A who’s who of AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina’s network of allies
Adesina began her second term as head of the AfDB stronger than ever. Renamed with 100% of the vote in August 2020, Adesina was all the more delighted with this result as it came after a complicated year marked by accusations of bad governance.
After being audited and then re-elected, he led a major reorganization of his teams within the bank. The AfDB, which has been on the front line to respond to the economic and social consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic, must implement a historic capital increase that was agreed in 2019.
The recomposed entourage of Donald Kaberuka’s successor reflects these different priorities. The new team is also focused on maintaining the balance between African and foreign shareholders of the bank.
This circle of allies, built on old friendships and strengthened by the hardships of the past year, promotes the work of Adesina and the bank. Finally, a network of VIPs guarantees support and visibility for a boss with great ambitions and very good communication skills.
Bajabulile “Swazi” Tshabalala
South African Tshabalala, AfDB’s number two and first vice-president, succeeded Charles Boamah, a longtime pillar of the bank, in March 2020. She joined the AfDB in August 2018 as vice-president. finances.
Managing Director of the President’s Executive Office, Senegalese Fal joined the AfDB in 1998 as legal advisor. She then supervised the procurement procedures and represented the institution in Morocco. Fal’s mission is to improve the effectiveness of “Presidential initiatives and bank operations”.
A veteran of the International Finance Corporation, Quaynor has been AfDB Vice President for Private Sector, Infrastructure and Industrialization since May 2020. This American citizen is one of the new faces of Adesina’s second presidency, with his colleagues Kevin Kariuki (Kenyan, vice-president in charge of energy) and Rabah Arezki (Algerian, vice-president, chief economist).
Less visible than during Adesina’s first term (2015-2020), where he often spoke alongside the former communications director Victor Oladokun, this Nigerian-South African lawyer has been the secretary general of the ADB since 2016 .
The Ivorian Minister of Planning and Development, who was also Chairman of the Board of Governors of the AfDB at the time, handled the 2020 crisis and the accusations of bad governance leveled against Adesina with coolness. The latter, authorized by an internal investigation and an “independent examination”, was re-elected with 100% of the votes.
He graduated in agro-economics from Obafemi Awolowo University, just like Adesina. Oramah, head of the African Import-Export Bank, remains loyal to his “elder”, whose Pan-Africanist leadership and ambition he praises.
The Senegalese Minister of the Economy, former vice-president of Adesina at the AfDB (2016-2019) and in charge of the energy file, is one of his loyal supporters. Hott chairs the committee that was formed to review the institution’s code of ethics following the 2020 uproar.
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Since Abuja, the Nigerian Minister of Finance Ahmed has been very active and has mobilized many African personalities to support his compatriot during the battle for his re-election.
British Minister for Africa since February 2020 (and between 2014 and 2016), this Conservative MP is an important ally to have as the AfDB seeks to complete its new capital increase.
Ibrahim Assane Mayaki
The Executive Secretary of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, the African Union’s development agency, endorses Adesina’s pragmatic approach to the continent’s economic issues and external relations.
The ADB’s return to Abidjan, decided by Kaberuka but implemented by Adesina, partly explains the privileged link between the latter and the Ivorian president. Ouattara put his weight behind Adesina, publicly calling for his renewal.
The friendly messages exchanged between “My brother Akin Adesina” and “Aunty Goz” on social networks are endless. The two peers of Goodluck Jonathan’s government (2010-2015) have remained very close. Okonjo-Iweala, the new head of the World Trade Organization, was heavily involved – alongside “godfather” Olusegun Obasanjo – in Adesina’s first presidential election in 2015.
The Managing Director of the IMF and the President of the AfDB regularly exchange views on the financing of African countries, the continent’s new development objectives and – more recently – on the fight against the Covid-19 crisis.
Close to his “friend Akin”, the head of the French Development Agency has increased co-investments with the ADB, whose historic capital increase he welcomes. The two leaders agree on the essential role of development institutions and support to the private sector.
Dangote, a Nigerian billionaire from Kano, and Adesina, with a doctorate in agro-economics, share the same unwavering faith in the continent’s agricultural potential. Both are part of the “27 world leaders fighting against malnutrition”, appointed in October 2019 by the UN Secretary General, António Guterres.