By Ese Ekama
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved the application of the Republic of Ireland to become a member of the regional multinational institution and a state participant in the African Development Fund (AfDF).
The decision is contained in a communique issued Sunday at the end of the 54th annual meetings of the Board of Governors of the AfDB and 45th annual meeting of the Board of Governors of the AfDF in Malabo.
The regional multinational development bank, engaged in promoting the economic development and social progress of its member states, also authorised a Special Capital Increase for the Ireland membership approval.
The Boards of the AfDB and AfDF, referred to as the “Bank Group”, encouraged the speedy conclusion of all processes towards the admission of Ireland.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that apart from its 54 regional member countries, the bank now has 27 non-regional member countries with the admission of Ireland.
The Bank Group under the Presidency of Dr Akinwumi Adesina, a Nigerian and chairmanship of Mr Cesar Abogo, the Equatorial Guinea Minister of Finance, noted that regional integration would remain its major focus.
The Governors representing member-countries and State participants at the meetings urged the bank group to continue with its initiatives of investments in quality infrastructure and projects with regional footprints.
They also urged the bank group to continue to prioritise projects and programmes that would integrate peace and security in the region.
The Governors thanked Canada for providing temporary callable capital of up to 1.1 billion dollar to help protect the rating of the Bank.
“We approved this temporary increase in the authourised capital resources of the Bank and the subscription thereto by Canada.”
In line with the theme of the annual meetings, “Regional Integration for Africa’s Prosperity”, they encouraged the Bank Group to continue to work with the African Union and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) to fast-track Africa’s integration, economic and social transformation.
The Governors also encouraged the Bank Group to focus on its areas of comparative advantage while exploring areas of synergies and coordination with other development partners in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals for Africa.
”We urge the Bank Group to intensify efforts to strengthen its capacity to manage risk, build a stronger performance culture, enhance accountability and efficiency, and deliver high quality operations that have an impact on the ground and provide value for money.
“We call on the Bank Group to step up its support to African countries to enhance capacity in domestic resource mobilisation, public financial management, debt management and transparency, combating corruption and stemming the tide of illicit financial flows.”
The Governors also encourage the Bank Group to sustain investments in the private sector in Africa.
They called on the Bank Group to increase efforts towards creating more and better jobs by providing opportunities for the youth to help stem migration from the continent.
Accordingly, they called for the speedy implementation of the Bank Group’s Jobs for Youth Initiative;
The Governors commended the successful launch of the Africa Investment Forum and the leveraging of approximately 38 billion dollar in investment commitments to projects in Africa.
They encouraged a stronger commitment to gender equality in Bank Group operations in order to enhance human progress and structural transformation.
The Governors congratulated the newly-elected Executive Directors of the Bank and assured them of their full support.
They thanked President Teodoro Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea for attending the meetings and the people of the country for their hospitality.
The Governors also appreciated King Letsie III, the King of Lesotho, Felix Tshisekedi, President of Congo, Ambrose Dlamini, Prime Minister of Eswatini and Moussa Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission for personally attending the meeting.
NAN reports that the next Annual Meetings of the ADB and ADF will hold in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire from May 25 to May 29 next year.