeding up in Zimbabwe, albeit quietly. At first sight, it's business as usual: Minister of Environment and Tourism Francis Nhema wins a solidarity vote to head the UN Commission on Sustainable Development; the ruling ZANU-PF's Nathan Shamuyarira dismisses talks with the 'puppet opposition' MDC; and MPs in the Pan-African Parliament call for an end to Western meddling. There are important counters to those signals: Nhema's UN Chairmanship has already highlighted his country's worse...
Events are speeding up in Zimbabwe, albeit quietly. At first sight, it's business as usual: Minister of Environment and Tourism Francis Nhema wins a solidarity vote to head the UN Commission on Sustainable Development; the ruling ZANU-PF's Nathan Shamuyarira dismisses talks with the 'puppet opposition' MDC; and MPs in the Pan-African Parliament call for an end to Western meddling. There are important counters to those signals: Nhema's UN Chairmanship has already highlighted his country's worsening situation. Moeletsi Mbeki of the South African Institute of International Affairs rejects the characterisation of the MDC as Western puppets. That's not just rhetorical point scoring against Shamuyarira: Moeletsi's brother, South African President Thabo Mbeki, has just discreetly hosted the first talks between the MDC and ZANU-PF. The two sides are due to meet again for talks under South African mediation next month. The Pan African parliament has agreed to investigate human rights abuses in Zimbabwe. Add that to growing complaints within the South African Development Community that Zimbabwe isn't paying its bills and that its economic emigrants are out of control and the pressure for change seems to be mounting once again.
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