For the first time in the history of the African Development Bank (AfDB), its Annual Meetings will be held virtually to comply with the COVID-19 pandemic-related social-distancing guidelines.
The Governors’ Dialogue and the election of a president will be top of the agenda of the upcoming Meetings scheduled for 26-27 August 2020.
This year, which marks the 55th meeting of the Bank’s Board of Governors and the 46th Annual Meeting of the African Development Fund, the Bank’s concessional arm, has the added significance of being an election year for the Bank’s president. The incumbent, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, is running as the sole candidate for a new five-year term.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the continent’s shores in early March, over 1,000,000 confirmed cases of the virus have been recorded in Africa. The pandemic has hit the region’s economies hard in the wake of falling commodity prices and containment measures by governments that have led to country lockdowns.
For several months, the Bank has been extending support to regional member countries in cushioning their economies, health systems, and citizens’ livelihoods from parallel health and economic impacts from COVID-19.
In April 2020, The Bank established a COVID-19 Response Facility of up to $10 billion to extend flexible support to African sovereign and non-sovereign operations. As of August 20, $2.29 billion in CRF funding had been approved for ADB member countries.
A further $1.186 billion has been disbursed to ADF member countries, with approvals ongoing.
In March, the Bank also raised a record $3 billion with a COVID-19 social bond floated on the London Stock Exchange.
The institution reached some major milestones during the trying times of lockdown with both Fitch and Standard & Poor credit rating agencies reaffirming the Bank’s AAA rating with a stable outlook.
During the meetings, Governors are expected to receive updates on a range of Bank developments since the previous Annual Meetings held in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea in June 2019. This will include the Bank’s seventh General Capital increase, which the Board of Governors approved in Abidjan, Cote D’Ivoire on October 31, 2019, and which increased the Bank’s capital base by a historic $115 billion to $208 billion.
In December 2019, African Development Fund Donors pledged $7.6 billion, the fifteenth such replenishment, to help Africa’s poorest countries.
The Governors will vote on August 27 to elect the eighth president of the Bank. Dr. Adesina, the first Nigerian to hold the post, was elected for a five-year term on May 28, 2015, by the Bank’s Board of Governors during that year’s Annual Meetings held in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
Bank Governors are typically the finance and economy ministers or Central Bank Governors of the 54 African regional member countries and 27 non-regional member countries.