The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has declared support for embattled president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina.
ECOWAS in a meeting in December 2019 had approved the candidacy of Adesina for a second term as AfDB president.
Current head of ECOWAS, Mr Mahamadou Issoufou, who is also president of Niger, made the support known in a signed statement dated June 5 and obtained by AgroNigeria.
The 15-member state regional body’s declaration comes some days after 14 ex-African presidents and a former prime minister in a joint-statement also declared solidarity for the bank chief.
ECOWAS in the letter reaffirmed its full confidence in the leadership of Adesina as president of the African lender, further reiterating its collective support for his re-election.
AgroNigeria reported that a group of “concerned staff” at AfDB had accused Adesina of unethical misconduct.
While the Bank’s Ethics Committee cleared him of all count charges, AfDB Board of Governors recently authorised an independent review of findings of the committee, following external pressure led by the United States.
In declaring its support, however, ECOWAS noted that the allegations were meant to impugn the Adesina’s moral standing.
The West Africa governmental body also praised the president for his track record as AfDB president.
“ECOWAS notes that in the footsteps of his illustrious predecessors, the eighth president, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, has further strengthened and accelerated the institution’s development.
“During the last five years of his first mandate, his achievements have been impressive. After providing a new vision for the Bank’s missions, President Adesina has worked closely with all the Bank’s shareholders to reach the highest capital increase since the Bank’s creation in 1964, from 93 billion US dollars to 208 billion US dollars, an increase of 115 billion US dollars.
“More recently, under his leadership, the African Development Bank has launched a 10 billion US dollars crisis response mechanism to help Africa fight the Covid-19 pandemic with the support of all shareholders.
“The Heads of State and Government of 15 ECOWAS member states strongly welcome the excellent achievements of the African Development Bank under Dr Akinwumi Adesina’s leadership.”
AfDB VP to Exit Bank July, Lauds Adesina
In a new development, Vice President for Agriculture, Human and Social Development at AfDB, Jennifer Blanke, has announced her coming exit from the bank.
Blanke, who will be leaving the Bank on July 4, 2020, joined the African lender in 2017.
However, in contrast to rumours that her planned leave was in defiance, the vice president has said that she was exiting for family reasons.
A source told AgroNigeria that the current pandemic situation had strained her relationship with her family.
“I am leaving purely for family reasons to join my family in Switzerland after a very fulfilling time at the bank. I will miss the bank and the excellent team we have built, and I will continue to strongly support the bank from wherever I am,” Blanke said.
The vice president also lauded Adesina for his leadership qualities, adding that his guidance and support motivated and helped her team to play a key role in the transformation of the Bank.
In his response, Adesina expressed delight to have worked with Blake. He also praised Blanke for her leadership process and dedication to food security, women’s financial empowerment and job creation on the continent.