Building Africa's Development Bank: Six Recommendations for the AfDB and its Shareholders

The AfDB Working Group
September 07, 2006

Dennis de Tray (chair) and Todd Moss (project director)
*The report is available in French


Research on the policies and practices of the international financial institutions is a crucial component of CGD's broader mission to improve the development policies of the rich world and the international institutions that rich countries largely control. As part of this research, the Center has convened a series of working groups to prepare strategic recommendations for the new leaders of international financial institutions early in their tenure, including reports on the World Bank, the InterAmerican Development Bank, and a planned report on the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. Building Africa's Development Bank: Six Recommendations for the AfDB and its Shareholders is the latest in this influential series of reports.

Donald Kaberuka was elected president of the African Development Bank (AfDB) in June 2005 and assumed leadership of the institution in September 2005. A former minister of finance and economic planning in Rwanda who is credited with helping the economy to recover from the devastation of the 1994 genocide, Kaberuka faces serious challenges at the AfDB. While the Bank has made substantial progress from its near-collapse in the mid-1990s, its recovery is far from complete. Kaberuka's most important task will be to establish the Bank as an effective agent for promoting economic development in the 53 countries it serves. The report of the CGD's African Development Bank Working Group offers bold suggestions for president Kaberuka and the Bank's executive directors about the way forward.

The report is the culmination of a CGD working group that began deliberations in the spring of 2006. The working group was tasked with developing recommendations that would help put the AfDB back on the road to success. The working group operated with several guiding principles: rebuilding of the AfDB has been meaningful but is not yet finished; to succeed the president must identify and focus on a few key priorities on which the Bank has a strong comparative advantage; and, most important, the member countries must support the president in resisting the temptations of too many demands. The report was made possible in part by funding from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and by the generous start-up gift of CGD Board Chairman Edward W. Scott, Jr.

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