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CGD in the News

Kaberuka's Revolution (This is Africa)

October 5, 2010

This is Africa quotes senior fellow Todd Moss on Donald Kaberuka's progress at the African Development Bank.

From the article:

In a “report card” on the bank’s progress, issued before the annual meetings began, the CGD gave the bank a B+, A- and A, respectively. The crisis response, increased private sector disbursements and the narrower focus on infrastructure came through strongly. On the third target, whether Mr Kaberuka has personally graduated from the effective technocrat that he was known to be before his term, to become a potent interlocutor in international affairs is arguable, Todd Moss, senior fellow at the CGD says. “He is definitely a technocrat,” Mr Moss says, “but if you think back to what Khabbaj was doing, he simply didn’t play that role. Whereas at the G20, at Copenhagen, if there’s an African issue, who are the shareholders going to turn to as a credible voice? It’s Kaberuka.”

For the shareholders, the CGD report advised that they “back off” and reduce the long list of conditions imposed upon the bank; “lighten up” and transform the board into a non-executive, non-resident body; and finally to address the issue of the bank’s headquarters. On this latter point, the bank determined that the security situation in Abidjan had not recovered sufficiently to begin the process of return. The CGD gave the shareholders an “incomplete” grade for this and for the first recommendation – back off – but Mr Moss is encouraged by the lack of a new “Christmas list” of shareholder demands to accompany the recent capital increase and in the discussions around the replenishment of the African Development Fund, the group’s concessionary window.

On the requirement to “lighten up,” Mr Moss says: “It’s unlikely that they’re going to go to non-executive, non-resident. But the point is that the board is totally focused on the wrong things. They’re focused on the minutiae of policy and the mechanics…They’re tying up the staff with all this paperchasing. It’s totally counterproductive,” he argues. “It’s one thing to have a white knuckle, tight grip on things if you don’t think that Kaberuka knows what he’s doing, but I think everybody’s pretty happy with Kaberuka, and if they’re happy with him, let him do his thing, let his team work.”

Read the article.