The 2020 Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank (AfDB) will be held from August 26 to 27 virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.They will be held around the theme: Rebuilding Africa Better after the COVID-19 pandemic.
They will be marked by the election of a new president of the Bank on August 27.
The governors will vote for the election of the eighth president of the Bank.
Mr. Akinwumi Adesina, the first Nigerian citizen to hold this position, who was first elected on May 28, 2015 in Abidjan for a five-year stint by the Board of Governors of the Bank is running for another term.
By holding these Annual Meetings virtually, the AfDB wants to respect the instructions of physical distancing in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Governors’ dialogue and the election of a president will be the main priorities on the agenda of the meetings.
The year 2020, marks the 55th annual session of the Board of Governors of the Bank and the 46th annual session of the African Development Fund – the concessional window of the Bank – as well as the election of the President of the Bank.
The incumbent President, Akinwumi Adesina, is the only candidate running for a new five-year term.
After Africa was hit by COVID-19 in early March, he urged the institution to mitigate the impact of the disease, which has resulted in more than a million confirmed cases on the continent.
The pandemic, which has hit the region’s economies hard after falling commodity prices and containment measures imposed by governments, has led to the closure of borders in many countries on the continent.
For several months now, the Bank has been providing support to member countries in the region to protect their economies, health systems and livelihoods from the public health and economic repercussions of the COVID-19.
Last April, the AfDB set up a COVID-19 Rapid Response Mechanism, with a maximum amount of $10 billion, to provide flexible support to sovereign and non-sovereign operations in Africa.
On 20 August 2020, $2.29 billion of funds from this facility had been approved for Bank member countries. In addition, an additional $1.186 billion has been disbursed to African Development Fund member countries, with approvals pending.
Last March, the African Development Bank also mobilised a record $3 billion when it floated its “Fight COVID-19” social bond issue on the London Stock Exchange.
Despite this difficult period of containment due to COVID-19, the AfDB has managed to achieve some major milestones, and the international rating agencies Fitch and Standard & Poor’s have confirmed the institution’s AAA rating with a stable outlook.
At the 2020 Annual Meetings, governors are expected to receive information on the progress of the bank’s various activities since the 2019 edition held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea.
This information will include the seventh general increase in the Bank’s capital, which was approved by the Board of Governors on October 31, 2019 in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, and which increased the Bank’s capital by a historic amount, from $115 billion to $208 billion dollars.
In December 2019, donors to the African Development Fund pledged $7.6 billion as part of the fifteenth replenishment of the Bank’s capital to help Africa’s poorest countries.
The governors of the Bank are generally Ministers of Finance and Economy or Central Bank Governors of the 54 member countries of the Africa region and the 27 member countries from other regions of the world.