The Vice-President and Secretary General of the African Development Bank, Cecilia Akintomide, and the AfDB’s Acting Vice-President and Chief Economist, Steve Kayizzi-Mugerwa, held a press conference at the Bank’s headquarters in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, on Wednesday, May 6 to set the scene for the Bank’s 50th Annual Meetings, which are taking place from May 25 to 29, 2015 in Abidjan.
The Bank’s Annual Meetings bring together its shareholders, and a host of other stakeholders in its work, both African and international. They review the performance of both the Bank and the continent, and agree to plans, positions and priorities going forward.
Akintomide described this year’s event as “particularly special”, noting that that this year’s event will see the election of a new President for the Bank. “On May 28, the Board of Governors will be focused on electing one out of the eight presidential candidates as the next President of the AfDB,” she said.
During the 2015 Annual Meetings, the Bank will also mark its 50th anniversary. The celebrations were scheduled to be held last year, but were postponed in light of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. “We took a decision to focus our time and resources to support these countries in combating Ebola,” Akintomide said.
For his part, Steve Kayizzi-Mugerwa explained that the choice of the theme for this year’s meetings, “Africa and the New Global Landscape” was to contribute to three major global events in 2015 that bear heavily on the future of Africa. These are: the international conference on Financing for Development, to be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in July 2015; the UN conference on Sustainable Development Goals set for September 2015 in New York; and the UN Climate Change conference (COP21) to be held in Paris, in December 2015. “Africa plays a key role in each of these events,” Kayizzi-Mugerwa said.
The Acting Chief Economist and VP also indicated that the Annual Meetings will include a series of high-level seminars, as well as Opening and Closing Ceremonies, a Financial Presentation on the Bank’s performance, and the launch of some of the Bank’s flagship publications, including the Africa Economic Outlook 2015, the Bank’s Annual Report, and its Annual Development Effectiveness Review. Some 20 events are planned over the course of the week, with approximately 2,500 people expected to attend the meetings.
The Government of Côte d’Ivoire, for its part, expressed its commitment to ensuring the success of the Annual Meetings. “Côte d’Ivoire is happy with the return of the Bank, and we are pleased to partner with it,” said Lacina Kouame Kouakou, who spoke on behalf of the Ivorian Minister for Planning and Development.
“I want to underscore our commitment that we will do all that is possible to support our Bank,” he added.
Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors from the Bank’s 54 regional member countries and 26 non-regional member countries are expected to attend the meetings. Other attendees will be representatives of multilateral finance institutions, development agencies, the private sector, non-governmental organizations, media, and civil society.
This year’s meetings will be the first for South Sudan as a full-fledged member of the Bank. “The country becomes the 80th member of the institution, having completed the process on April 30, 2015,” said Akintomide.