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AfDB annual meetings end

The Annual Meetings of the African Development Bank Group closed on Friday in Marrakesh, Morocco, after five days of intense brainstorming on current African development issues, and the approval of the Group’s 2012 Annual Report and audited accounts as well as its operations programmes.

The Governors, usually Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors representing the 77 member countries of the Group, also adopted a number of resolutions, in particular, regarding the return of the Bank’s operations to its statutory headquarters in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, as well as the endorsement of the Group’s Ten-Year Strategy, a statement from AfDB said.

The statement said the Governors’ deliberations focused on five key issues: implementations of the 10-Year Strategy, sustaining the gains made by African countries in recent years, infrastructure financing, the 13th replenishment of the African Development Fund (ADF) and the institution’s return to its Côte d’Ivoire headquarters.

It said the Bank’s financial and operational performance continued to be commendable under the leadership of its President, Donald Kaberuka, with the collaboration of the Boards of Directors and dedication of the Bank’s management and staff.

In a communiqué read at the end of the meetings, the Board expressed the need and urgency of Africa’s structural transformation and urged for a long-term commitment to the subject by African countries.

“This is critical to develop timely solutions to the challenges of job creation, the equitable allocation of the benefits of growth and the continent’s natural resources, as well as effectively harnessing the ‘demographic dividend’ of Africa’s young population.”

The Board expressed satisfaction with the Bank’s continued financial and operational performance and commended its work in all its member-states, especially the fragile states, as well as its commitment in support of Somalia and Mali.

Welcoming the Bank’s 10-Year Strategy focused on inclusive and green growth, the Board urged the institution to continue its operational focus on infrastructure, regional economic integration, private sector development, governance and accountability, skills and technology, as well as the three cross-cutting areas of fragile states, gender, agriculture and food security.

“We call upon the Bank to implement the strategy fully across country, regional and sector operations, in budgeting and programming,” the communiqué said.

The meeting acknowledged that inadequate infrastructure remained a serious constraint to Africa’s development. This, they said, required urgent national and regional solutions.

In this regard, they welcomed the proposed Africa50Fund as an innovative funding solution to the infrastructure challenge and NEPAD’s infrastructure development goals. However, they urged more inputs into the Fund’s financing mechanism ahead of its approval and implementation.

On the need for greater support to the African Development Fund (ADF), which is due for the 13th replenishment in June, the Board underscored the importance of its work in fragile states in particular. “We call on donors to increase their support to the fund,” it said, urging other African countries to join.

Apart from its deliberations, new Governors and Executive Directors were elected to replace those whose terms expire at the end of June. The Board of Governors reconstituted its Bureau and Joint Steering Committees to manage the Board’s affairs up to 2016.

The statement said the Rwanda, Côte d’Ivoire and Zambia would host the next three Annual meetings.

Rwandan capital, Kigali, would host the Annual Meetings from May 19-23, 2014, followed by Côte d’Ivoire (Abidjan) from May 25-29, 2015 and Zambia (Lusaka) from May 23-27, 2016.

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