N’Djamena. As the African Development Bank convenes in Abidjan today to elect a replacement for outgoing president Donald Kaberuka, Chadian candidate Korde Bedoumra, is hoping his proposal to integrate governance, peace and security matters into the bank’s agenda will win him the top leadership of the institution he has previously served in different capacities.
Bedoumra, Chad’s current minister of finance and budget, is competing with Nigeria’s Akinwumi Adesina, Ethiopia’s Safian Ahmed, Tunisia’s Jaloul Ayed, Sierra Leone’s Samura Kamara, Zimbabwe’s Thomas Sakala, Mali’s Birama Boubacar Sidibe, and Cape Verde’s Cristina Duarte.
While Christana Duarte, the finance minister of Cape Verde, is promising an institutional prize for the African woman and awards for innovation, Bedoumra says the AfDB’s return to Abidjan this year should point to the importance of integrating peace, security and governance into the bank’s agenda.
AfDB is this May returning its headquarters to Abidjan from Tunisia, to where the institution had fled years of instability in Ivory Coast.
Credited for getting Chad back on good terms with the World Bank and the Brentwood institutions, Mr Bedoumra who is presently serving his country as finance and budget minister, says governance, peace and security remain important for AfDB to ignore.
“But we cannot ignore the explicit and implicit costs of insecurity on our development as a continent,” he says.
Mr Bedoumra says he will continue with the investment in infrastructure agenda that has taken centre stage under Kaberuka’s presidency, but this has to be integrated with the plan to ensure stability on the continent.
“The bank would improve its effectiveness, if it ensured development projects address the causes of insecurity on the continent which include ethnic and religious intolerance, poor management of diversity, excessive unemployment of youth who are tempted by all sorts of adventures, as well as better management of elections and transition,”he told reporters in the Chadian capital N’Djamena, recently.
Having narrowly survived collapse in the middle of the 1990s, the AfDB has undergone growth, maintained its AAA rating in the last 10 years under its departing president Donald Kaberuka. Its portfolio has swollen to $25 billion, two-thirds of which has been invested in infrastructure projects across the continent. Yet over the same time, new conflicts have broken out, sometimes in least expected countries, while old ones have persisted without any permanent solution in sight.