Published On: Sat, Apr 12th, 2014

A transforming Africa celebrates 50 years of AfDB activities

Created in 1964, the African Development Bank (AfDB) is celebrating its fiftieth anniversary this year: half a century of development aid for the African continent. The celebrations, featuring a number of different activities, will be launched on 22 April 2014 at the Palais des Congrès of Tunis, in .

Taking part in the event will be representatives of the accredited diplomatic corps in Tunis, international organizations, development partners, civil society organizations, the media and the private sector.

The Tunisian government authorities will be well represented. Tunisia is the country that has been home to the Group’s Temporary Relocation Agency for over a decade. An equally large delegation will attend the ceremony from , the country in which the AfDB has its head office. All of this is leading up to the finale of the celebrations in Abidjan in November 2014.

The Tunis ceremony will feature artistic performances, a film screening and speeches, including the launch speech to be given by AfDB President, Donald Kaberuka.

This April, separate launch ceremonies will be held in the thirty or so countries in which the AfDB is present, in order to bring together the authorities and the public in the regional member countries.

The fiftieth anniversary of the first institution for development funding of the African continent will be an opportunity for the AfDB management and staff to look back and reflect on the support given to the African member countries. Above all, it will also be a time for putting things in perspective for the 50 years to come. This isthe theme of the annual assemblies taking place in Kigali, Rwanda, from 19 to 23 May 2014, with the title “The next 50 years: the Africa we want”.

There in the difficult times

1964-2014: a 50 year journey. Over the years, through its support, the AfDB has been able to be a partner of choice for the countries, especially in difficult times. The programmes, projects and other interventions have been appreciated because of the AfDB’s strategic decisions. As Donald Kaberuka has said: “It is thanks to the Bank’s strategic choices and its reaction to the financial crisis of 2008 that the shareholders agreed to triple its capital, increasing it from 32 to 100 billion dollars.”

There was no shortage of appreciative responses to this. At the  mid-term review in September 2012, in , Patrick Achi, Minister for Economic Infrastructure of Côte d’Ivoire, gave a glowing testimony on this subject. Achi expressed the gratitude of his country to the AfDB for being among the first development partners to commit to Côte d’Ivoire following the post-election crisis, in order to tackle the multiplicity of challenges.

Speed and determination

At a seminar on African migrants’ remittances, held in March 2014 in Tunis, the Tunisian Minister of the Economy and Finance, Hakim Ben Hammouda, hailed that same commitment of “the AfDB, which was the first institution to support the Tunisian revolution with speed and determination.”

Since it was created, the AfDB has been active on all fronts and in all sectors. It has, however, acted strategically in emphasizing a particular approach or specific sector depending on the context. The institution has made its contribution to the re-awakening of Africa, shown in a sustained 5% growth rate over the last decade. International Monetary Fund (IMF) forecasts show that the continent is very likely to be the region of the world that experiences the strongest growth acceleration, from 5.1% in 2013 to 6.1% in 2014.

However, the AfDB is not letting these figures go to its head. The institution is realistic and knows that there are still many challenges, especially in terms of social exclusion, wealth-sharing and more meaningful access to , particularly with regard to energy.

As the President of the AfDB said: “Today, that growth must be translated into transformation. That means that there must not be only a growth in GDP, but a transformation of our economies in order to be able to create jobs, rise in the value chain, and be part of international trade.” Hence the title of the : “At the center of Africa’s transformation “.

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