In a few months’ time, the African Development Bank (“AfDB”) Board of Governors will vote to decide the successor to President Donald Kaberuka whose presidency comes to an end on August 31, 2015. Having first gained international prominence for undertaking sweeping economic reforms as finance minister in a post-genocide Rwanda, Kaberuka has had a highly successful ten years of service as AfDB president. Under his leadership, the AfDB made major improvements in delivery of critically needed infrastructure and technical advice, both of which contributed substantially to the sustained economic growth that Africa has seen during that time.
Today, the AfDB is increasing its impact by using new models of financing projects through investments in infrastructure funds and partial risk guarantees. Both help to attract private capital, which is absolutely critical to fill the infrastructure gap in Africa. It is a model that both Power Africa and Trade Africa have adopted. Indeed, when the Obama Administration was in the early stages of conceptualizing these initiatives, it reached out to Kaberuka for his ideas and support. Kaberuka quickly embraced the initiatives and mobilized a senior team of experts to work with the U.S. government, creating an effective partnership that lasts today.
Set out below are the eight individuals who are looking to follow in Kaberuka’s sizeable footsteps. The ideal next AfDB president will be a global visionary, an inspirational leader, and an outstanding manager of a large, multinational bureaucracy of some 1,500 employees involved in billions of dollars in projects across the continent. The next AfDB president is taking the helm at an especially critical time in the Bank’s history as s/he will be spearheading ongoing implementation of the AfDB’s Strategy for 2013-2022. With a special emphasis on fragile states, agriculture and food security, and gender, the Strategy aims to achieve sustainable and inclusive growth through infrastructure development; regional economic integration; private sector development; governance and accountability; and skills and technology. Regional economic integration through the regional economic communities was an objective of particular interest to Kaberuka who recognized the need to change the fact that Africa continues to trade more outside Africa than within Africa.