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The African Development Bank almost wasn’t. Twenty years ago, the Bank lost its crucial AAA credit rating and its future was very much in doubt. Yet now it is held up as one of the largest sources of infrastructure finance for the region, a multilateral financing institution owned by 53 African and 25 non-regional governments, akin to a regional World Bank.
The African Development Bank is an amazing turnaround story. The regional development bank was close to shutting down after losing its AAA credit rating in 1995 and, worse, squandering the confidence of its shareholders.
The African Development Bank estimates that illicit financial flows have drained in excess of a trillion dollars from Africa since 1980. These flows undermine the tax base, damage political institutions and exacerbate inequality. With major momentum behind global counter-measures, there are clear opportunities for progress at the regional level – including through stronger information exchange and cooperation, tax base harmonization and innovative uses of trade data.
Kudos to our friends at the African Development Bank for their recent launching of a new blog, Building Africa Today. So far it is providing regular updates of African currencies, stock markets, commodities, and other data relevant to those following economic trends on the continent. Any quick scan of the blog also shows that this is not your father’s AfDB of the 1980s: the blog and the Bank are both heavily focused on private sector activity.